Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew: Insights from colleagues and friends

John Harding’s book, Escape from Paradise – Paperback and Kindle Versions


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Now, available in Kindle and Paperback! Free Kindle if you purchase Paperback. After buying Paperback, go for the free Kindle!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

This includes a commitment from a CPA firm who does tax credit financing in Ireland, a possible location to film, as part of the package needed for investors – along with the CPA firm’s commitment to apply for and finance the tax credits if ThunderBall does shoot in Ireland and what portion of the budget they would provide.
For inquiries, please contact John Harding at jbharding@gmail.com.

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew

The book, Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew, gathers some of the vivid memories of 37 people who have worked or interacted closely with Lee Kuan Yew in some way or other, from the time he was at Raffles College in 1941 right up to his final moments in 2015.
Among these are his 13 Principal Private Secretaries and Special Assistants, and Mdm Yeong Yoon Ying, his Press Secretary of over 20 years. The others include former President S.R. Nathan, Puan Noor Aishah who is the widow of President Yusof Ishak, former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, and friends such as Robert Kuok from his Raffles College days.
Robert Kuok is a Malaysian Chinese business magnate. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $12.2 billion on July 2017, making him the richest person in Malaysia and second richest in Southeast Asia.
Below are some of the observations in the book from Lee Kuan Yew’s good friend Robert Kuok who wrote the opening chapter with a beautiful quote from Lee Kuan Yew, “Come to think of it, finally, it’s only friendship that matters.”

Lee Kuan Yew as a college student:

I did not know Kuan Yew well in school. In fact, his name did not come to my attention until later because he was a non-resident student and lived at home, although I had heard he was brilliant but somewhat aggressive and pugnacious.

He was a striking figure. I was like him physically, but smaller in build. He was about two inches taller than me and also heavier. I had sharp features but his were sharper. He had a compelling and fierce set of eyes, certainly not the eyes of a meek person. He was about three weeks older than me.

One day a friend suggested that I meet Kuan Yew. I was told never to get into an argument with him because he always had to win. To that I replied, “Why would I want to meet him then?”

I was eventually introduced to Kuan Yew. He came across as having a very sharp mind and very strong views on every subject that was being discussed. I think even then he had a clear vision of where he was going. I thought he was also slightly disdainful of people unless he thought you were as smart as him or a very interesting person.

I never had any arguments with Kuan Yew. He was more standoffish than warm but you could sense it was not snobbery. It was because the man had something going on in his mind all the time, probably superior to anything going on in your mind. He just felt there was no point mixing unnecessarily or engaging in small talk.

Among the people at Raffles College was Eddie Barker, who was rather aloof but a gentleman. He was very good-looking, a Gregory Peck type. There was also Maurice Baker, a lovely man and very intellectual. Lee Kuan Yew was certainly among the top ten students at the college, but Kwa Geok Choo, whom he later married, was either No.1 or No.2. Such was the talk among the students.

My dorm was the only one of six dormitories which had a much-used corridor linking College Hall with the cafeteria. I would constantly hear the clickety-clack of women’s shoes outside. The most famous pair of sounds belonged to Geok Choo and her friend, Chua Swee Sim who was the second daughter of Chua Cheng Liat, the founder of the Cycle & Carriage Company. Geok Choo was the taller of the two, and she was the daughter of one of the general managers of OCBC Bank.

On Lee Kuan Yew during the war:

During the war years of 1942-45, I heard Kuan Yew was doing a bit of black-marketing in Singapore, selling second-hand goods such as batteries and retreaded tyres. It was black-marketing because the Japanese Administration had put a tight clamp on almost all activities. We all had to survive.

I was offered a job by Mitsubishi Corp when they decided to open an office in Johore Bahru. I accepted the position and when it opened on 1 August 1942, I was their first local employee. Three years later, on 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender. The next morning, the Japanese managers, eyes all swollen and red, some sniffing into their handkerchiefs, came to the office. They said they would soon have to report to concentration camps and the office would be closed.

One evening after the end of the war, I was invited by a Medical College student to a garden party thrown by a rich and famous elderly widow, Mrs Lee Choon Guan, and asked to bring my girlfriend, Joyce Cheah. This was at the end of 1945 or very early in 1946, after three and a half years of occupation by the Japanese Armed Forces, and so everything was still in a broken-down state. We were all drinking orange juice, beer, at most. I remember Kuan Yew was there and he saw this pretty girl, Joyce, and came around to meet her. He said hello to me but was more struck by Joyce’s beauty and intelligence. I said to myself, “Eh! Eh!” But it was all harmless.

Later I learnt that Kuan Yew had boarded a troopship and travelled to England to study. He eventually settled at Cambridge University from where he graduated with flying colours.

A forthright man:

Kuan Yew achieved a lot and became Prime Minister of Singapore in 1959. He was definitely ruthless. I was close to the action because my brother William, a senior figure in the Malayan Communist Party, felt the heat, although he never directly clashed with him.

Sometime in the late 1960s, something interesting happened which went on for three or four years. Every few months, Kuan Yew would send for me. I would get into my car (the car number would have been earlier supplied to his secretary) and drive up a neat palm-lined driveway to Sri Temasek where he had his office in the Istana grounds. His secretary would greet me and take me to a room where I would sit down, and Kuan Yew would come in shortly. Each time, he wanted my insights into what was going on in Malaysia. He was very forthright and said, “I have an embassy but sometimes I still can’t get at the heart of the truth.” He would ask questions and I would answer. If I knew the answers and felt they would do no harm to Malaysia, the country of my birth, I would give them. We chatted amiably. I never misguided him. If I felt I could not give him an answer, I told him so.

Lee Kuan Yew’s frugal ways:

One day, the request was to stay for lunch. I wasn’t aware that Kuan Yew was so extremely conscious of healthy living until I had lunch with him that day. First, they served soup, not quite four spoons. The soup came with a piece of bread and butter, and I soon realised the bread was very valuable indeed! After the soup came a small piece of fish; after that, a very thin slice of steak. Everything could be eaten in three mouthfuls. And then they brought out the coffee and tea. But thought I had just had my starters! He was very frugal as well as health conscious. I certainly respected him for that.

Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s separation from Malaysia:

I was one of the first to know about the decision to kick Singapore out of Malaysia. I was living in Queen Astrid Park at the time. One night in early August 1965, at about 10.30 p.m., there was a banging on my house gate. “Robert! Robert! It’s Jamal, open up!” “Celaka, what time is it?” I called out. Jamal was the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore. He said he had an important message: Razak would be arriving in Singapore from Kuala Lumpur by an Air Force plane at around 6 a.m. and he wanted to go straight to the Bukit Timah Golf Course for a quick round of golf — and he wanted me to play with him.

After tee off, Razak, who was then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, told Jamal to walk ahead as he had something to say to me. He then related to me what had happened the night before at an UMNO leadership meeting in Kuala Lumpur that had gone on till almost midnight. Some extremists in the UMNO leadership were lobbying for the arrest of Singapore’s leaders, from Kuan Yew all the way down, but he and other moderate leaders managed to swing the meeting around. He said that arresting them was not a solution as one couldn’t keep them in jail forever and they would become political superheroes the day they were released. So they decided the best recourse was to kick Singapore out of the Federation. “I’ve come to deliver the message to Kuan Yew.” I was shocked even though we all saw it coming in some form or shape.

At 4.30 p.m. on Monday, 9 August 1965, Kuan Yew appeared on television and emotionally broke the news to the people of Singapore. It was a very sad and heartbreaking scene.

My reaction at the time was that Kuan Yew, through his brilliant mind and oratorical skills, had riled many UMNO Malays, including Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, because in any debate, you could never match Kuan Yew. At that time, I felt he should have been softer or more diplomatic. But now, I realise that it was a blessing in disguise. The timing was just perfect.

Kuan Yew had a very smart and courageous team around him and they immediately carried out brilliant plans and schemes, quite a few of them provided by some of the best advisors in the world. These included the famous Dutch economist Albert Winsemius as well as colonels, majors and captains from the Israeli Defence Force to build up and train the Singapore army. Singapore leaders had also established strong friendships with Taiwan’s leaders and the Sultan of Brunei.

What we saw happening in Singapore over the next 15 to 20 years was truly amazing. In any other scenario, the continuing animosity between the extremists in UMNO and the political skills of Singapore’s leaders would have led to horrendous consequences.

Lee Kuan Yew and our friendship:

After I moved to Hong Kong, I sort of became Kuan Yew’s second port of call. Run Run Shaw was No.1; my wife Pauline and I, No.2. He liked Pauline and found her simple and earthy ways agreeable.

He and Geok Choo would often come over for dinner. I would get a caterer and offer good food. I would get instructions, of course, that he could not eat this or that. The conversation would be light with interesting  anecdotes, and I would like to  believe they had pleasant evenings dining at our  home.

Kuan Yew and I seldom engaged in super-warm or super-friendly talk. But sometime in 2007 or 2008, he said a very funny thing that touched my heart. We were walking g down from his hotel to the car to go to dinner. Pauline was with Geok Choo in front. He turned to me and said, “Come to think of it, finally, it’s only friendship that matters.” In other words, everything is gone but the only thing left is friendship.

I thought, my God! I am seeing the human side of him! On their last few visits to Hong Kong, Kuan Yew became increasingly warm towards me. He and Geok Choo would stay in our hotel. She was already unwell and because of her vision problem we pasted coloured paper on the walls of their room so that she wouldn’t bump into them. A few years later, I found myself walking with Kuan Yew to make sure he wouldn’t bump into the corridor walls.

