Monday, June 4, 2018

Dragnet 2018: Not Your Grandfather’s FBI

The word “dragnet” was made famous in the mid-50s by the NBC TV show Dragnet, which featured Sergeant Joe Friday played by Jack Webb (pictured left).
A dragnet is a law enforcement term used to describe coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.
As a matter of principle, the law enforcement arm of the United States government must operate on a presumption of innocence.  A prosecutor should be assigned only if there is strong evidence that a crime has been committed.  In the absence of such evidence, a prosecutor should never be assigned to investigate whether an American may have committed some unknown crime.
What former FBI Director James Comey described in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in March of 2017 and what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later adopted to define Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s jurisdiction was not a criminal investigation or a prosecution nor did it provide a factual basis for either action.
The Obama Administration seized on, perhaps even created, the Russian probe in order to paralyze President Trump─to strangle his capacity to govern─and Obama holdovers in the Justice Department, for more than a year now, have been outrageously public about the existence of a “counterintelligence probe” and the Trump campaign investigation.
When Comey leaked his memos to the press, he knew it would instigate the appointment of a special counsel.
The collusion narrative was spawned by an unverifiable dossier bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton─a fact that was deliberately kept secret from the FISA court when the DOJ and FBI wanted warrants issued.
So far, four former Trump campaign associates─Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and George Papadopoulos─have been charged in Mueller’s inquiry into alleged Russian interference, though none of the charges are directly related to any misconduct by the President's campaign.
Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators during the investigation, and was sentenced to 30 days in prison in April. He was the first to be sentenced in the probe. 
Regarding Papadopoulos, there’s something fishy about the charge filed by Mueller against him according to former top federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy.
“While much that has gone on in the Mueller investigation is curious, I have assumed the candor of the special counsel’s portrayal of the Papadopoulos case:  The young man was approached by an agent of Russia [Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud], who eventually informed him the Kremlin had ‘dirt’ on the Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the form of ‘thousands of emails of Clinton’.  To my mind, then, the only questions involved (a) the nature of Mifsud’s relationship to the Putin regime and (b) whether the emails in question were the hacked DNC emails or the thousands of emails Clinton deleted from her homebrew server.”
[SKIP]
“Remember, there is no allegation that Mifsud actually knew the Russians had Clinton emails, let alone that he ever showed Papadopoulos any such emails.  The claim is that Mifsud was told by unidentified Russian officials that the Kremlin had the emails.”
“So, what happens after Mifsud, allegedly, told Papadopoulos the Russians had these emails?  According to Mueller’s statement of the offence, the following day Papadopoulos sends two emails to high-ranking Trump campaign officials about his meeting with Mifsud and neither one of them says anything about emails.  It appears Papadopoulos was myopically focused on the possibility─farfetched, but apparently real to Papadopoulos─that Mifsud could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.”
McCarthy is no hack.  He is a member of the Federalist Society and a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York, best known for leading the prosecution against the Blind Sheik (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for waging a terrorist war against the United States – including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. After the 9/11 attacks, he supervised the U.S. attorney’s command-post near Ground Zero. He later served as an advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
The mainstream media has weaponized the storyline of Papadopoulos’ meeting with Mifsud as the exchange of information about emails that were hacked from the DNC and published during the 2016 presidential campaign.
McCarthy’s take is:  A very low-level, inexperienced Trump campaign adviser was interacting with a Maltese academic who had no real Kremlin ties and no inside information about whether Russia actually possessed damaging information about Clinton in the form of emails or otherwise.  This young campaign adviser then made a vague claim to an Australian diplomat, who did not hear him say anything about emails and did not report the conversation to his government through regular channels.
McCarthy adamantly asserts that after nearly two years of collusion banter, Congress needs to find the truth regarding whether Mueller’s contention that Mifsud and his associates were authentic agents of Russia or merely that Papadopoulos just thought they were.
NBC’s police drama, Dragnet, depicted law enforcement working methodically to investigate and apprehend criminals.  A gumshoe cop named Sergeant Joe Friday always insisted on “Just the facts, ma’am.”
Until just recently, the FBI’s credo of fidelity, bravery and integrity symbolized the world’s greatest law enforcement agency.  Now, the FBI [Comey, McCabe, Ohr, Strzok, Page] has damaged the constitutional values Americans embrace by picking a front-page fight with Donald J. Trump.
Dragnet 2018, what I prefer to call the Mueller probe, is an out of control investigation that was supposed to be about Russia has been more about money laundering in rug stores and porn stars than about the Kremlin’s meddling in the election.
Partisan forces (Obama holdovers) eager to feed the resistance inside the DOJ and FBI freely crusaded against a legitimately elected President and a lopsided team of Democrat lawyers working with Mueller have turned a mole hill into a mountain. Every conceivable angle has been probed; many of them far removed from Red Square.
Even with all the tools of spy craft, they’ve found nothing.  Nothing.
SEE ALSO:  “The Maltese Phantom of Russiagate” by Lee Smith (Real Clear Investigations)
“The Curious Case of Mr. Downer” by Kim Strassel (The Wall Street Journal)

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