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TBR News August 30, 2018

Aug 30 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 30, 2018: “The tighter the legal noose tightens around the President, the louder and more erratic are his responses. Now, he is violently attacking the American media for daring to publish negative comments, as he sees them, against him. He is livid that many of his top associates seem to be cooperating with an official investigation into him and his dealings and has threatened to attack and punish any member of the media who dares to contradict his strange views. And many of his small-minded but fanatic supporters are making death threats against the media for not respecting Trump. In light of the multitude of revelations about is private and public life, this is not hard to do.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 10
  • FBI arrests man who threatened to kill Boston Globe staff for criticizing Trump
  • The Neoconservative Comeback
  • Trump seeks to backtrack on 2017 comments on Comey firing
  • Trump’s Attacks on the Media Are Reaching Dangerous New Levels
  • Trump Is in Trouble. Here’s How Much Worse It Can Get
  • Carl Bernstein: Trump attacks ‘degenerate’ Watergate reporter
  • The CIA’s interest in the Douglas book on Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller and their attempts to secure damaging documents showing their employment of many SS and Gestapo officials.

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 10

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

 

 

  • Mar 31, 2017

“Year after year, decade after decade, trade deficit upon trade deficit — reaching more than $700 billion last year alone, and lots of jobs.”

Source: Remarks at signing of executive orders on trade

in fact: The trade deficit was $502 billion the previous year, 2016. It was $750 billion if you count only trade in goods and exclude trade in services, but Trump, as usual, did not specify that he was talking about goods alone.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

 

  • Apr 2, 2017

“We have an $800 billion trade deficit.”

Source: Interview with the Financial Times

in fact: The trade deficit was $502 billion in 2016. It was $750 billion if you count only trade in goods and exclude trade in services, but Trump, as usual, did not specify that he was talking about goods alone.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

 

“And if we don’t get the … Freedom Caucus there that would be fine. They’re friends of mine. Many of them have already left, and many of them as you know have already given us their vote.”

Source: Interview with the Financial Times

in fact: There has been only one defection from the Freedom Caucus under Trump. Rep. Ted Poe quit in March, after the Freedom Caucus helped to kill Trump’s health bill, but he was the first member to leave since 2015.

 

“You know if you issue hundreds of tweets, and every once in a while you have a clinker, that’s not so bad. Now my last tweet, you know the one that you are talking about perhaps, was the one about being in quotes wire tapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.”

Source: Interview with the Financial Times

in fact: It is not turning out to be true. Nobody has produced evidence to support it; the leaders of the FBI and NSA say they have seen no corroborating evidence, as have Republican leaders in Congress.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

  • Apr 3, 2017

“Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate?”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no such thing as “answers to the debate.” Clinton’s campaign was tipped off to two questions during the Democratic primary, one for a debate and one for a town hall.

 

  • Apr 4, 2017

“Plasterers — plaster, well, yeah, that’s — not using as much plaster as we used to, fellas, right? No matter how you cut it. Sorry about that. I’m not sure I can do much — we brought back the coal miners. I’m not so sure about the plasterers.”

Source: Speech to Building Trades Unions conferenc

in fact: Trump has not “brought back the coal miners.” On March 28, he signed an executive order to end Obama’s freeze on coal leasing on federal land, and to begin the process of reversing an Obama policy that would have forced the closure of dozens of coal-fired power plants. He claims these changes will return miners to work, but that had obviously not happened yet at the time he made this statement a week later — and many experts believe it will never happen.

 

“Huge disadvantage, Electoral College. It’s very, very tough. They say almost impossible for a Republican to win.”

Source: Speech to Building Trades Unions conference

in fact: It is possible that someone, somewhere has said a presidential election is “almost impossible” for a Republican to win, but no expert makes this absurd claim.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

 

“But I had the support of, I would say, I would say almost everybody in this room.”

Source: Speech to Building Trades Unions conference

in fact: This remark was fact-checked in real time — by the people in the room, some of whom erupted in booing that is audible on videos of the speech. “Widespread boos in the room,” the Washington Post’s Abby Phillip wrote on Twitter.

 

“But we have to do better, because our deficit with China, as you know, $504 billion. That’s a year. That’s enough for a lifetime.”

Source: Remarks at “town hall” with chief executive officers

in fact: The U.S. trade deficit with China was about $310 billion last year. Even if you exclude trade in services and count only goods, as Trump usually does, the number was $347 billion, not $504 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

 

“You know, there was very large infrastructure bill that was approved during the Obama administration, a trillion dollars, nobody ever saw anything being built. I mean, to this day, I haven’t heard of anything that’s been built. They used most of that money — it went, and they used it on social programs.”

Source: Remarks at “town hall” with chief executive officers

in fact: The $787 billion bill passed in 2009 was intended to stimulate the economy, not specifically as an “infrastructure bill”; it included a mix of tax cuts, social spending (on everything from health insurance coverage to education to food stamps), and infrastructure spending. Trump is wrong that “nobody ever saw anything built” with the money. People around the country saw signs explaining that local construction projects were being funded by the stimulus. Stimulus funding paid for infrastructure projects around the country, paying to construct and repair bridges, tunnels, roads, highways and rail lines, PolitiFact reported, citing journalist Michael Grabell’s book on the legislation. In total, Grabell estimated that about 10 per cent of the money, $80 billion, went to infrastructure.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

“One of the statistics that to me is just ridiculous — so the 4.6 (per cent unemployment rate) sounds good, but when you look for a job, you can’t find it and you give up: you are now considered statistically employed. But I don’t consider those people employed.”

Source: Remarks at “town hall” with chief executive officers

in fact: People who give up looking for a job are never considered statistically employed. They are considered not in the labour force, not employed and not unemployed.

 

 

FBI arrests man who threatened to kill Boston Globe staff for criticizing Trump

FBI says Robert Chain began a series of threatening calls after the newspaper announced it was coordinating a response to Trump’s attacks on the media

August 30, 2018

by Jon Swaine in New York

The Guardian

A man has been arrested and charged with threatening to kill employees of the Boston Globe newspaper, in messages repeating Donald Trump’s claims that journalists are the “enemy of the people” and “fake news”.

Robert Chain called the Globe’s newsroom and claimed he would shoot staff members in the head, according to the FBI, which said Chain later specified that he was retaliating against the newspaper’s criticism of Trump’s attacks on the news media.

Chain, of Encino, California, owns several firearms and was found to have purchased a new 9mm carbine rifle in May this year, according to US authorities.

Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts, said in a statement: “In a time of increasing political polarisation, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”

Chain, 68, is due to appear in a federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon charged with making threatening communications in interstate commerce. He will later be transferred to Boston, officials said.

In an affidavit filed to federal court in Boston, the FBI said Chain began a series of 14 threatening calls to the Globe soon after the newspaper announced on 10 August that it was coordinating a response by US publications to Trump’s attacks. Dozens of outlets agreed to publish editorial columns on the subject on 16 August.

Trump has led an unprecedented assault on the American media over the past three years, falsely claiming that coverage unfavourable to him is “fake news” and declaring journalists to be enemies of the public. He has frequently urged supporters at rallies to direct abuse at individual reporters, leading some to hire bodyguards.

Chain allegedly called the Globe from a blocked number on 16 August and said: “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every fucking one of you.” After suggesting that staff call special counsel Robert Mueller for help, Chain allegedly said: “I’m going to shoot you in the fucking head later today, at four o’clock.” Telephone records traced the call back to Chain’s home landline, the FBI said.