Kuan Yew visited me a few times after Geok Choo passed away in October 2010. One thing about him I would say is that he stayed true to one woman his whole life, and that is quite remarkable for a man of those times. He led an exemplary life, a disciplined life. He never womanised or drank to excess. He smoked for a short time, but that was it.

Lee Kuan Yew and his legacy:

About five years ago, in 2010, he wrote me a letter asking for my candid views. He wanted to know why he always found Hong Kong full of business activity and people with strong enterprising spirit. Whenever he visited Hong Kong, he always asked to be taken to some government unit or a home industry where something new was always being invented and he would be totally amazed by what he saw. He asked me to write to him and tell him frankly my views. So I called up my niece, Kay, and asked if I should talk so straight that I hit him in the solar plexus. She said it sounded like that was what he wanted. So I wrote back to him and told him that he had straightjacketed too many of his people in his zeal and impatience to build up Singapore quickly. There was genius in them, but they could not move. I told him to take a pair of scissors and cut them loose.

Kuan Yew had a super Bung-ho style. He was like such a powerful elephant that when he stomped on the ground, all the plants were crushed. But in so doing, he created the miracle called Singapore. Also, because of his great zeal and dedication, Singapore was his obsession, and his attitude and behaviour flowed from that — You harm Singapore, I smash you.

My assessment of Singapore as an outsider is that no one could have achieved what Lee Kuan Yew had achieved for Singapore and for the people of Singapore. Singapore, compared to China, is like a drop of water to a bucket of water. But that does not mean the drop of water is not important.

From the book UP CLOSE with LEE KUAN YEW…

Lesson 101 on WWIII

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller may have been responsible himself for allowing tremendous Russian corruption on U.S. soil to continue—and even intensify—during the Obama administration

The unraveling of US/Russian relations threatens life on earth. These are the consequences of Washington threatening Russia’s security by breaking agreement after agreement, by placing missile bases on Russia’s borders, by orchestrating anti-Russian coups in former Soviet provinces, and by a continuing volley of false accusations against Russia. Yes, and finally Robert Mueller(See Note 1, below), the special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation – which perhaps should be the Clinton-Russia investigation.

There is no act more reckless and irresponsible than to make one nuclear power fear nuclear attack from another.

Alert observers have become aware of the mounting danger. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who worked with President Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, has appealed to President Trump and President Putin to hold a summit meeting and bring an end to the rising tensions. Gorbachev wrote in the Washington Post that “it is far from normal that the presidents of major nuclear powers meet merely on the margins of international gatherings.” This is especially the case as “relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis.”

Gorbachev’s warning could be an understatement. Last March, General Viktor Poznikhir, the deputy commander of the Russian military’s Operation Command expressed concern that Washington could be preparing a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. Had any such statement from the Russian high command been issued anytime during the 20th century Cold War era, the President of the United States would have immediately contacted the Soviet leader and given every assurance that no such plan or intentions toward Russia existed. As far as I can tell, the Trump White House let this ominous announcement pass unremarked. If this is the case, it must have provided confirmation to the Russians’ conclusion.

The entirety of the West, both the US and its vassal states, continue to ignore very clear Russian warnings. Gilbert Doctorow has made the same point.

Perhaps the clearest of all was Putin’s public statement that “Russia will never again fight a war on its own territory.” If Washington’s EU vassals did not hear this clear warning that they are courting their nuclear destruction—especially the Poles and Romanians who have mindlessly hosted US missile bases—they are as deaf as they are stupid.

One Russian official told the idiot British government to its face that if the British threat to first use nuclear weapons is directed at Russia, if such an attempt is made, Great Britain will disappear from the face of the earth.

So why do Washington’s impotent vassals talk tough to Russia, a government that only desires peace and has threatened Britain in no way. Nor has the Russian government threatened France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, or any of the former Eastern European vassals of the Soviet Union that exchanged their captivity to the Soviet Union for captivity to Washington. Russia has not even threatened Ukraine, which Russia could wipe out in a couple of minutes. Why are these countries, apparently led by mindless, gutless two-bit politicians, aligned with Washington’s false propaganda against Russia?

The answer is money—it’s always about the money—always is. The vassals are paid to go along with the lies.

What are the forces driving Washington’s provocation of Russia? There are two forces driving Washington’s provocation or Russia and they comprise a vast conspiracy against life on earth.

1. The Neoconservatives

One is the Neoconservatives. The Neoconservatives were convinced by the Soviet Collapse that History has chosen not the proletariat but American “democratic capitalism” as the socio-politico-economic system for the world, and that this choice by History conveys on America the status of the “indispensable, exceptional” country, a status that places America above all other countries and above international law and, indeed, America’s own laws.

American exceptionalism is a myth, despite its praise by Obama.

American exceptionalism allows the torture of people in total violation of both US law and international law. The government in Washington can, on suspicion alone without presentation to a court of evidence and conviction, confine US citizens indefinitely, torturing them the entire time, and can assassinate them at will without due process of law. This is the definition of a total police state tyranny. Yet Washington represents America as a “great democracy,” whose endless wars against humanity are “bringing democracy to the world.”

American exceptionalism allows the bombing of other countries indiscriminately without officially being at war with those countries.

American exceptionalism allows the separation of powers prescribed in the American Constitution can be totally ignored by the executive branch as, the Neoconservatives claim, the President has “unique powers” not limited by the Constitution, which, of course, is a lie.

Russia, China, and Iran are targets of the Neoconservatives, as were Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and provinces of Pakistan, because these countries have/had independent foreign policies and are/were not Washington’s vassals.

The Neoconservative doctrine states that it is the “principal goal” of US foreign policy “to prevent the rise of Russia or any other state” that can serve as a constraint on Washington’s unilateralism.

2. The “Military-Industrial Complex”

The second interest with incentive to provoke Russia is the US military/security complex. President Eisenhower, a five-star general, warned Americans in 1961 that the “military-industrial complex” was a threat to American democracy. Today the military/security complex is much more than a mere threat to American democracy. It has already taken over the US government and the Trump administration, which is run by generals, and it now threatens all life on earth.

The military/security complex has an annual budget of one thousand billion dollars. This sum is larger than the Gross Domestic Products of all but a handful of countries on earth. Such an immense budget conveying such power desperately needs a dangerous enemy for its justification. Russia has been assigned this role. Given the power of the military/security complex, the role assigned to Russia cannot be mitigated by Russian diplomacy. Moreover, the interests of the military/security complex and the Neoconservatives agree.

Note 1

Robert Mueller who may have been responsible himself for allowing tremendous Russian corruption on U.S. soil to continue—and even intensify—during the Obama administration is now leading the investigation into potential Russian connections involving the man who ran for president against Obama’s legacy. Conflict of interest, much?

In 2015, conservative author Peter Schweitzer published a blistering story in The New York Times uncovering Clinton’s connections to and benefits from the 2010 Uranium One purchase. The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their authorization of that purchase by insisting that there was no evidence any Russians or donors to the Clinton Foundation engaged in wrongdoing. They also argued that there was no national security reason to oppose the Uranium One deal.

According to documents from the FBI, Energy Department, and court proceedings, however, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the Russian overseer of Putin’s U.S. nuclear expansion — was engaged in wrongdoing since 2009.

Mikerin directed Rosatom’s Tenex in Moscow since the early 2000s, and he oversaw Rosatom’s nuclear collaboration with the U.S. under the Megatons to Megawatts program. In 2010, he acquired a U.S. work visa to open Rosatom’s new American arm, Tenam.

According to a November 2014 indictment, Mikerin “did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree with other persons … to obstruct, delay and affect commerce and the movement of an article and commodity (enriched uranium) in commerce by extortion” between 2009 and 2012.

His conduct was discovered with the help of a confidential witness who began making kickback payments at Mikerin’s direction, with the permission of the FBI. The first recorded kickback payment was dated November 27, 2009.

Energy Department Agent David Gadren testified that, “as part of the scheme, Mikerin, with the consent of higher level officials at TENEX and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities) would offer no-bid contracts to US businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money payments made to some offshore banks accounts.”

The investigation was supervised by then-U.S. attorney (and currently President Trump’s deputy attorney general) Rod Rosenstein, then-assistant FBI director (and now deputy FBI director) Andrew McCabe, and then-FBI director Robert Mueller. All three of these men play key roles in the Trump-Russia investigation.

The FBI investigation, kept secret from the American public just when the Obama administration made key international business decisions, also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin signed a contract giving American trucking firm Transport Logistics International the rights to transport Russia’s uranium around the U.S. — in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from executives.

Uncovering and blocking such a massive Russian nuclear bribery scheme would seem like a pivotal success for the DOJ and FBI, but they took little credit for the investigation when Mikerin, the Russian financier, and the trucking firm executives were arrested in 2014.

A full year later, the DOJ put out a press release unveiling the defendants’ plea deals. At that time, the case against Mikerin consisted of a single charge of money laundering for a scheme from 2004 to 2014. Although agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing since 2009, federal prosecutors only cited a handful of transactions in 2011 and 2012 in the plea agreement. These came well after the Uranium One deal.

The final court case also made no mention of the Russian attempts to peddle influence with the Clintons, which the FBI undercover informant witnessed, despite the documents showing millions of dollars sent from Russian nuclear businesses to an American entity connected to the Clinton Foundation.

Only in December 2015 did the Justice Department announce Mikerin’s sentence of 48 months in prison and the forfeiture of more than $2.1 million. The release referred to him as “a former Russian official residing in Maryland.”

Ronald Hosko, then-assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases, told The Hill he did not recall being briefed about Mikerin’s case, despite the criminal charges. “I had no idea this case was being conducted,” he said.

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also told The Hill he had not been briefed about the Russian nuclear corruption case. “Not providing information on a corruption scheme before the Russian uranium deal was approved by U.S. regulators … has served to undermine U.S. national security interests by the very people charged with protecting them,” Rogers said.

Considering such a scandal, it seems particularly damning that members of the intelligence community have been shamelessly leaking allegations against Donald Trump involving potential Russian connections. Every story in this direction turns out to be a dead end.

Most recently, the Russian-backed Facebook ads turned out not only to support Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter, but to have a tiny impact on the election as a whole. In fact, Democrat senators like Richard Blumenthal made fools of themselves in a fruitless attempt to pin these ads on the Trump campaign.

Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that the Obama administration wiretapped key leaders in the Trump campaign, most notably Paul Manafort.

The real Russia scandal has been a Clinton scandal, from 2010 onward—and now, in a darkly ironic twist of fate, it involves the very former FBI director responsible for investigating that elusive “collusion” between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. It seems the Left’s attempts to hide their own corruption by pinning it on Trump may be coming to an end.

Glenn Simpson, Grilled by FBI on Million Dollar Dossier

The dirty dealers behind the

The dirty dealers behind the “Dossier”

Simpson, who will appear in a closed session on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, hired the former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to compile the fake news dossier, which alleged that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents to damage Hillary Clinton.

Republicans in Congress are stepping up their efforts to uncover the Democratic and Republican funders of and sources for the infamous dossier and its unverified claims.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has made it clear that Simpson’s work has landed Simpson in the crosshairs.

“We will also pursue details about Mr. Simpson’s role in this event and the creation and circulation of the dossier that started this whole controversy,” Grassley said in a hearing in July.

As a reporter, Simpson specialized in coverage of money laundering and Russian organized crime. Back in 2016, he explained that he started Fusion GPS after leaving journalism because he thought his investigative skills would be valuable to a range of wealthy clients and he could make a fortune. Simpson said. “I call it journalism for rent.”

The 35-page dossier, which included a series of salacious allegations, was completed shortly before the presidential election. When BuzzFeed obtained and published the document in January 2017, little more than a week before of Trump’s inauguration, Simpson was outraged.

Simpson isn’t the only person who could face questions about dossier’s production. Lawmakers also want to talk to Steele, and a recent U.S. court ruling in a related case could compel him to comply.

Lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech mogul who was named in the dossier, were recently granted approval by Judge Ursula Ungaro of U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida to seek British approval to question Steele under oath as part of Gubarev’s libel suit against BuzzFeed.

“I have to ask myself, ‘What is it that they’re hiding?’” said Valentin Gurvits, Gubarev’s attorney. “To me, it is a very strange situation.”

According to people briefed on the developments, Steele has recently been questioned by the FBI and provided agents with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.

It is unclear how much information lawmakers will be able to obtain from Simpson this week. Attorneys for Fusion GPS, in desperation, have indicated to the committee that its client relationships are confidential—it should be very doubtful that the committee (or the FBI) will agree, unless of course they too have been corrupted.

Here is your copy of the BuzzFeed dossier—click!

December 12, 2017 update:

A senior Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed. Bruce G. Ohr’s wife, Nellie H. Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election and she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016. The FBI really is in tatters.

September 3, 2017 update:

Finally! Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation — the now infamous Trump dossier. But the FBI doesn’t want those officials to talk — even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

This began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey’s chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau’s national security branch. “The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” the chairman and ranking member wrote. “Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017.”

https://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/aaeaaqaaaaaaaajpaaaajgqxmde5ytuylte4mtutnda1yy1hotaxlwzhnmfmnzdkm2q0zq.jpg?quality=65&strip=all&strip=all

Comey’s guy, James Rybicki from the Swamp!

It didn’t happen because, on July 27, Samuel Ramer, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote to say that Rybicki and Ghattas would not be talking. Why? Because, with the Mueller investigation, Ramer said, “Under these circumstances and consistent with the department’s long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters, the department cannot make Mr. Ghattas or Mr. Rybicki available for transcribed interviews at this time.”

Grassley and Feinstein did not agree and Grassley and Feinstein wrote another letter, this time to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“The department declined to make Mr. Ghattas and Mr. Rybicki available for interviews because of pending matters and their current work on those matters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote. “However, in our de-confliction discussions with the Special Counsel’s office, we have clarified that the committee intends to limit the scope of the interviews to avoid that concern. There is no intent to seek information about these witnesses’ current work with the Special Counsel’s office. Rather, we seek their independent recollections, as fact witnesses, of events that occurred before and including Director Comey’s removal.”

The two lawmakers asked the Justice Department to get in touch by September 1 to schedule the interviews, but September 1 came and went with no department effort to set up the interviews.

Now, it is not clear what is next. Grassley and Feinstein appear to be determined to talk to Rybicki and Ghattas. It is obvious that both men know a lot about what went on in the FBI in the last couple of years. As far as the Trump dossier specifically is concerned, they could be able to shed light on the FBI’s reported decision in October 2016 to pay a lot of money for work on the dossier, which at the time was an anti-Trump opposition research project funded by Clinton donors. Grassley has said that decision “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

James Rybicki has been hot in the news in the last few days. He was one of the FBI officials cited in a letter from Grassley and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggesting that Comey may have decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the email investigation even before Clinton and more than a dozen other witnesses were even grilled by the FBI.

Now Grassley and Feinstein want to know what the swamp guys, Rybicki and Ghattas, know about the fake dossier—but first, they’ll have to get past the Justice Department’s determination to keep such damaging things secret. Anything to protect the Swamp!

Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016

Since April 2016, Obama’s campaign organization has paid nearly a million dollars to the law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier to compile a dossier of unverified allegations against Donald Trump.

The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been verified.

OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified and hidden only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.
FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.

Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016. The money was just piling in for the discredited Steele dossier.

According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.

At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were all simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing of the White House (and passing information to the Russians?). It was Shailagh Jane Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, who was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Shailagh Jane Murray is an American political aide and former journalist who served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Shailagh Jane Murray

Washington Post photo of Murray, Biden, and a member of the Swamp enjoying themselves

Murray previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Vice President Joe Biden as well—talk about a well connected mole. Murray is also married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016. While at the Wall Street Journal, King worked alongside Fusion GPS’s core team, even sharing bylines with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS executive who personally hired Steele to probe Trump’s alleged Russia connections. The gang was and is very well placed and intertwined.

Digging into the Details

The sordid history of the dossier began when the Washington Free Beacon, a neocon website, engaged a firm of researchers called Fusion GPS to dive into Trump’s personal and professional life – and take him out.

A spinoff of Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard, the Beacon is run by his son-in-law. And its Daddy Warbucks is the GOP oligarch and hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer.

From October 2015 to May 2016, Fusion GPS dug up dirt for the neocons and never-Trumpers. By May, however, Trump had routed all rivals and was the certain Republican nominee.

So, the Beacon bailed, and Fusion GPS found two new cash cows to finance its work – the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

To keep the sordid business at arm’s length, both DNC and the Clintons engaged the party’s law firm of Perkins Coie. Paid $12.4 million by the DNC and Clinton campaign, Perkins used part of this cash hoard to pay Fusion GPS.

In June 2016, Fusion GPS engaged a retired British spy, Christopher Steele, who had headed up the Russia desk at MI6, to ferret out any connections between Trump and Russia.

Steele began contacting old acquaintances in the FSB, the Russian intelligence service. And the Russians began to feed him astonishing dirt on Trump that could, if substantiated, kill his candidacy.

Steele’s final product, a 35-page dossier, has been described as full of “unsubstantiated and salacious allegations.”

Steele’s research, however, had also made its way to James Comey’s FBI, and Comey was apparently so taken with it that the bureau considered paying Steele to continue his work.

The questions begin to pile up.

What was the FBI’s relationship with the British spy who was so wired into Russian intelligence?

Did the FBI use the information Steele dug up to expand its own investigation of Russia-Trump “collusion”? Did the FBI pass what Steele unearthed to the White House and the National Security Council?

Did the Obama administration use the information from the Steele dossier to justify unmasking the names of Trump officials who had been picked up on legitimate electronic intercepts?

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claimed they did not know that Perkins Coie had enlisted Fusion GPA or the British spy to dig up dirt on Trump.

Yet, when Podesta testified, of all people the lawyer sitting right beside Podesta in the committee room was Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, who had engaged Fusion GPS and received the fruits of Steele’s undercover work.

Thus, we have Free Beacon neocons, never-Trump Republicans, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the DNC, a British spy and comrades in Russian intelligence, and the FBI, all working with secret money and seedy individuals to destroy a candidate they could not defeat in a free election.

The real indictment here should be of the American political system, truly the swamp, which wages its political battles while doing little or nothing for the American people.

Joel Osteen’s Scam?

Joel Osteen is a major evangelist and very knowledgeable not just in his own religion, Christianity, but in other religions and philosophies, as well.

Osteen’s father, a former Southern Baptist pastor, founded Lakewood Church, of which Osteen is the current senior pastor. Osteen attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he studied radio and television communications, but did not graduate and did not receive a degree from a divinity school. In 1982, he returned to Houston and founded Lakewood’s television program, where he produced his father’s televised sermons for 17 years until January 1999, when his father died unexpectedly from a heart attack.