That morning, Trump had posted several attacks on the media to Twitter, complaining about “fake news” and declaring that the media was “opposition party” and “very bad for our great country”.

The FBI said Chain’s calls scared employees of the Globe, leading the newspaper to call police and contract a private security company to protect its staff.

Six days later, Chain allegedly called the newspaper from a cellphone registered to his wife. When asked by a Globe employee why he was calling, Chain allegedly said: “Because you are the enemy of the people.”

Chain allegedly continued: “As long as you keep attacking the president, the duly elected president of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threat, harass, and annoy the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, the other fake news.”

The New York Times Company previously owned the Boston Globe but sold the newspaper in 2013. Trump, apparently angered by the coordinated editorials against him, drew attention the link between the two newspapers in a tweet on 16 August.

The president continued to attack the media using the same terms on Thursday, a day after his own justice department filed its complaint to court detailing Chain’s use of Trump’s slogan. Trump claimed in a tweet that he “cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is,” adding: “Enemy of the People!”

 

The Neoconservative Comeback

August 28, 2018

by Lawrence Wilkerson

LobeLog

To those who are strongly opposed to Donald Trump, his present troubles no doubt resonate positively. The looming prospect of his successful removal from office through impeachment proceedings—or his just leaving as pressure for such proceedings builds—might even be such opponents’ fondest wish. But as Colin Powell used to say to me, “Be careful what you wish for…”

In this instance, such a warning has nothing to do with the line of succession and what Jane Mayer in The New Yorker called “The Danger of President Pence.” It has to do instead with the return of the Neoconservatives (Neocons) and only by extension, then, with a Pence or other caretaker presidency.

Because what is happening today, as Trump is preoccupied increasingly with the considerable, ever-growing challenges to him personally and to his presidency institutionally, is the reentry into critical positions in the government of these people, the people who gave America the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even those many of them who declared “Never Trump”—as arch-Neocon Eliot Cohen summed it up—are salivating at the prospect of carrying out their foreign and security policy while Trump essentially boils in his own corrupt juices.

Opening the Door

A vanguard, of course, is already in our government to beckon, comfort, and re-establish others of their type. John Bolton as national security advisor to the president leads this pack though he’s not, strictly speaking, a card-carrying Neocon. Bolton is, like Dick Cheney, an ultra-nationalist who finds the Neocon camp both a convenient hiding place from time to time and possessed of a set of views in which he dare not deny believing since they dovetail with his own purposes more often than not, and the Neocons muster a significant following. Moreover, the Neocons enjoy unfettered access to Israel’s right-wing government as a matter of course.

Nikki Haley at the United Nations, a true-blue Neocon, is almost as important as Bolton as she gives off the air of 2020 and replacing Trump as the new, duly-elected Republican president. To this point, Trump’s having exiled her to New York—as Barack Obama did finally with the war-loving Samantha Power—has not quelled her strident support of Israel (while women and children die in Gaza) or of Saudi Arabia (while thousands upon thousands die in Yemen) one iota.

Recently, one of the leaders of the pack of Neocons outside government, aptly enough a convicted felon (therefore fitting right in with the Trump team), Elliott Abrams, has written about this latent possibility in a very public manner. His screed might as well have been entitled, “Come back, come back. There is unparalleled mischief to be done.”

The very idea of such people being given another go at the ruination of the Republic ought to curdle our blood, rattle our bones, and give us immediate and effective pause. “Never again” is an appropriate battle cry because these people are certifiable. They have had as much to do with the almost 18 years of war in which the U.S. finds itself inextricably enmeshed, with the brutal and bloody turmoil in the Middle East, and with the destruction of American credibility in the world, as any president, legislature, or special interest group.

Presently, their first and most identifiable target is the unfinished business—which they largely commenced—with Syria and Iran, Israel’s two most serious potential threats. If the Neocons got their way—and they are remarkably astute at getting their way—it would mean a reignited war in Syria and a new war with Iran, as well as increased support for the greatest state sponsor of terrorism on earth, Saudi Arabia. We would see all our efforts to halt U.S. support for that country in the bloody and brutal war in Yemen prove fruitless, as well as a deeper fracturing in the Gulf Cooperation Council as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates press their vendetta against Qatar. As Turkey continues its efforts to shore up tiny Qatar, no doubt Neocon ire, already aimed directly at Ankara, will increase.

Overcoming the Blacklist

Who exactly are these should-be rejects who might be, or even now are, returning to key government positions?

Let’s start with Samantha Ravitch whom Trump has recently appointed to be deputy chairman of the Intelligence Advisory Board.

It should be sufficient for any rational person to point out merely that Samantha worked for Dick Cheney when he was president, er, sorry, vice president. She handled Asian and Middle East Affairs, among other things, at a time when U.S. Northeast Asia policy got so fouled up—largely at Cheney’s behest—that we let North Korea acquire nuclear weapons. (Did I point out that North Korea might be another country on the Neocon bucket list for war?)

That was also the time, folks will recall, that Iran moved from having a few centrifuges in its nuclear program to having more than 9,000. Cheney’s policy toward Iran was simply: “We do not speak to evil.” If we are to believe Peter Baker’s book (Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House), toward the end of the second Bush administration, when Cheney had been put in a closet, he—Cheney—was the only member of the National Security Council advocating for outright war with Iran. Thank God President Bush would have none of that war.

And coming from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or FDD for short, Samantha’s credentials as a Neocon are impeccable. FDD, of course, is Israel’s frontispiece in Washington and, as an organization, never saw a war for Israel it did not like and for which it did not press. Its latest exploits have featured support for the UAE in its efforts to wrest control of al-Udeid Air Base (the largest USAF base in the region) away from Qatar, thus deepening the already quite-serious split in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the oldest U.S.-backed security organization in the Persian Gulf.

And, as Abrams pointed out, Trump—or at least Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (who, as a long-time Christian Zionist and stridently anti-Iran member of Congress, has deferred to hard-line Neocons on Middle East policy)—has now breached Eliot Cohen’s dam by appointing Ambassador James Jeffrey, a former deputy national security adviser to George W. Bush and a veteran of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) since 2012, to be the Special Envoy for Syria.

“Jeffrey’s appointment is important for another reason: he signed one of the anti-Trump letters in 2016 and is I believe the first person to have done so who got an administration post,” Abrams observed. “If this means that the blacklist is fraying, the president and the secretary of state will benefit greatly. They will have dozens more names to choose from in seeking top-notch advisers.”

Indeed, there is no doubt that more Neocons are waiting in the wings now that their intelligentsia component has sanctioned their return to government. Trump might indeed be forced to depart and thus his debilitating focus on his own peril would disappear with him. But the caretaker president who follows—Pence most likely—will have so many challenges to confront, so many lapses to fill, and so many disasters to try to repair, that focusing on preventing the re-entry into government of these people will not be a high priority even if the new President should want it to be.

Likewise, our largely gutless legislature, even if it were to find some courage and challenge some of the Neocon returnees through the confirmation process, could be circumvented, as there are ways around that process (Samantha Ravitch’s appointment makes this quite clear). We have to recall that almost no one wanted John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in George W. Bush’s second term—even in Congress—so the President used a recess appointment to get him there. Indeed, Abrams insisted that Jeffrey’s appointment could point the way; Special Envoys don’t require Senate confirmation.