Two weeks after his father’s death, Osteen began preaching regularly and later that year was installed as the new senior pastor of Lakewood Church on October 3, 1999. Since then, Lakewood’s attendance has grown from 5,000 to 43,000. Joel Olsteen is a successful hard-working pastor to a rapidly growing congregation.

So it was when I had seen an advertisement on the Internet touting a skin cream sold by Olsteen’s wife, Victoria, I thought it had to be a pretty good deal—especially at the introductory price of $4.95 for the skin-care cream, and a $5.95 jar of the same with free shipping. What could be wrong with that—plenty! I took out my credit card and bought both.

Several days later I received a telephone call that my order needed something else to be processed. Thinking this was just an attempt to sell me more of the product, I declined and hung up. I received several calls of this nature. Each time, I hung up.

About a week  later, the product arrived, an applicator of Nuavive derma Anti-Aging Serum and a jar of Nuavive derma Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

And then, about ten days later, two charges appeared on my credit card $89.47 and $97.45! These were from the same two outfits, Tryhealth HUBBARD OH and FIT*SKINCARETRIALPROD NORTH LAS VEG NV.

I had been scammed!

Immediately, I called my credit card provider, who took my information and advised me to send it to the, as well, in an email.

Here is the email I sent them.

Dear Sir/Madam:
My name is John Harding
Reference number: 5235508003
Claim number: 3539686

Credit Card No: xxxx xxxx xxxx xx75

I am disputing the following charges:

08/04/17 Tryhealth8446787511 HUBBARD OH                           -89.47
08/04/17 FIT*SKINCARETRIALPROD NORTH LAS VEG NV            -94.57
07/22/17 FIT*SKINCARETRIALPROD NORTH LAS VEG NV              -4.95
07/21/17 Tryhealth8446787511 HUBBARD OH                             -5.95
(See also graphic, below)

The reason for my dispute

The reason I am disputing these charges is that, in response to an Internet advertisement
under the name of Joel Osteen and his wife the Nuavive anti-aging products were advertising.
Now my card has been billed by the same vendors for 89.47 and 94.57 leaving only 11.81 on my
card.

The mechanics

After placing my order, I received numerous telephone calls that my order had not been completed
and there were additional steps I had to take to receive the product. I ignored these telephone
calls as I thought they were a scam, as I was sure I had completed the order correctly.

Today, I noticed two substantial charges on my PayPal card, listed above for 89.47 and 94.57 from
the same two outfits involved in my first order. So far the initial orders for 4.95 and 5.95 have been
collected. The 08/04/17 orders are pending.

Amounts collected

The amounts collected are:

07/22/17 FIT*SKINCARETRIALPROD NORTH LAS VEG NV              -4.95
07/21/17 Tryhealth8446787511 HUBBARD OH                             -5.95

==========================================================

I understand, that as a result of this dispute that my card will be cancelled and that
a new card is being sent to me.

Here is a are similar scams also attributed to the Osteens. I guess they change the “product” name frequently:
https://www.piop.net/victor-osteen-anti-aging-wrinkle-skin-care/
https://www.piop.net/tag/victoria-osteen-anti-aging/

Regards,
John Harding

All the charges for the products were removed from my credit card, the card was canceled and a new one is on the way.
I also sent an email to the Osteens at info@joelosteen.com. They never responded, which doesn’t look good, especially since similar ads with a slight change in the product are running, just like the one below. (When I saw the Osteen’s ad, it bore a strange similarity of an ad by my favorite TV couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines – see their ad, below.)
Who are the scammers, here—the Osteens, the Gaines, both, or some other outfit preying on their names?

Numbers Don’t Lie! Victoria’s Fortune Worth More Than Joel’s

(ET, ) – She’s famously known as Joel Osteen’s wife from the largest church in North America, Lakewood Church, but Victoria Osteen has proven she’s a savvy businesswoman in her own right.

She may only be 55 but it turns out that Victoria Osteen is running one of the highest-earning companies in the country.

The beautiful blonde secretly launched a skincare company last year and has kept quiet about her successful stint as CEO.

Victoria admits she purposely avoided publicly announcing her business because she wanted to make sure the company could stand on its own two feet.

“I was worried people would just associate it with my family’s famous church and I felt as though that was be a huge disservice to the company. The products we produce really are life-changing and they deserve to be recognized on their own merit,” Victoria explained.

The product she’s talking about is the Skin Novella which has taken the world by storm.

The product is repeatedly selling out within minutes and Victoria says her number one struggle as CEO is sourcing enough products to be able to adequately service the demand.

Victoria revealed that Oprah is an avid fan of her anti-aging line

“We’re forever selling out. Whether its in stores or online, whenever we re-stock our customers buy out all the products within minutes.”

The scintillating success hasn’t come easy and Victoria admits she spent years of hard work behind the scenes perfecting the products.

“I wanted to be able to offer the public a healthy and safe alternative to plastic surgery. Not only is plastic surgery a very risky option, but it’s also not financially achievable for many Americans.”

Victoria says she was determined to create topical treatments that people could apply in the comfort of their own homes, that would boost their self-esteem and help them feel good about themselves.

It appears as though her products have done just that, with numerous celebrities jumping on board and singing Skin Novella’s praises.

“I use the Skin Novella myself and a few of my friends started asking me what was responsible for the huge change in my skin. Word started spreading that way and before I knew it, we had amassed a huge celebrity clientele.”

CELEBRITIES LOVE Skin Novella

“It’s no secret that I’m getting older, but everyone has been commenting about how great my skin is. It’s still so smooth and wrinkle-free, it’s the main reason people can’t guess my real age. But I owe it all to Skin Novella. I had noticed fine lines creeping in but thanks to Skin Novella I was able to erase them within weeks.” – Wendi Deng
“I put a lot of effort into my appearance and I’ve experimented with so many skincare products that I’ve lost count. But I can safely say nothing works as well as Skin Novella! Since I’ve started using Skin Novella I don’t even bother with any other skincare products. This does it all.” – Kenya Moore
“I don’t wear a lot of makeup and I have Skin Novella to thank for that. It has improved my skin in such a short amount of time that I can barely believe it when I look in the mirror. I love the condition of my skin now and I hate hiding it behind thick makeup. It’s not uncommon for me to rarely wear makeup these days.” – Chelsea Clinton
“How terrible is getting old? I hate seeing the deep creases around my eyes and no matter how much concealer I slathered on my face, it only seemed to emphasize my wrinkles even more. Victoria invited me to try Skin Novella and wow – what a difference it has made. My wrinkles seem to have faded away already.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter
“As a mother I don’t have much time to dedicate to extensive skincare routines, that’s why I love Skin Novella so much. It takes just three minutes each day and my skin is so grateful for it. My skin has honestly never looked this beautiful and glowy!” – Georgina Bloomberg

FIND OUT WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT

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Find out what all the hype is about!

For a limited time you can purchase the Skin Novella for the low price of just $4.95.

Skin Novella is giving away samples of the Skin Novella for FREE and all you have to pay is the discounted shipping rate of $4.95.

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This offer is for a limited time only so follow the link below and secure your free sample today.

READER RESULTS

Lacey Johnson, age 53 submitted this photo of her results with Skin Novella. You look great, Lacey!

“The Skin Novella is the absolute best wrinkle removing product I’ve ever used. I thought my days of looking young were long gone. I can’t thank you enough for this!”

Lacey Johnson
New York, NY

BEFORE & AFTER

“I’ve been trying to get rid of my eye bags for almost 10 years. Skin Novella got rid of them in a week. Thanks so much!”

Andrea Spender
Austin, TX

BEFORE & AFTER

“For the first time in forever I am finally happy when I look in the mirror every morning. I haven’t felt this confident in decades!”

Kelly McKay
Philadelphia, PA

BEFORE & AFTER

“Thank God I didn’t go through with that face lift… I got the same results, for less than a cup of coffee!”

Christina Novotney
Seattle, WA

BEFORE & AFTER

“Ive only been using the Skin Novella cream for 2 weeks, and I love it!!!!!!!! I have seen a visible change in my skin, best of all my husband complimented me on my skin after just 2 weeks!!!!! He thought I had foundation on, and I did’nt that is just fabulous!!!!!!!!”

Carol Keeton
Denver, CO

BEFORE & AFTER

“I have been using Skin Novella and I am incredibly impressed with the results! My skin is brighter and it is very apparent that my skin is more hydrated and dewy.”

Briana Smith
Houston, TX

BEFORE & AFTER

“YES!! Finally, I have found a skin care range that works. At 56 years old this is the first time I’ve had products that work for me.”

Angie Clayton
Miami, FL

Special Offer
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Expires on

Ratings Stunt Backfires, HGTV Will Ruin Fixer Upper Show

(PEOPLE) – It all started late last November when Joanna Gaines, host of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, signed a deal with Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner. The deal states that Joanna’s New Cosmetics Line will be picked up and promoted by the shopping channel QVC. Joanna is very proud of her line. She has been quoted as saying, “This is more than just a beauty line. This is what every woman has been dreaming of for most of her adult life.”

The problem is: HGTV and QVC are rival competitors. There is a clause in Joanna’s HGTV contract that clearly says she is forbidden from promoting or doing business with any other channel or media company. It was later discovered that not even her husband, Chip, knew what she was constructing in the background. When her hidden secret surfaced, it caused a rift in their marriage.Because of this, HGTV has decided to let him carry on the show by himself, without her.

The decision doesn’t seem to bother Joanna at all. She says the show was just a stepping stone to her real dream; which is running her beauty line. When the executives at HGTV discovered she has no intention of canning her cosmetics business, they fired back with a law suit. The law suit claims that she is contractually obligated to request permission of the network before she can start any new business. In response, Gaines has filed a counter suit. She says the only reason HGTV is giving her a hard time is because her Secret Allure really works, and they want to own a portion of her company.

What Is Her Beauty Product And What Does It Do?.

We were able to do a little snooping and found out what this mystery line was all about. The company is called Secret Allure and it is a cutting-edge Wrinkle Reducer And Anti-Aging Serum. Her product line is becoming so popular, even top beauty experts such as Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan are singing Secret Allure’s praises.

“Something was just telling me this is the next chapter of my life.” Joanna said in a recent interview. She continued, “There are lots of skin products out there that didn’t work for me… So, I got some of the world’s leading skin experts together to create Secret Allure. And this one actually works. I truly feel like the show was holding me back from realizing my true potential. But my new path feels right.”

But What About Chip?

Chip is such a great husband that he’s decided to decline HGTV’s offer to do the show by himself. Instead he’s opted to work alongside wife and become the director of operations at her new company.

Since her secret has been leaked to the public, Joanna has decided to break ties with QVC and focus on promoting Secret Allure herself.

We asked Joanna if she could provide coupons that would allow our loyal readers to try Secret Allure at a discount. Her response was better than we could have imagined. Joanna went a step further by agreeing to give 150 of our readers a supply of Secret Allure absolutely Free!

Gaines said she is certain her magical face cream will work wonders for anyone who tries it. And she is so certain, that she is willing to let you try it for free.

So We Decided To Put Her Rising Product To The Test

Our interns sent out a companywide email asking both men and women if they’d like to try Secret Allure for our test. Some wanted to try it, some wanted to see how it worked for other people first. However, nobody wanted to be the first to try it… Except one brave soul. Brenda Talarico, our 54-year-old Senior Editor. She volunteered to go first and give this magical elixir a shot.

Here Are Brenda’s Results:

Day Seven:

“It’s just the seventh day and I could already see a big difference. Within seconds my loose, saggy skin began to tighten and firm up. I could literally feel the difference as soon as I put it on. It was a slight tingle, but nothing over-powering. To be honest it was actually kind of soothing and therapeutic. My husband even took notice, he said I look just like I did when we met 25 years ago! I’m already in love with Secret Allure and it’s just day one… Let’s see how tomorrow goes…”

Day Fourteen:

After five days of using Secret Allure, I was shocked at the drastic results.

“Within my first 10 days of using Secret Allure, I was a total believer. Now it’s day 14 and I’m still seeing my appearance improve daily. I used to have blotchy, dry skin… But now my skin-tone is even, and moisturized. Those yucky fine-lines and dark circles under my eyes are beginning to vanish too. My results haven’t stopped yet, so I’m going to keep going and see how young I can truly look.”

Day Thirty:

“This is incredible! I ran into an old friend from college and she told me I look exactly the same as I did back then… She went on to ask me which plastic surgeon I used. I explained to her that I didn’t have any cosmetic surgery done, but she didn’t believe me… I had to show her my bottle of Secret Allure just to prove it to her. Wow! This stuff is truly amazing. Words can’t even begin to describe.”

Brenda’s Final Thoughts:

“I’m only 54 and had already given up skin products… I was convinced that none of them worked… However, I must admit; Secret Allure has proved me wrong… It has truly improved the texture of my skin dramatically. The dark spots have all disappeared and the puffy bags under my eyes have been deflated. I’m so glad I put my skepticism to the side and decided to give this amazing face saver a try. – Brenda Talarico, Senior Editor – PEOPLE Magazine

The Verdict:

Using the Secret Allure system has removed over 87% of Brenda’s fine lines and wrinkles. It has also tightened and smoothed out the skin on her face and neck. All while removing the sagging, aging, and dehydration from her skin

Here’s How It Works:

Decades worth of sound science has been used to develop Secret Allure. This incredible face cream contains high concentrations of Proprietary Biosphere and QuSome, which are well known for their age defying properties. This topical treatment also contains Dermaxyl (better known as a facelift in a jar), and Ester-C (an active anti-aging compound in Biosphere). When these ingredients combine, wrinkles and fine lines stand absolutely no chance whatsoever.

But Will This Work For You?

The short answer is yes. We asked Joanna if Secret Allure will work for anybody, and here is what she had to say. “If you have a face, and your face has skin, Secret Allure will work for you. Guaranteed. It doesn’t matter your skin type, skin condition, race, or age. Secret Allure was created with everybody in mind. As a mixed-race person, that was the first thing I made sure of.” – Joanna Gaines

NOTE: In order to achieve the best results, you have to use the entire Secret Allure system for a minimum of 30 days.

There are less than 150 free bottles of Secret Allure left, so act now in order to claim yours.

(*EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR OUR READERS*)

Note: Brenda used both Secret Allure to erase her wrinkles, we suggest to use both products together to get the best results possible.

Update: Only A Few Trials Still Available. Free Trial Promotion Ends:

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Take advantage of our exclusive link and pay only $ 4.95 for shipping!
Risk FREE Trial!

 

Debt – the Death of America?

John McCain

The Senate failed again to pass even a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare after three senators defected (one of whom, McCain, who lost his presidential election, out of jealousy against Trump’s winning.)

The new (and now fired) White House communications director, Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, called President Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, a “paranoid schizophrenic.”

He also said he would “fire everybody” in the communications office, adding that some of the reporting on the infighting going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. offended him “as a Roman Catholic.”

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill – with only three brave votes to the contrary – calling for Russia to bend over so it could be properly caned. This punishment was called for, it said, in response to two offenses.

First, because Russia tampered with U.S. elections (unproven and most certainly untrue). It is virtually impossible to identify a hacker, based only on information from the server. It looks as though this was an inside job at the DNC, possibly done by (or by someone like) Pakistani Imran Awan. Awan was a shady I.T. staffer who worked at the DNC and for many politicians in the Democratic Party and he had a habit of copying his clients computer files onto his hard drive (which he could have sent to Wikileaks). He was fired by Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz just recently, and was arrested when trying to flee the country while under criminal investigation. Awan’s wife and other family members did escape with much of the $4 million he was paid by the DNC for his “services.”

Second, because Russia meddled in Ukraine, thus interfering with U.S. meddling in the Ukraine (and just about every country in the world).

Finally, Fed Chief Janet Yellen said she was still thinking about getting monetary policy back to normal, implying there may be another rate hike coming in December (bad for bonds and interest rates on consumer debt).

There is no hope of reining in domestic spending because the Republicans are also at war with themselves and with the White House.

And the only thing that Democrats and Republicans are not at war about is that Putin is a devil, and we should be at war with him, too!

But amid the bombast and concussion grenades, there was one thing the president did that seems worthy of praise. He said the U.S. would cease supporting rebel groups in Syria. Contrary to what McCain believes, there are no good Arab-world rebels.

This immediately drew fire from the mainstream media (particularly Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post) for playing into Putin’s hands (Bezos had better watch out here as Trump my counter with an anti-trust action).

The stock market seems to take the headlines as stocks keep rising (but watch out for bonds) again yesterday.

No matter how preposterous or clownish Washington becomes, it doesn’t seem to cause much worry on Wall Street. The fix is in. It is business as usual… and the big money knows it.

Central bankers in Europe, Japan, China, and Britain are putting cash in front of them. And the Fed has their backs. What could go wrong?

The only thing we know about federally controlled medical spending is that if we had single-payer Medicare for all medical spending would drop radically – but the insurance and drug lobbies would never permit that. Consequently, we are not going to catch up costwise with those countries that have single-payer healthcare.

Lobbyists are a way for the elites to increase their power, status, and wealth… at the expense of the ordinary civilians who pay for it, one way or another.

Today, the ordinary U.S. citizen can only watch the circus in Washington… but is forced to sell himself into debt slavery just to maintain his standard of living. He gets student loans to get through college, believing this will increase his income later on – which it does not.

Then, with no ready cash available, he must get credit cards, auto loans, and housing loans to finance his adult life.

Now, his debt is higher than ever. He is doomed to a life of debt service payments, cradle to grave. It is so true that “debt is the currency of the poor.”

And while he is borrowing to support himself, his government is borrowing, too – in his name…

In 1971, when the present fake-money system was put in place, total U.S. government debt was less than $400 billion.

It didn’t hit $1 trillion until the first year of the Reagan administration, 10 years later. By the end of the George W. Bush years, in 2008, it reached $10 trillion thanks to Bush’s war against Iraq – based on FAKE NEWS from the CIA.

Now, at $20 trillion, it is pretty obvious where this leads. The line curves upward… empires of debt or of conquest creak and grow old… then the system breaks down.

Both are win-lose deals. Specific people, industries, and lobbyists benefit. The public pays (usually not even realizing how).

The U.S. can still afford to pay the interest on the $20 trillion debt. However, when interest rates rise to, say, 6% (and they will) the U.S. will have to pay $1.2 trillion interest on that debt. At that point the U.S. government will have to pay its entire budget only on interest (forget Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, etc.) – we will have to default on our national debt. Defaulting on the national debt will hurt the major holders of that debt – which, surprisingly, are not the Chinese, but the U.S. elites – the so-called “one percenters.”

However, with credit gone, the main victims will be our typical citizens, which is, for practical purposes, all of us.

If you have the courage, just take a look at the U.S. Debt Clock.