Collective Amnesia

This whole business of a possible Neocon return in some ways reminds me painfully of the manner in which two key intelligence analysts, Robert Walpole and Larry Gershwin, were treated in late 2003. These two men were most responsible for the “intelligence” contained in Powell’s presentation on Iraq’s WMD to the United Nations in February 2003, along with the CIA Director, George Tenet, and the Deputy Director, John McLaughlin. Walpole and Gershwin were rewarded for their work, while McLaughlin is now a much-ballyhooed—and likely well-paid—TV consultant. Tenet is the only one who has had the good grace to stay mostly silent. Moreover, he probably did not get rich from his memoirs, At the Center of the Storm, and anyone watching his final address as Director in 2004 at Georgetown University, as I’ve done several times, has to muster a little sympathy for him and realize he got no real professional reward either.

The Neocons are never silent or far away or ashamed to speak out. Neither are they particularly desirous of nor do they even care about rewards. They are far more dangerous. They remind me of Leon Trotsky. In, of, and because of them, there is damage and destruction for the ages—damage and destruction at the end of which they are convinced the world will be alight with their ideology, a utopia, a heaven-on-earth, a world in which their second homeland, Israel, can be proud—and safe.

Gore Vidal once said we are “the United States of Amnesia”. Certainly in terms of the Neocons and colossal intelligence failures, we seem to be.

 

Trump seeks to backtrack on 2017 comments on Comey firing

August 30, 2018

by Susan Heavey

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump sought to backtrack on comments last year in which he tied his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey to a probe into Russian election meddling, accusing NBC News on Thursday of “fudging” their interview, but offering no supporting evidence.

Trump made his accusation as the man who took over the federal Russia investigation from Comey, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, digs deeper into a probe that has already led to a series of indictments of former Trump aides.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, a move that Comey said later was aimed at undercutting the probe.

The Trump administration said at the time of Comey’s dismissal that the president had acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and No. 2 Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein.

In an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt that aired two days after the firing, Trump accused Comey of being incompetent and noted the recommendation, but also raised the issue of the Russia investigation, saying he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he fired him.

In a Twitter post on Thursday, Trump accused the news outlet and Holt, of “fudging my tape on Russia,” but gave no evidence to back up his claim.

In addition to looking into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Moscow denies, Mueller is investigating any collusion with Russia by Trump’s campaign and any attempt by the president to impede the probe.

The Comey firing could be central to a potential obstruction of justice case. Legal experts have said Mueller’s team must weigh whether the president acted with an improper, or “corrupt,” intent when he took actions such as firing Comey.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russia, or any obstruction of justice. He has said since the interview with Holt that he did not fire Comey over the federal probe.

Trump said in the Holt interview, “regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Representatives for NBC News, part of Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), declined to comment on Trump’s tweets on Thursday.

Representatives for the White House did not respond to a question about Trump’s accusation.

ATTACKS ON NEWS MEDIA

In the most dramatic day yet in the Russia investigation, federal prosecutors last week secured the conviction of Trump’s former campaign manager for financial crimes and a plea agreement from the president’s longtime attorney that included pleading guilty to campaign finance violations.

Trump, in a string of tweets last week, said he had nothing to hide from Mueller’s probe.

Trump’s tweets on Thursday were his latest attack on the news media. He has repeatedly called critical reports about him “fake news” and on Thursday he also called for the firing of CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker.

Representatives for CNN, owned by AT&T (T.N), declined to comment.

U.S. news organizations have pushed back against the stream of criticism from Trump.

Federal authorities on Thursday charged a California man with threatening to kill Boston Globe employees for the newspaper’s role leading a defense this month of press freedoms by hundreds of news organizations.

Shares of AT&T and Comcast did not move on the president’s tweets.

Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Ken Li in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Frances Kerry

 

Trump’s Attacks on the Media Are Reaching Dangerous New Levels

The president has unleashed a flurry of unhinged attacks against CNN, NBC and others

August 30, 2018

by Ryan Bort

Rolling Stone

Hours after calling legendary Washington Post reporter and current CNN contributor Carl Bernstein a “degenerate fool,” President Trump roused himself out of bed Thursday to levy another series of unhinged attacks against the media. Beginning just before 7 a.m., the president tweeted a whopping 10 times over the next three hours, with six of his missives aimed directly at the amorphous concept of “Fake News.” Once again, Trump described the press as the “Enemy of the People,” a phrase parroted by a California man arrested Thursday for threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees in the head. Also of note was a baseless allegation made by the president that NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt doctored the tape of the May 2017 interview in which Trump admitted that he fired James Comey as FBI Director because of the Russia investigation.

Though the White House cited a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein criticizing Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails as the reason for his dismissal, many speculated the move was made because Comey was presiding over the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia. Trump confirmed this speculation a few days later when he admitted to Holt that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing.”Trump contradicted himself when he tweeted in April that “Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation,” but his tweet Thursday morning marks the first time he has questioned the legitimacy of his interview with Holt. Setting aside the absurdity of the implication, NBC wouldn’t have been able to “fudge” the tape if they tried. The camera is trained on Trump’s face as he says, “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.” There are no cutaways. Trump said what he said; there is no disputing it. Then again, as Trump told a group of veterans last month, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Trump wasn’t done with Bernstein and CNN, either. The president began the morning with a bit of projection, claiming that the network’s “hatred and extreme bias” has “clouded their thinking and made them unable to function.” He also attacked the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, who presided over NBC during Trump’s run as host of The Apprentice. As reported in a New York Times Magazine profile of Zucker last year, the two had a chance encounter at a pivotal moment on the campaign trail:

Last spring, as Trump was steaming toward the Republican nomination, Zucker ran into him in the men’s room in the network’s Washington bureau. Trump was powdering his face before an interview.

“You think any of this would have happened without ‘The Apprentice?’ ” Trump asked, as Zucker moved past him.

“Nope,” Zucker answered.

The president’s latest bout of wrath toward the network comes after Lanny Davis, the media-friendly lawyer representing Michael Cohen, admitted that he may not have been entirely truthful when he told Bernstein last month that his client planned to testify that the president knew about the infamous Trump Tower meeting prior to the 2016 election. “I should have done a much better job of speaking with more suspicion than certainty, and I regret my mistake,” Davis recently told CNN. Both Bernstein and the network have said that despite Davis’ wavering, they stand by the story, which cited multiple sources. “Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie,” the network tweeted Wednesday night. “We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them.” Bernstein chimed in, as well.

The tweets from CNN and Bernstein were replies to Trump’s Wednesday night tweet that “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake.” In the same tweet, the president called “sloppy” Bernstein “a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool” and that he “is being laughed at all over the country.”

Trump’s latest onslaught of attacks against what he believes to be inaccurate reporting come the same week the he erroneously tweeted that China was responsible for hacking into Hillary Clinton’s email server prior to the 2016 election. The tweet was based on an uncorroborated report from right-wing website The Daily Caller, which cited anonymous sources in its reporting. The next morning, Trump tweeted that when an outlet cites anonymous sources, “stop reading the story, it is fiction!”

As many have pointed out, the White House regularly holds briefings in which officials are not permitted to be quoted by name, and Trump has long tried to manipulate the media by proffering himself as an anonymous source, which may explain why he believes people who refuse to go on the record — or at least the ones with unflattering things to say about Trump — are doing so because they are lying.