Singapore’s 1st Family’s Ugly Fight

Singapore is a wonderful country, but, economically, not quite what it used to be. Singapore’s growth rate is expected to grow between 1 and 3% for 2017, with growth likely to come in higher than 2% “barring the materialization of downside risks”, cautions Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. This is an improvement over Singapore’s 2016 growth rate of only 1.7%. However, even at 2%, Singapore has fallen far short of its economic growth of the past. Under Goh Chok Tong, the Prime Minister of Singapore from 1990 to 2004, Singapore experienced high growth rates. Growth was 7 to 8 percent until the mid 1990s.

Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Wei Ling

Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Wei Ling

Now, with a “mature” growth rate in the area of 2% similar to the United States, Singapore is facing a major problem with a battle raging in its ruling family—the Lees. This battle pitches current Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong against his brother, Lee Hsien Yang and sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling. These are the three offspring of Singapore’s founder, Lee Kuan Yew, who died on March 23, 2015.

LKY House 38 Oxley

LKY House 38 Oxley Road

In his last will, Lee Kuan Yew, declared that he wanted the family bungalow demolished after his death, but his three children have fallen out regarding this instruction. Lee Hsien Loong has expressed “grave concerns about the events surrounding the making of the Last Will”, and favors preserving the house. His siblings want the home demolished, and have accused the prime minister of seeking to use the home as a monument to enhance his political capital.

Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has revealed he is “being forced to leave the country” amid a dispute over the future of the family home of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road.

“I am looking to move on and wake up from what feels almost like an Orwellian nightmare. The cabinet has just put out a note and talked about some of the things. What is the cabinet committee doing on 38 Oxley Road notwithstanding our settlement with Loong? Why is there even a Cabinet committee when PM Lee (Hsien Loong) had announced in Parliament that so long as (Hsien Yang’s younger sister) Wei Ling is living there, nothing needs to be done? Why when the Government says the government of the day will decide when Lee Wei Ling is no longer (living there) … is the Government of today convening this Cabinet committee?”

This is a most embarrassing incident for a nation that has come so far.

On 14 June 2017 Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Loong’s sister, responded on Facebook to the general public.

“I am out of Singapore, with erratic and slow internet connection. The article that appeared in the Singapore press gave PM’s version of the story. Our letter was carefully vetted by our lawyers and obviously not in my own voice.
My American friend who is the tour leader of my Scottish island holiday thought it a family quarrel. If it were merely a family affair, we would not have taken it public. The main message is not Hsien Yang & I fearing what PM will do to us. The most important point I want to put across is if PM can misuse his official power to abuse his siblings who can fight back, what else can he do to ordinary citizens. But our lawyer edited that main message out, and as Hsien Yang got most of the bullying, he could not help but allow his emotion to be expressed in the press statement. That is what led my American friend to conclude that it is a family quarrel.
38 Oxley Road was bought by my parents, it is for them to decide what its fate is. My Father (Lee Kuan Yew) had told us, his children, repeatedly, that being family property, there is no need to donate to charity if Oxley were sold. Hsien Loong, as a condition for selling the house to Hsien Yang, and in his attempt to punish Hsien Yang for blocking what he wants to do with the house, stipulated that in addition to paying Hsien Loong the market value of the house, he must also donate 50% of that value to charity.
Hsien Loong and Ho Ching are finally showing their true colours. I think these Colours show them unsuitable as PM and most certainly as PM’s wife of Singapore.”

PM Lee’s Statutory Declaration Regarding the Property

1. Mr Lee Kuan Yew (“Mr Lee”) made six wills before his last will of 17 December 2013 (the “Last Will”). All the wills, save for the Last Will, were prepared by Ms Kwa Kim Li (“KKL”).

2. I learnt about the contents of the Last Will only on 12 April 2015, when the Last Will was read to the family. I saw copies of the six wills preceding the Last Will only in June 2015, when KKL provided the family with the same. Only then was I able to review and compare the terms and changes between those wills and the Last Will.

3. The Demolition Clause first appeared in Mr Lee’s first will made on 20 August 2011 (the “First Will”).

4. Mr Lee gave instructions to remove the Demolition Clause, and it was removed, from the penultimate two wills (the “Fifth Will” and “Sixth Will”). However, it somehow found its way back into the Last Will.

5. The Demolition Clause in the Last Will is now being used by Dr Lee Wei Ling (“LWL”) and Mr Lee Hsien Yang (“LHY”) to claim that Mr Lee was firm in his wish that the house at 38 Oxley Road (the “House”) be demolished, and that he was not prepared to accept its preservation or contemplate options short of demolition. There is no basis for these claims, not least because of the deeply troubling circumstances concerning the making of the Last Will.

6. In setting out these circumstances, I will refer only to objective facts and contemporaneous documents, some of which I learnt of only later.

7. Under the First Will, Mr Lee gave each child an equal share of his estate (the “Estate”). However, under the Sixth Will made on 2 November 2012, Mr Lee gave LWL an extra share (relative to LHY and me), and he told LWL about this.

8. As I only later learnt, this issue became the subject of discussion between LHY and Mr Lee in late 2013 and on 16 December 2013 at 7.08 pm, LHY’s wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern (“LSF”) sent an email to Mr Lee, copied to LHY and KKL (“LSF’s Email”), stating:

“Dear Pa Pa,

This was the original agreed Will which ensures that all 3 children receive equal shares, taking into account the relative valuations (as at the date of demise) of the properties each receives.

Kim Li
Grateful if you could please engross.”

LSF appeared to have attached a file named to that email.

9. It would appear from that email that those discussions resulted in Mr Lee deciding to revert to his earlier decision to give each child an equal share in the Estate.

10. A mere 23 minutes after this email was sent, at 7.31 pm, LHY replied to LSF’s Email removing KKL as an addressee and adding Ms Wong Lin Hoe (“WLH”), who was Mr Lee’s Private Secretary, in the “cc” field. In that email, LHY told Mr Lee:

“Pa
I couldn’t get in touch with Kim Li.
I believe she is away.
I don’t think it is wise to wait till she is back.
I think all you need is a witness to sign the will.
Fern can get one of her partners to come round with an engrossed copy of the will to execute and witness.
They can coordinate it with Lin Hoe for a convenient time.”

11. KKL had prepared all of Mr Lee’s previous wills. It is unclear what efforts LHY or LSF had made to get in touch with KKL when LHY told Mr Lee on 16 December 2013 that he could not get in touch with KKL and that it was not wise to wait till KKL got back to change his will. In fact, KKL subsequently told LSF (the following afternoon, when she learnt what had happened) that she did not seem to have received LSF’s Email. It is also not clear why LHY thought that there was an urgency to the matter. It is however interesting that he suggested that his wife, clearly an interested party, and her partners would prepare the new will.

12. At 8.12 pm, before any response from Mr Lee, LSF sent an email to WLH, copied to LHY and her fellow lawyer from her law firm (Stamford Law Corporation as it then was; now Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC), one Mr Bernard Lui (“BL”), to inform WLH that BL had the will ready for execution and that WLH could reach BL directly to make arrangements for the signing of the will. So, in the space of 41 minutes, LSF saw to the preparation of the new will and got one of her lawyers to be on standby to get it executed by Mr Lee.

13. Mr Lee replied to LHY’s email at 9.42 pm. In view of LHY’s representation that he could not contact KKL, and of the urgency of the matter, Mr Lee acquiesced to LHY’s suggestion not to wait for KKL and agreed with LHY’s suggestion to sign the new will.

14. The very next morning, LSF sent two lawyers from Stamford Law Corporation to be at 38 Oxley Road to procure Mr Lee’s signature on the Last Will. The two lawyers, BL and one Ms Elizabeth Kong (“EK”), arrived at 38 Oxley Road at 11.05 am on 17 December 2013. They left at 11.20 am. They were present at 38 Oxley Road for 15 minutes only, including the time for logging into and out from the property. The time taken to execute the Last Will would have been even less. They plainly came only to witness Mr Lee signing the Last Will and not to advise him.

15. In the afternoon of 17 December 2013, WLH sent an email to Mr Lee stating “We have received a faxed copy of the signed document for Mr Lee to re-read in the office”. This email was curious because WLH was not present when Mr Lee signed the Last Will and could not have known whether he had read it in the first place. WLH sent this email after receiving a fax copy of the signed will. There is nothing to suggest that Mr Lee had asked WLH to get a copy for him to “re-read” in the office. Also, it is not credible that she would know that that was the reason the fax had been sent to her, unless the sender or the fax itself stated so.

16. LHY and LSF did not copy LWL or me on this email correspondence with Mr Lee on 16 and 17 December 2013 regarding the making and signing of the Last Will. I became aware of these troubling circumstances only later, as I explain below.

17. In the meantime, LWL began to harbour grave suspicions about the change in the shares in the Last Will. In July 2014, she told Ms Ho Ching (“HC”) in emails that Mr Lee had told her (LWL) a couple of years ago that he had left her an extra share of the Estate. This fits the timeframe of 2 November 2012 when the Sixth Will giving LWL an extra share was made. LWL also told HC that many months after that, LHY told her that Mr Lee wanted to go back to giving the children equal shares. LWL also told HC (among other things) that the will (meaning the Last Will) reinstating equal shares of the Estate for the three children had been witnessed by notaries from LSF’s office. Crucially, she said “If that is what Pa wants, so be it. But I don’t trust Fern, n she has great influence on Yang”, that “Later, Fern sent a “sweet” email to kim li about what had been done”, and that KKL and LWL had “wondered whether Yang pulled a fast one”. She also said: “If it is Pa’s decision, I am ok with it. But I hv a sense that Yang played me out”; “I was very upset that Yang did it to me”; and “I would hv preferred that it was 3 equal lots all along without needing to suspect Yang and Fern. The money I don’t get does not upset me. It is that yang and fern would do this to me”.

18. In other words, LWL herself believed that LHY and LSF did her in by either suggesting or facilitating the removal of her extra share, which happened in the Last Will prepared in great haste by LSF and her law firm. In a letter from their lawyers to mine sent after disputes arose between LWL and LHY on the one hand, and me on the other, LWL admitted that she had been suspicious as to whether the change in shares was really Mr Lee’s decision or one that was instigated by LHY and LSF but claimed that she no longer held this suspicion. But she did not explain how or why her suspicions had now come to be so conveniently dispelled.

19. In any event, as is clear from its contents, LSF’s Email distinctly and clearly gave Mr Lee the impression that the new will would change only the division of shares, with the result that each child would have an equal share, just like in the First Will. Yet, the Last Will that LSF and her law firm prepared and got Mr Lee to sign went beyond that. Significantly, they re-inserted the Demolition Clause, even though that clause does not appear to have been discussed at the time of the making of the Last Will and had in fact been removed by Mr Lee from his immediately prior two wills (the Fifth and Sixth Wills).

20. Neither was the Last Will a wholesale reversion to the First Will. The Last Will differed in significant respects from the First Will. For example, the First Will contained a gift-over clause with thorough provisions for the scenarios where LWL, LHY or I predeceased Mr Lee. This important clause was absent from the Last Will, and there is nothing which suggests that Mr Lee had given instructions for it to be removed.

21. In fact, if, as appears from LSF’s Email, the change Mr Lee had wanted to make to his will in December 2013 was to reinstate the equal division of the Estate among the three children, that could have been easily done by reverting to the Fifth Will (which provided for equal division). The Fifth Will was as complete as the Sixth Will and similar in all material respects to the Sixth Will save for the proportions of the Estate bequeathed to each of the three children. Further, as KKL had prepared the Fifth and Sixth Wills, she could easily have been asked to make that one change.

22. On 12 April 2015, Mr Lee’s Last Will was read. Mr Lee’s three children, HC and LSF were present at the reading. Also present were two lawyers from LSF’s law firm, Mr Ng Joo Khin (“NJK”) and BL (who was a witness to signing of the Last Will). At that reading, LSF volunteered that Mr Lee had asked her to prepare the Last Will, but that she had not wanted to get personally involved and had therefore gotten NJK from her law firm to handle the preparation of the Last Will. BL then confirmed that he was one of the witnesses to the Last Will. I could not help but form the impression that this was all rehearsed, and wondered why these statements were made even when no questions had been raised about the validity of the Last Will. BL then went on, in our presence, to examine the seals and signatures on the envelope, opened the envelope, examined the initials and signatures on every page, and pronounced that this was the document that he had witnessed before handing it to NJK. NJK did not dispute LSF’s account that he had handled the preparation of the Last Will. He then went on to read the Last Will to Mr Lee’s family, word for word, including the page and paragraph numbers.

23. I was so struck by the sequence of volunteered statements that on 23 April 2015, 11 days later, I recounted to DPM Teo Chee Hean in my office what had happened at the reading of the Last Will, including what LSF had said.

24. It was also during the reading of the Last Will on 12 April 2015 that the dispute between LHY and me arose. At the reading, LHY repeatedly insisted on the immediate demolition of the House. I said that such a move so soon after Mr Lee’s passing, when the public’s emotions were still raw, might force the Government to promptly react by deciding to gazette the House, and that would not be in the interests of Mr Lee’s legacy or Singapore. That discussion only ended when HC intervened to ask LWL if she wanted to continue living in the House. LWL said she did, which made the question of demolition moot. LHY then stopped insisting on the immediate demolition of the House.

25. Far from making any threats or opposing making Mr Lee’s wishes public, I also proposed reading out in Parliament Mr Lee’s letter to Cabinet of 27 December 2011, as well as the Demolition Clause. LHY and LSF strenuously objected. They argued that I could not read out Mr Lee’s letter, because (they claimed) of the Official Secrets Act. When I held firm, they told me that I could only read the first half of the Demolition Clause, i.e. excluding that part about what Mr Lee wanted done to the House if it is not demolished. I made clear that I intended to make public both Mr Lee’s letter of 27 December 2011 and the entire Demolition Clause, which I did when I spoke in Parliament on 13 April 2015. I also told Parliament that the Government would only consider the question of what to do with the House as and when LWL ceased to live in it.

26. It was only after the reading of the Last Will and the dispute arose that I looked up old family emails.

27. I then learnt that on 3 January 2014 at 10.30 am, WLH had sent an email (“WLH’s Email”) to LSF, copied to Mr Lee, LHY, LWL, HC, KKL and me, attaching a copy of Mr Lee’s codicil. The codicil had nothing to do with the contents of the Last Will but dealt with the bequest of some carpets. Buried in the email chain to WLH’s Email were LSF’s and LHY’s emails of 16 and 17 December 2013. Back in January 2014, I had not considered it necessary to read the entire email chain and did not do so. I did not feel that there was any need, and I was not anxious, to acquaint myself with my father’s wills. I felt that those were matters for him, and I left it at that. This is evident from my query to LHY on 13 May 2015 about a codicil to the Last Will whose existence I was not aware of. LHY replied that I had been copied on WLH’s Email in January 2014 about the codicil.I had not earlier paid any attention to that and could not locate WLH’s Email at that point. I therefore asked LHY for a copy.

28. When LHY in response forwarded me a copy of WLH’s Email containing the codicil, he cut out and did not send me the incriminating exchanges in the email chain that followed which showed LHY’s and LSF’s involvement in the making of the Last Will in December 2013. Thus LHY and LSF themselves appear to have believed that I had not paid attention to these matters, nor fully appreciated the import of the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails.

29. In any event, even had I read the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails at the time, I would not have appreciated their significance because I would have been reading them without the full context, since I was not aware (until June 2015, when informed by KKL) of the terms of earlier wills, nor the terms of or changes in the Last Will.

30. When I subsequently reviewed the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails, there was nothing to show that NJK had been involved in the preparation of the Last Will as LSF had claimed during the reading of the Last Will on 12 April 2015. I am also not aware of anything which shows that NJK had met or communicated with Mr Lee on the Last Will. I therefore do not understand how Mr Lee could have given instructions to NJK on the preparation of the Last Will.

31. In June 2015, KKL provided the family with copies of Mr Lee’s First to Sixth Wills and explanations for why he had executed those wills. Only then was I able to review and compare the terms and changes between those wills and the Last Will, and appreciate the significance of the exchanges in the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails.

32. At the end of August 2015, because of the ongoing dispute, HC did a search of her old emails and found the correspondence between her and LWL in July 2014 where LWL expressed her suspicions about LHY and LSF’s role in the making of the Last Will.

33. This series of events led me to be very troubled by the circumstances surrounding the Last Will.

34. Even then, I was prepared not to delve further into those circumstances if the disputes within the family could be resolved amicably and privately. I did not challenge the validity of the Last Will in court because I wished, to the extent possible, to avoid a public fight which would tarnish the name and reputation of Mr Lee and the family. I was also and am still concerned that LWL and LHY want(ed) to drag out probate and the administration and winding up of the Estate so that they can use their position as Executors for reasons which are strictly unconnected with the administration of the Estate.

35. As part of efforts to resolve the family disputes amicably, after LWL and LHY expressed unhappiness that 38 Oxley Road had been bequeathed to me following Mr Lee’s passing, I told them that I was prepared to transfer 38 Oxley Road to LWL for a nominal sum of S$1 on the condition that should the property be transacted later or acquired by the Government, all proceeds would go to charity. However, a resolution proved impossible. Matters reached the point where LWL and LHY threatened to escalate their attacks against me, coinciding with the September 2015 General Elections. I was not prepared to be intimidated. Their accusations were not only baseless; they were based on the premise that there were no unusual circumstances surrounding the making of the Last Will. I therefore decided to make further enquiries into those circumstances through my solicitors in September 2015, but, contrary to what my siblings have claimed, my questions (which are included in those which I set out below) went unanswered.

36. After the General Elections, LWL and LHY agreed to my fresh proposal to transfer 38 Oxley Road to LHY at market value, on condition that LHY and I each donated an amount equivalent to half of that value to charity, to pre-empt any future controversy over compensation or redevelopment proceeds. I was prepared to transfer 38 Oxley Road to LHY so that he and LWL could handle the 38 Oxley Road matter as they saw fit between them. In accordance with our agreement, I donated half of the value of 38 Oxley Road to charity. Although not required under the agreement, I also donated a sum equivalent to the other half of the value of 38 Oxley Road to charity. 38 Oxley Road now wholly belongs to LHY. This is consistent with the position that I had always held and conveyed to my family: that it is not tenable for the family to retain proceeds from any dealing with 38 Oxley Road, as it would look like the family is opposing acquisition and preservation of the House for monetary reasons. LHY was and continues to be unhappy about my taking this position. So, it would appear, is LWL.

37. I continue to have grave concerns about the events surrounding the making of the Last Will. I am not aware of any facts which suggest that Mr Lee was informed or advised (by NJK, whom LSF claimed had handled the preparation of the Last Will, or any other lawyer) about all the changes that were made when he signed the Last Will, or that Mr Lee was properly advised about the contents of the Last Will. In fact, there is no evidence that Mr Lee even knew that the Demolition Clause had been re-inserted into the Last Will.