Not surprisingly, the FBI has denied Trump’s anonymous-source-based claim that China hacked into Hillary Clinton’s email server, citing that they have “not found any evidence the servers were compromised.” Trump, of course, has not removed the tweet.

 

Trump Is in Trouble. Here’s How Much Worse It Can Get

August 24, 2018

by Brian Bennett

TIME

Michael Cohen once believed he would lead Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

When that didn’t come to pass, he told friends he might be White House chief of staff. That didn’t happen either, but still he swore he’d “take a bullet” for Trump. In the end, the President’s longtime personal lawyer stood before a federal judge in a New York City courthouse on Aug. 21 and swore to something else entirely: that he had engaged in a crime coordinated by the man who now sits in the Oval Office.

Even in a presidency punctuated by surreal moments, it was a stunning scene. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts, including arranging payments during the 2016 campaign to suppress two women’s accounts of alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. “I participated in this conduct,” Cohen avowed, “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump himself. With that extraordinary statement, he implicated the President of the United States in a federal crime–to be violating campaign-finance laws–the “principal purpose,” of which he said, was to influence an election that Trump won by only 78,000 votes in three states.

The courtroom drama brought all the President’s legal and political problems together in a single supernova. It highlighted Trump’s sordid history with women, his willingness to blur the lines between business and politics, and growing fallout from the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who referred the Cohen case to federal prosecutors. Worse, the explosion came minutes after Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud in a case prosecuted by Mueller’s deputies. And it followed revelations that White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe, sitting for more than 30 hours of detailed and candid interviews.

It was arguably the most pivotal day in this presidency, and the consequences are only beginning to kick in. Cohen’s plea raised questions that cut to the heart of Trump’s legitimacy. If Trump was willing to deploy his vast fortune to quash salacious stories, as Cohen alleges, what else might he have used his wealth for? What other damaging information could the President’s former fixer share? And what scrutiny awaits Trump’s business empire, which the President has sought to shield from the widening probes?

For now, Trump may not pay a political or legal price. He has benefited from an unshakable bond with his base: even as criminal investigations seep further into his inner circle, Trump has averaged an 87% approval rating from Republicans so far in his second year, according to Gallup. And many legal experts believe that as President he cannot be indicted for a crime while in office. “He did nothing wrong,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Aug. 22. “There are no charges against him in this. And just because Michael Cohen has made a deal doesn’t mean that that implicates the President on anything.”

There was no question, however, that the late-August events mark a new and dangerous phase for Trump. “For the first time,” says former federal prosecutor David Axelrod, “we’ve seen, in court, evidence strongly linking the President to criminal acts.” That testimony, offered under oath by the President’s former lawyer, will only embolden Mueller and energize Trump’s Democratic opponents. It left West Wing staffers scrambling to soothe their furious boss. And it carried unmistakable echoes of John Dean’s turn against Richard Nixon in 1973, along with the growing sense that a presidency suffused with scandal is confronting its toughest fight yet.

In a fitting twist for a President from New York City, the trouble began with taxis. In addition to his day job as a Trump Organization executive, Cohen dabbled in real estate, medical businesses and even an offshore casino boat. By 2010, according to court documents, Cohen had also bought a portfolio of taxi medallions, the metal placards that allow drivers to operate cabs in cities like New York and Chicago. Cohen leased the medallions to drivers and, according to his plea, failed to report all of the profits to the IRS. In one scheme between 2012 and 2016, Cohen earned more than $2.4 million in interest from loans he made to a taxi operator who leased some of his Chicago medallions. In another, Cohen failed to report $1.3 million in income for a different taxi operator who paid Cohen personally for part of the leases, rather than Cohen’s medallion company. Cohen also didn’t report $100,000 he received for brokering a Florida real estate deal, or a $30,000 fee he charged in 2015 for arranging the sale of a Birkin bag, a high-priced French handbag. In total, he confessed to concealing more than $4 million in personal income.

Suspicion that Cohen had engaged in tax evasion and bank fraud led Mueller to refer the matter to investigators in New York’s Southern District. On April 9, the FBI stormed Cohen’s hotel room, apartment, law office and bank boxes, collecting computers, cell phones, tax records and other materials. The raid was unusual not only because Cohen had been the President’s personal lawyer but also because prosecutors have to get special permission from a judge before raiding a lawyer’s property unannounced to avoid violating attorney-client privilege.

The evidence uncovered led to the Aug. 21 plea deal. Unveiling it, prosecutors released new details about Cohen’s role in arranging payments to two women, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and pornographic actor Stephanie Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, to quash embarrassing stories about their alleged liaisons with Trump. In the summer of 2015, according to court documents, David Pecker, a Trump friend and the chairman of American Media Inc., the company that publishes the National Enquirer, told Cohen he would act as something of a fixer for the campaign. Cohen told prosecutors that Pecker agreed to “help deal with negative stories” about Trump’s “relationships with women.” He offered to assist the campaign in “identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided,” a practice known in the tabloid industry as “catch and kill.”

In June 2016, a month before Trump became the Republican nominee for President, Pecker alerted Cohen that McDougal had offered to sell the Enquirer the story of her affair with Trump, which allegedly took place shortly after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron, according to court documents. Cohen told prosecutors he urged Pecker to buy the story and promised to reimburse the magazine. Pecker’s company paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to the story, which the Enquirer never published. The “principal purpose” of the deal, Cohen told prosecutors, was to suppress the story to prevent it from influencing the election. In late July 2018, Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis released a secret audio recording from September 2016 in which Cohen tells Trump “we’ll have to pay” to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story. Trump responds, “Pay with cash.”

Around Oct. 8, 2016, an agent for Clifford approached an editor at American Media about telling the story of her own alleged affair with Trump. It was the day after the release of the bombshell videotape of Trump on the Access Hollywood set, bragging to “purchase [her] silence,” according to Cohen’s plea.

When Cohen failed to pay Clifford immediately, Clifford’s then attorney told the editor that she would take her story to another publication. The editor texted Cohen, according to court documents, telling him, we “have to coordinate something … or it could look awfully bad for everyone.” Two days later, Cohen wired $130,000 to Clifford’s attorney, and Clifford signed a nondisclosure agreement, according to the court documents.

Cohen was reimbursed for his payment to Clifford by the Trump Organization in monthly installments of $35,000, the court records show. The Trump Organization itemized the invoices as legal services, even though Cohen had not provided any, according to the plea.

All this end ran federal laws barring campaign contributions of more than $2,700 by an individual or any amount by a corporation. Legal experts say that if Trump had paid Cohen out of his own bank account, it would not have been a violation of campaign-finance law. “It’s because he chose to use the corporate coffers to reimburse Cohen that you get this additional violation of federal law by the Trump Organization, and by extension Donald Trump himself,” says Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization that filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission earlier this year regarding the campaign’s payments to Clifford and American Media.

If anyone imagined that these sordid details didn’t add up to serious legal jeopardy for Trump, the top law-enforcement officials on the case set them straight after the Aug. 21 hearing. As the U.S. prosecutor on the case, Robert Khuzami, said, “We are a nation of laws, with one set of rules that applies equally to everyone.” William F. Sweeney Jr., the FBI’s top New York cop, chimed in that “we are all expected to follow the rule of law.” And James Robnett, the special agent in charge of the IRS’s New York Criminal Investigation unit said Cohen’s plea “sends a clear message that the tax laws apply to everybody.”

And the transactions open up problems for the President that go beyond his implication in a federal crime. By confessing that he invoiced the Trump Organization, Cohen may draw increased scrutiny to the company’s books. That could result in the closest look yet at the finances of a President who has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns.

Already, some Trump antagonists have seized on Cohen’s statements as supporting evidence in their own ongoing legal battles. “The likelihood of me being able to depose Michael Cohen and the President of the United States just went up exponentially,” says Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s attorney, whose motion to take testimony from both men awaits a hearing. A California judge had stayed the case pending the outcome of the Cohen investigation. A hearing on whether to lift the stay is scheduled for Sept. 10 in Los Angeles.

All this would be worrisome enough for the President if his problems ended with Cohen. But they don’t. In the same hour the lawyer pleaded guilty to eight felonies in Manhattan, Manafort was facing the music in a courtroom outside Washington. His conviction on eight criminal charges–two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts–illustrates the depth and breadth Mueller’s investigation. That probe has already resulted in more than 100 criminal charges against 33 people and three companies and secured guilty pleas from Manafort’s longtime deputy Rick Gates, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

During the Manafort trial, federal prosecutors did not address possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian actors, but they did show that Mueller’s investigators are looking closely at potential financial crimes. The Mueller probe reportedly has ensnared top Trump associates like Roger Stone over what he knew about WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman’s account. Mueller is reportedly also looking at the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., for his role in a secret meeting during the 2016 campaign with a Russian lawyer, billed to the campaign as an opportunity to gain damaging information on Clinton. Cohen has reportedly said he is willing to tell Mueller that Trump was aware of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower before it happened.

Trump’s most immediate peril may not be on the legal front. Justice Department guidelines restrict prosecutors from bringing charges against a sitting President–he can be indicted only after he leaves office. But the political toll of the mushrooming scandals is another matter. In the short term, he is unlikely to see his support drop. “This won’t be a blip in polls,” a top Democratic Senate aide predicted. “Literally, nothing changes this guy’s polling.” Most Americans have fixed their opinions about him by now. “This stopped being a game of persuasion in about October of 2016,” a top Republican on Capitol Hill said.

But the courtroom drama cemented corruption as a theme that Democrats will use to hammer Republicans in the 11 weeks until the midterm elections. Democrats are wary for now of the argument that Cohen’s claims should initiate impeachment proceedings, fearing the prospect would energize Trump’s supporters more than their own. Some of the most successful messaging tests Democrats have seen, according to two top strategists who have conducted focus groups in representative districts, is to cast incumbent Republicans as “yes men” to the President. That’s why strategists close to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi recently sent a memo to Democratic candidates with a proposed message: run as a check on Trump’s agenda. In their research, pollsters found that Democratic candidates saw a 12-point bump using that message; among independent and nonaligned voters, the rhetoric was worth 14 percentage points.

If Trump’s spreading scandals engulf Republicans in November, Democrats could find themselves chairing committees next January with broad powers to investigate the President and his associates. A Democratic House or Senate could challenge the White House on everything from the President’s coveted border wall to his tax returns. Washington would tilt on its axis as Democrats with subpoena power move against their beleaguered opponent in the White House.

Which is why Cohen’s courtroom turn could be the start of a consequential, even historic, period in American politics. More details of his allegations against Trump will surely emerge. A second Manafort trial on charges he acted as an unregistered foreign agent will get under way in September. And eventually Mueller will likely issue a report detailing everything he has found about Russia’s 2016 meddling and whether the Trump campaign was involved. At which point Democrats who might control one or both chambers on Capitol Hill could be expected to look beyond their own investigations to impeachment.

With reporting by Alana Abramson, Haley Sweetland Edwards and Kate Reilly/New York; Molly Ball, Ryan Teague Beckwith, Philip Elliott and Abby Vesoulis/Washington

This appears in the September 03, 2018 issue of TIME.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the limit on campaign contributions by an individual in a federal election. The limit is $2,700, not $27,000.

 

Carl Bernstein: Trump attacks ‘degenerate’ Watergate reporter

August 30, 2018

BBC News

US President Donald Trump is waging a war of words with legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein over a story about his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen.

On Wednesday, the president called Mr Bernstein a “sloppy” and “degenerate fool” who invented stories.

Mr Bernstein fired back on Thursday, tweeting that he spent his life “bringing the truth to light” and “no taunt” could diminish that commitment.

His story reported Mr Trump knew about a 2016 meeting with Russians.

  • Trump calls for CNN boss to be fired

On Twitter, the president said “CNN is being torn apart from within” over refusing to admit their mistakes, adding that Mr Bernstein “is being laughed at all over the country”.

Mr Bernstein, a famed journalist who covered the Watergate scandal during the Nixon presidency, responded saying he stands by his reporting.

The story in question had quoted sources as saying that Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, was ready to testify that Mr Trump was aware of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr and Russians who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

  • Who’s who in Russia-Trump inquiry?

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, revealed on Monday that he was CNN’s source and has since recanted his statement.

CNN has stood by the story and Mr Bernstein, tweeting at the president: “Make no mistake, Mr President, CNN does not lie.”

On Thursday, Mr Trump called for CNN president Jeff Zucker to be fired over the network’s “hatred and extreme bias” towards him.

The president continued to lambast US media on Twitter, saying “they only have their hatred and agenda”, adding that the media is also responsible for “fake books”.

Mr Trump’s clash with Mr Bernstein comes as fellow-Watergate reporter Bob Woodward is set to release a book next month detailing life inside the Trump White House.

What was the CNN story?

Mr Bernstein co-wrote an article that had multiple anonymous sources claiming Cohen said the president was aware of the June 2016 meeting.

That meeting involved Mr Trump’s son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an influential Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

In the 27 July article, CNN stated Mr Davis had declined to comment, and quoted multiple anonymous sources.

The next day, the Washington Post also reported on the claims and cited Mr Davis as a source.

On Monday, however, Mr Davis confirmed to Buzzfeed News that he was CNN’s anonymous source and retracted his claims.

“I made a mistake,” he said, adding that he should have been clearer to reporters that he could not personally verify the information he gave.

When Mr Davis appeared on CNN with presenter Anderson Cooper, last week, he said “the reporting of the story got mixed up”.

CNN stands by its story. Trump supporters argue Mr Davis’ statements undermine the original article.

Cohen’s case has stoked speculation he could testify against Mr Trump in Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling two years ago in the US elections.

He pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance crimes last week.

 

The CIA’s interest in the Douglas book on Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller and their attempts to secure damaging documents showing their employment of many SS and Gestapo officials.

August 30, 2018

by Christian Jürs

When the book was first published, there was no official comment from U.S. sources even though it contained highly damaging correspondence from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which clearly stated that Müller worked for the American government. This correspondence resulted in the dismissal of at least two senior CIA officials.

Most agencies had never heard of Heinrich Müller and could care less. Many believed the book to be a hoax or deliberate disinformation since their files, with the exception of the U.S. Intelligence files at Ft. George Meade, Maryland and, of course, the CIA, contained no references at all to Heinrich Müller. The author found it necessary to explain that the former Gestapo Chief certainly did not work for the U.S. under his real name. When this obvious fact finally penetrated the Stygian gloom that seems to envelope all government agencies, there was a sudden awakening of alarmed interest.

Much of Müller’s postwar career is covered in this book, and a good deal of additional information concerning the postwar years came from Karl Müller, grandson of the late Gruppenführer, who, like his grandfather, holds a responsible post in law enforcement.

Both the author and publisher were bombarded with letters from people claiming to be historians, stating that each and every one of them had “valuable” material on Müller which they would love to share with us. The only caveat was that they wished to look through the entire body of Müller files, which contain over 800 microfilm rolls, to “help them with research” matters. As none of them read, wrote or spoke a word of German and were able to answer even the simplest questions about Müller, or produce copies of one picture or document they claimed to possess, it became the usual practice to toss these suspect, clumsy approaches into the trash.

The very clumsiness of these approaches would strongly indicate that the seekers undoubtedly were employed by the government who was determined to find out exactly what evidence, if any, existed outside of their control that would indicate that the chief of the Gestapo was a post-war CIA employee.

The general goal of these ham-handed individuals was to establish the existence of the papers and then, having read them, to report back to their employers who then would attempt to replevin, or seize, the entire lot because of what is vaguely termed “national security.”

To the small handful of petulant and outraged academics who have also made attempts to visit the author and study his files, the reply is, in essence, that no academic of any kind is to be trusted with valuable papers. Academics could, and would, make copies of them and then rush the contents into print under their own name, suitably embellished and written by a favorite, and discreet, student. Showing an academic anything with which he can make money is like presenting a burglar with a ladder.

In 1996, the San Jose, California, Mercury-News published material alleging that elements of the CIA knowingly permitted and encouraged the sale of narcotics by Latino drug dealers to essentially black, inner city residents. The strong implication contained in this report is that the wave of dangerous, disruptive and fatal drug sales and use in the black communities stemmed, in large part, from CIA instigation, and an attempt on their part to finance the Contras of Nicaragua who were then engaged in guerrilla warfare with the Marxist Sandinistas. The CIA has long and often been accused of utilizing monies from the transportation and sale of illegal drugs, in the main heroin and cocaine, to fund many of its operations for which they were unable to obtain official Congressional monetary support.

In the case of the Mercury-News coverage, the resultant uproar from the outraged black communities brought responses from the CIA that were both predictable and instructional.

The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, once known as friendly resources for official Washington, rushed into print with rebukes of both the San Jose newspaper’s stories, editors and its reporter—a theme eagerly seized upon by other such media outlets. There is an old adage that “Once a newspaperman, always a whore.” This is an erroneous and insulting statement. Whores perform their acts solely for money and nothing else. A slut, on the other hand, conducts her sexual rampages merely because it feels good. In the interest of accuracy and in defense of the character of whores, it might be better said that with few exceptions, the media are sluts ready to work for free for the US intelligence community.

John Deutsch, embattled Director of the CIA, made a public relations trip to Los Angeles where he spoke at an open meeting of the black community. He was booed and insulted by them, disbelieving his pious denials and promises of a “thorough investigation” into the allegations.

A predictable Congressional hearing into the issue was regaled by testimony from former Contra leaders who denied any of the published allegations. Again, their testimony was greeted with vocal outbursts from the audience who claimed that the business was being officially covered up, not unlike the previous hearings on the massacre at Waco, which were full of official sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The statements contained in this chapter concerning the known use by the U.S. intelligence community of identified war criminals are based solidly on fact and record. This will certainly not prevent those in government service, both official and unofficial, from following a parallel course to the countering of the Mercury-News coverage.

For some years it has been said that a controversial issue does not gain credibility in the eyes of the public until it has been officially denied in Washington. To this official denial must be added confirming attacks by the media, the official public relations outlet for the government. No one believes them either.

A very significant number of the German nationals belonging to the CIA-controlled Gehlen Organization have been discovered to have belonged to either the Gestapo or the RSHA, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt .This was the blanket organization for all German State and Party intelligence and counterintelligence agencies.

The fact that an indivual was assigned to the RSHA does not mean that he wasinvolved in anything more sinister than clerical work in an office. But included in this list are a number of individuals whose wartime record indicates their activities were of a criminal nature and their inclusion in any U.S. sponsored and controlled agency has no justification whatsoever.

The American members of this group (the Gehlen Organization was entirely controlled by the CIA from 1948 through 1956) will be included in a subsequent study. The listing here of some, and it must be emphasized that this treatment covers only the most serious offenders, is alphabetical and not by rank.

SS-Sturmbannführer Emil Augsberg, SS No. 307 925. Born May 1, 1905. Subject was a member of the RSHA, the adjutant to SS-Gruppen¬führer Globocnik who was SS and Police Leader in the Polish district of Lublin. He was the head of the concentration camps of Treblinka and Belzec. Augsburg later was a member of the Wannsee Institute in Berlin where he was a specialist in Polish problems. He ended the war on the personal staff of Heinrich Himmler.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Fritz Baader, SS No. 278 278. Born April 9, 1909. Dr. Baader was on the staff of the Senior SS and Police Leader in Hungary.

SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Barnewald, SS No. 6 469. Born January 10, 1896. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp, Buchenwald.

SS-Sturmbannführer Ernst Biberstein, SS No. 272 692. Born February 15, 1899. Biberstein was a member of the RSHA. He also commanded Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C. The Einsatzgruppen were composed of RSHA personnel and operated behind the front lines in warfare against partisans. The activities of these groups often far exceeded their briefs and many of them were responsible for dreadful atrocities against partisans, civilians and Jews. Biberstein’s activities were such as to secure a death sentence by an Allied court after the war, a sentence that was commuted in 1951, permitting him to work for the Gehlen organization.

SS-Sturmbannführer Ludwig Boehme, SS No.249 802. Born August 21, 1898. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Ausch¬witz.

SS-Brigadeführer Christoph Diehm, SS No.28 461. Born March 1, 1892. Diehm was chief of staff of the Kaminiski Brigade. This unit was commanded by a Russian named Kaminiski and was involved in fighting partisans on the East Front. The unit took part in the fighting in Warsaw in 1944 where its behavior was so brutal that it was ordered disbanded and its leader shot.

SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Döring, SS No 67 310. Born February 5, 1903. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Dachau. He was later the postwar West German Ambassador to the Cameroons.

SS-Sturmbannführer Dr.Max Eberl, SS No. 680 352, Born December 26,1892. Dr. Eberl was a member of the RSHA and was involved with euthanasia at Treblinka Concentration Camp under Globocnik.

SS-Standartenführer Hans Eichele, SS No. 21 640. Born May 1, 1901. Eichele was Standortkommandat at the Concentration Camp, Dachau

SS-Sturmbannführer Walter Huppenkoethen, SS No.126 785. Born December 31, 1907. Huppenkoethen was a member of the RSHA and Commanding Officer of the SD & Police in Lublin and Cracow (Poland). He was tried after the war for his activities.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Erich Isselhorst, SS No.267 313. Born February 5, 1906. Subject was Commander of the Police and SD at Strassburg and also Inspector of the SD, Stuttgart . He was also Commanding Officer of Einsatzkommando 8 of Einsatzgruppe A.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Oswald Poche, SS No. 267 316. Born January 28, 1908. Poche was commanding officer of the Security Police and SD, Tromsö, Norway.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Albert Rapp, SS No.280 341. Born November 16, 1908. Subject was Inspector, Security Police and SD, Braunschwieg and commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 7, Einsatzgruppe B.

SS-Standartenführer Walter Rauff, SS No. 290 947. Born June 19, 1906. Rauff was a member of RSHA and with Senior SS and Police Commander, Italy (Karl Wolff). Rauff was responsible for the construction of the gas vans and eventually had to move to South America to avoid prosecution.

SS-Oberführer Dr. Franz Six, SS No.107 480. Born August 12, 1909. Dr. Six was a member of RSHA, and Commanding Officer of Einzatz¬gruppe Vorkommando Moscow. Six was an early member of the Gehlen Organization, but was finally arrested and tried for his activities in 1948. He was sentenced to life in prison, but released in 1951. Six worked for Porsche and Gehlen after his release.

SS-Standartenführer Eugen Steimle, SS No. 272 575. Born December 8, 1909. Subject was a member of RSHA and commanding officer of Einsatzgruppen B and later C. He was subsequently convicted by an Allied court and sentenced to a long term in prison, but released in 1951.

SS-Sturmbannführer Alois Thaler, SS No.347 142. Born November 28, 1909. Subject was a member of RSHA and was Senior SS & Police Commander, Italy.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Ernst Weimann, SS No. 263 985. Born August 5, 1906. Commanding officer, Security Police & SD, Bergen, Norway

SS-Sturmbannführer Kurt Weisse, SS. No. 563 159. Born October 11, 1909.    Subject was a member of SS Regiment Dirlewanger. Oscar Dirle¬wanger was a convicted child molester and friend of Himmler. His unit was made up of paroled convicts and used to fight the partisans. Like the Kaminiski unit, their record was so appalling that they were withdrawn from combat by Hitler’s order. Dirlewanger vanished at the end of the war

SS-Sturmbannführer Eugen Wenner, SS No. 200 581. Born November 15, 1912. Wenner was a member of RSHA and was with the Senior SS and Police Commander, Italy.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Wiebens, SS No.16 617. Born March 17, 1906. Subject was a member of RSHA and Commanding Officer of Einzatzkommando 9 under Einsatzgruppe B.

These names represent only a small percentage (less than 4%) of the names found on a listing of all personnel of the Gehlen Organization from 1945 onwards. These are only the names of higher ranking officers in the SS/SD and Police. The names of many lower rank SS/SD and Police members are still being verified as of this writing, but the names of thousands of Croatians, Slovenes, Balts and Russians are impossible to locate in existing files so they are excluded from this study.

The international uproar attendant upon the discovery that Klaus Barbie was gainfully employed by the U.S. CIC after the war, even after it became well known that Barbie was wanted for his Gestapo activities in Lyon, France, would pale to insignificance when the full impact of the Gehlen Organization’s complete list becomes a matter of public record.

The Gehlen group was controlled completely by the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1948. It was then taken over and controlled directly by the Central Intelligence Agency under the command of Colonel James Critchfield until 1955-56, when the group was taken over by the Federal Government of Germany and renamed the Bundes¬nach¬richtendienst (BND) or State Intelligence Service.

The excuse will doubtless be offered by all controlling parties that they had no way of knowing that their ranks contained such a significant number of Gestapo and SD officials, and many who were on the wanted lists called CROWCASS. This acronym stands for Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects instituted by U.S. Intelligence in May of 1945, and eventually discontinued in 1948. These lists were contained in a total of forty books and were responsible for the apprehension of many wanted war criminals. It should be pointed out, that from 1945 until 1948 when the control of the Gehlen Organization passed to the CIA, it was mandatory that all German nationals who were employed by U.S. authorities in occupied Germany had to be checked both through CIC Central Registry as well as the CROWCASS lists!

There is absolutely no possibility that a valid claim of ignorance of the makeup of the Gehlen group can be made at this point in time. In fact, in 1948, all of the CROWCASS files were turned over to Gehlen and the CIA, very effectively blocking any possible inquiry into the makeup of the German-American spy network.

Because Gehlen had no knowledge of the inner workings of the Soviet Union, and being limited in his wartime duties of establishing Soviet order of battle, it was necessary for him to seek the services of German, Croatian, Baltic and Russian individuals who had a much broader background in non-military intelligence.

During the Second World War, Reinhard Gehlen was in charge of the German Army’s Foreign Armies East (Fremde Heer Ost) branch of the High Command. In retrospect, his projected views of Soviet military moves were more often wrong than right, but Gehlen was both ambitious and egocentric, a combination which effectively precluded him from considering any views other than his own. Hitler eventually fired him for incompetence.

The American military had very little knowledge of the inner workings of the Soviet state because during Roosevelt’s reign they had been strictly forbidden by the President to conduct any intelligence activity against his friend and ally, Josef Stalin. Soviet agents, on the other hand, ran rampant in the United States, spying on every important part of the U.S. government and military establishment. In this, the Soviets were eagerly assisted by a host of American communists who did not view their treachery as such, but rather as their sacred duty to the Soviet Union to whom they owed their entire allegiance.

The defense made, after the fact, by American intelligence agencies to charges of the unrestrained use of foreigners whose activities during the war were brutal in the extreme, was that theUnited States needed as much information on their new enemy as they could develop. Also, the backgrounds of many of their intelligence resources were secondary to their task of developing this intelligence.

Many of the individuals hired by Gehlen had very little experience in the intelligence field, but much in the area of partisan warfare. This combat experience consisted of engaging Soviet partisan and irregular units in warfare with the intention of liquidating them, the same goals, it ought to be pointed out, that the partisans themselves adhered to.

There is also the concept that Gehlen was used by elements in the United States government and military as a foil to convince a reluctant President Truman and the American Congress that Stalin was planning to launch an attack on western Europe. To forestall this attack, these elements urged, it was vital that the United States halt the demobilization of their military and the downsizing of American industry, and reverse the process.

Gehlen’s reports prepared at the behest of his American controllers have proven to be as inaccurate as the ones he prepared for Hitler’s High Command. But in the former case, Gehlen did what he was told to do while the latter case was more an example of ego than mendacity.

Most professional intelligence practitioners would agree, many with reluctance, that the use by either the United States or Great Britain of a superb counterintelligence personality such as Heinrich Müller would be fully justified considering Müller’s expertise in the machinations of the Kremlin and its leaders.

Almost no one, except for bureaucratic types, could justify the use by Gehlen and his controllers, the U.S.Army and later the CIA, of such men whose names are now identified with membership in his organization.

Every nation in modern times has special military or paramilitary organizations at their disposal to enforce their will by ruthless and morally indefensible methods. The Germans had their Einsatzgruppen, their Geheime Feld Polizei and their Jagdverbände, the British their SAS, the U.S. their Special Forces and SEALS, and the Soviets their Speznatz units. All of these units were and are being trained in the techniques of control through terror and what, in the end, amounts to the control, repression and often the physical liquidation of the civilian populations of their military opponents.

It should be noted that the CIA was not alone in its hiring practices. Through documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA,) it is discovered in a CIC report dated March 1951, that a certain Dr. Wilhelm H. Schmitz was in the employ of that agency. During the course of the Third Reich, Dr. Schmitz was an SS-Sturmbannführer (as of April 20, 1941) and the head of the Gestapo bureau, IV E 6. This section was called “Counterespionage Section South” and covered Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, Hungary, Italy, Spain and South America.

When the British murdered RSHA chief Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 in Prague, the leadership of the Reich was in an uproar and Himmler went at once to the Czech capital along with Müller…and Dr. Wilhelm Schmitz. Dr. Schmitz, acting under Müller’s orders, was responsible for the actions taken against the Czechs, including the destruction of Lidice and the shooting of over three thousand Czechs, some of whom were actually connected with the plot or were found to be British agents. After the war, Schmitz, whose background was known to his employers, worked in Prague as a double agent. Schmitz was one of the architects of the legend that Müller was working for Czech intelligence. The main architect of this delightful fable was the former chief of the Gestapo himself, who greatly enjoyed pulling the legs of his employers, but always, it must be added, with great care.

The CIC later discovered that they had been hoaxed and other documents recently released indicate that the perpetrators of the Müller-Czech stories were ordered to be terminated at once. This phrase is usually considered an official euphemism for assassination.

The hiring by Gehlen of highly undesirable individuals, many of whom were not German SS men, but equally as unpalatable, generally was overseen by Willi Krichbaum, his chief recruiter. Krichbaum, who had been Müller’s chief deputy in the Gestapo and head of the dreaded Geheime Feld Polizei (GFP), filled the ranks of the Gehlen organization with a mixture of ferocious individuals who had the potential to cause terrible problems for the ultimate authority over them.

From 1945 through 1948, this authority was the U.S. Army and between 1948 and 1956, the CIA. What happened later was that the ranks of the newly-constituted Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, of the West German government, were swelled with a significant number of former Gestapo and SD people who had the added liability of working for Soviet intelligence.

Müller, who by this time was comfortably ensconced in the United States, had nothing to do with this debacle, but certainly lived to fully enjoy it. Even though only a small percentage of the Soviet moles were ever publicly identified, the damage had been done.

Following the revelations that British intelligence agencies had been equally infiltrated with Soviet spies, both countries suffered from a drastic and permanent loss of confidence by the United States.

The use by the American intelligence, and governmental communities, of Germans with some expertise on the subject of the Soviet Union is pragmatically understandable. The only reason that Great Britain didn’t make more use of former RSHA personnel is that they could not outspend the Americans, and further, England was so full of Soviet sympathizers and agents that the subject of utilizing the late enemy was anathema to them.

The individuals listed here had very little expertise in Soviet internal affairs, with a few exceptions, and their employment at any level is completely indefensible.

The foregoing study is not meant to show that U.S. Intelligence agencies actively sought to employ Germans who were accused of the commission of serious crimes. It does mean, in every sense, that such persons were knowingly employed by the intelligence agencies as an expedient.

All bureaucracies in all periods encounter the same problems: Maintenance. The actual secrets of the world are so few that one could carry them on small slips of paper in a back pocket. In order to justify acres of buildings filled with tens of thousands of employees, office equipment, telephones, code machines, shredders, computer systems, plastic passes, executive dining rooms, travel expenses and, finally, salaries, all intelligence agencies have to at least give the appearance of performing vital functions for the security of their state. No agency or bureaucracy has ever voluntarily reduced itself, but every one of them finds it necessary to expand itself to acquire more power, more employees, more parking space, and most importantly, larger budgets to be approved by those set above them.

Communism and Soviet expansionism proved to be as vital to the maintenance and growth of the U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence agencies, as capitalism, and U.S. expansionism was to Soviet intelligence and counterintelligence. These massive entities represent the upper and the nether millstone and what is ground between them are those who pay for the follies, the vices, and most important, the bill.

 

Original Gestapo-Chief Heinrich Müller Files bought by the German ZDF television network, at the request of the main CIA office in Berlin from author Gregory Douglas for $85,000:

1.Complete records of WALTER SCHELLENBERG from 1933 through 1934 including personal correspondence, reports on, finances of, college records on, family records, birth certificates, etc

Number of pages: 991

2.November 1939 bomb attack on HITLER in Munich. Investigation records.

MUELLER headed this investigation

Number of pages: 185

3.GFP (Geheime Feld Polizei) reports, 1943-1944 (Note: SS-Oberfühfrer

KRICHBAUM who commanded these units was a deputy of MUELLER and later an official in the BND.)

Number of pages: 55

4.RSHA files of telegrams send by HIMMLER, MUELLER, SCHELLENBERG,  WOLFF and others from August, 1941 through January, 1943.

Number of pages: 287

5.RSHA records of use of Geheime Reichssache documents from 1944 through 1945.

Number of pages: 340

6.Lengthy Geheim documentation from 1939 listing all the Weimar politicians and other politicians, political parties and other groups, communists and other groups. A very detailed and valuable study of the pre-1933 political system as seen through the eyes of the Gestapo.

Number of pages: 810

7.Complete listing of all Gestapo officials, office locations on 1944 plus an

earlier listing of 1941.

Number of pages: 23

8.Complete listing of all RSD members prepared by the office of HIMMLER

dated January, 1945.

Number of pages: 14

9.Gestapo copy of the telephone listings for all the persons and agencies located at the Berghof on the Oberzalsburg, 1944.

Number of pages: 24

10.Gestapo reports on anti-German and pro-Communist activities in Sweden, 1942- 1943.

Number of pages: 360

11.Gestapo reports on Communist and Socialist activities in Spain and France from 1935 through 1936.

Number of pages: 327

12.Very complete Gestaspo report on activities of the Commnist party in

Germany from 1931 through 1936. Containing a good deal of detail on the leadership and its background.

Number of pages: 793

  1. Very important and complete set of Meldungen aus dem Reich reports by the SD on conditions inside Germany from 1939 through 1944. These reports, eventually banned by HIMMLER as too defeatest, showed the public opinion in Germany during the war

Number of pages: 8. 076

14.Complete listing of all secret documents received by the techincal section of the Gestapo from 1936 through 1944.

Number of pages: 14

15.Listing of all Police attache officials from 1940 through 1943. These officials were Gestapo/SD agents in foreign capitols.

Number of pages: 14

16.A report by Gestapo agents overseas on various foreign intelligence   matters.

Number of pages:  63

17.Reports from GLOBOCNIK’S office in Lublin from 1943-1944 containing extensive evidence of actions taken against Jews, etc.

Number of pages: 196

18.A lengthy listing of all RSHA and Waffen-SS officers and sub units from 1941 and additional material on SS personnel from 1938 through 1943.

Number of pages: 236

19.A complete listing, issued by the SS Main Office, of all SS officers over the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer as of 1. Oktober 1944.

Number of pages: 152

20.Full listing of  all RSHA offices, senior officers and positions occupied from 1943 through 1944.

Number of pages:  97

21.Very full collection of gRs marked papers, prepared by MUELLER on the activities of the various Einzatsgruppen in the east. These are regular reports, some of which are signed by MUELLER, and cover the period from 1941 through 1942. Extremely valuable material on the Bandenkampf and the role of the SS Sipo.

Number of pages:  4,001

22.A complete listing of pesonnel, telephone numbers, offices, positions, etc. of all the RSHA departments in and outside of Germany for mid-1943.

Number of pages:  93

23.Extensive reporting on partisan activity in Poland and special reportage on the Warsaw rising of 1944.

Number of pages:  156

24.Material from the files of KARL WOLFF  concerning the position of MUSSOLINI under his control, February of 1945. Additional information on possible surrender by WOLFF to the Allies and other occupation material on northern Italy.

Number of pages: 101

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