38. My concerns are heightened by what appears to be a conflict of interest: LSF was involved in the preparation and/or signing of the Last Will, while her husband, LHY, was a beneficiary under the Last Will and stood to gain by the removal of LWL’s extra share in the Estate under the Last Will. It would appear that LHY felt very strongly about LWL not receiving an extra share, which explains why, in April 2015, he told me that there “would have been big trouble” if Mr Lee had not changed the will back to equal shares between the three children.

39. These facts and matters give rise to the following serious questions:
(1) Why did LSF say, at the reading of the Last Will on 12 April 2015, that she had not wanted to be involved in the preparation of the Last Will and that she had asked NJK to handle the matter, when she had been intimately involved in the events surrounding and leading up to the Last Will?
(2) What was LSF’s role in the preparation and signing of the Last Will?
(3) What, if any, knowledge did LHY and LSF have of the First to Sixth Wills?
(4) Whether and to what extent were the earlier wills discussed with Mr Lee in the lead-up to the signing of the Last Will and when the Last Will was signed, and who had those discussions?
(5) Were the provisions of the Last Will explained to Mr Lee, and if so, who explained them to him?
(6) Who gave instructions to NJK in relation to the Last Will, and what were those instructions? Did NJK, who is said by LSF to have prepared the Last Will, ever meet or speak to Mr Lee to take instructions or to get the Last Will signed?
(7) Did Mr Lee give specific instructions to re-insert the Demolition Clause in the Last Will, and if so, to whom?
(8) Was there a conflict of interest on the part of LSF, her fellow lawyers and her firm?
(9) What transpired during the brief time that BL and EK were with Mr Lee? Did LSF tell BL and EK to ensure that Mr Lee received independent legal advice before asking him to sign the Last Will?

40. Without proper and complete answers to these questions, the serious doubts about whether Mr Lee was properly and independently advised on the contents of the Last Will before he signed it cannot be cleared.

41. LWL and LHY claim that Mr Lee was not prepared to consider any option other than the demolition of the House. For that they rely heavily on the insertion of the Demolition Clause in the Last Will. In light of the troubling circumstances set out above, I believe it is necessary to go beyond the Last Will in order to establish what Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s thinking and wishes were in relation to the House.

Lee Hsien Loong’s Statement to the Singapore Parliament

PM Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament on July 3, 2017, where he gave his ministerial statement on the alleged abuse of power on 38 Oxley Road

PM Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament on July 3, 2017, where he gave his ministerial statement on the alleged abuse of power on 38 Oxley Road

“Mdm Speaker, I am making this statement today because my siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, have made serious allegations of abuse of power against me and my Government.

The allegations seem to concern primarily three matters. One, the setting up of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road. Two, the Deed of Gift for some artefacts from the house that were to be displayed in an exhibition by the National Heritage Board (NHB). And three, accusations of nepotism over my wife and son, and accusations that I want my father’s house kept standing to bolster my power.

Their allegations are entirely baseless. But they have already damaged Singapore’s reputation. Unrebutted, they can affect Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government. I therefore have no choice but to address them promptly and publicly. I also have to do so in Parliament. Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister is the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament. As the PM, I have a duty to explain myself to MPs, and to rebut in Parliament the allegations against me and my Government.

I know many Singaporeans are upset by this issue. They are tired of the subject, and wish it would end. I too am upset that things have reached this state. As your Prime Minister, I deeply regret that this has happened and apologise to Singaporeans for this. As a son, I am pained at the anguish that this strife would have caused my parents to feel if they were still alive.

I intend to clear the air today, to explain the matter fully and to answer all questions on the matter. I am not here to make a case against my siblings. Parliament is not the place for that. But what is private, I will try to resolve privately. But what is public, I have to explain and render account.

I stand by what I will say in this Chamber. I shall be separately issuing whatever I say in this debate as a statement by me outside the House which will not be covered by Parliamentary privilege.

To respond to these allegations of abuse of power, I will have to go into some background about 38 Oxley Road and the family discussions on the house so that Members can make sense of the allegations.

My account will inevitably be from my perspective. So I will try my best to be objective and factual.

I will cover the discussions on 38 Oxley Road when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was alive, what happened after Mr Lee passed away, and then, where the matter stands today.

38 OXLEY ROAD

Mdm Speaker, may I now ask the Clerk to distribute Handout 1 to Members.

My father’s wish, held for many years, is well-known to all Singaporeans. He wanted the house at 38 Oxley Road to be demolished. After my mother died in 2010, my father wrote to Cabinet to put his position on the record. This is the first note you have in the bundle, which is dated, 27 October 2010. It is a letter from Mr Lee to Cabinet. And it reads,

“38 Oxley Road. I have discussed this with my family many a time. They agreed with me that 38 Oxley Road should not be kept as a kind of relic for people to tramp through. Take photos of it or whatever else they want, but demolish it after I am gone.

“I have seen too many places which are kept frozen in time. My most vivid memory is that of Nehru’s final home, that of the British Commander of the Indian Ocean fleet in New Delhi.” (Actually it was another British General’s home, but you get the point.)

“It was once a grand building. Kept as a monument with people tramping in and out, it became shabby. It is not worth the restoration, unless they restore it just for people to look at.

“38 Oxley Road has no merit as architecture. So please respect my wish to have it demolished when I am no longer around.”

Cabinet noted his letter. A few months later, in January 2011, my father published a book, “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going”. In the book, the question of preserving his house came up. He said “I’ve told the Cabinet, when I’m dead, demolish it”. He explained again that he did not want the house to become a shambles. The cost of preservation would be high because the house was built over a hundred years ago and had no foundation. If the house was demolished and planning rules could change, the value of the land, as well as the surrounding plots, would go up.

However, after “Hard Truths” was published, there was a strong public pushback. Many Singaporeans did not agree with Mr Lee. They wanted the house to be preserved. This was after all the house of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, where important political decisions were made that shaped the future of Singapore. We are a young nation, and what the house represents is of particular significance to our history and nationhood. So in March 2011, my father asked some newspaper editors for their views. All the editors replied that they would like it to be kept, given its historical importance and heritage value.

Mohd Guntor Sadali, then editor of Berita Harian, wrote to my father:

“I was personally shocked and sad, when I first read about you saying that you wanted the house demolished after you are gone.

“the historical value of the house is priceless…if we demolish it, our next generations will regret it. We should avoid making this mistake.”

Mr Lim Jim Koon, then editor of Lianhe Zaobao, suggested that the house be conserved and turned into a museum, like the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. These were not the answers my father hoped to get. My father then wanted to leave the decision to his children. But we told him that only he could decide. He then said his decision was to knock it down. I told him that in that case he should tell the editors, and put it on the record. And so he did.

After the General Election in May 2011, Mr Lee retired from Cabinet. He then decided to put his views on the record again. And that is the second bundle in the letter you have, 20 July 2011, he wrote to Cabinet to reiterate that he wanted the house knocked down. I read, it says,

“I have previously written to Cabinet that the house should be demolished. It has no foundations and it is in poor condition. It is difficult to maintain when people start trampling through the house. Whenever there is piling at Kiliney Road, hairline cracks begin to appear in the walls. So keeping the house is too hazardous and costly. I therefore repeat my wish to have the house demolished when I’m no longer alive.

This is a letter that I referred to when I addressed the Parliament on the 13 April 2015. I said he expressed his wish that the house be torn down. But I misquote, I said December 2011. In fact he wrote this 20 July 2011.

When I saw this letter the next morning, that means 21 July 2011, I immediately invited Mr Lee to make his case in person to Cabinet. I thought that with his force of personality and conviction, meeting the Ministers would give him the best chance to convince Cabinet, as he had done so many times before. My father agreed to come. He met Cabinet that very afternoon. But the Ministers were unanimous in expressing their opposition to knocking the house down. I was the only one who did not express a view, because I was both the son and the PM and therefore conflicted.

After the meeting, my father continued to ponder over how to deal with the house. In fact, even before the Cabinet meeting, He had been discussing with the family how to go about demolishing the house and redeveloping the site. We explored in the family all kinds of permutations to demolish the house and redevelop the site – maximise value. We discussed who to inherit the property, whether it should be one or several of the children; whether to demolish the house before or after my father died; whether to donate the proceeds to charity after the site was redeveloped, and if so which children would share in the donation, and which charities to donate to.

At one point, my brother suggested that my father gift the property to Singapore, subject to the condition that the house be demolished and a small public park be built in its place. I said that I thought this was worth considering, but I offered another option: to demolish the house and redevelop the site as my father wanted, but then to sell off the property and donate the proceeds to charity

I asked my father between the two which he preferred, and he replied the latter, i.e. demolish the house, redevelop and sell off, and donate the proceeds to charity. He even had some ideas which charities he wanted. He was a practical-minded man

In August 2011, about a month after the Cabinet meeting, my father decided to will 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my share of the estate, and he told the family so.

Ho Ching and I knew my father’s wishes and also my mother’s feelings. We also knew how Cabinet and the public viewed the matter. We started discussing alternatives with my father, to see how best we could fulfil his wishes, in the event that the house could not be demolished. My father’s concern was that the house should not become run-down and dilapidated, and that it should not be an expensive burden to maintain

My late mother had a different concern: privacy. She felt strongly that her private living spaces should always remain private. She had been most distressed at the thought of people tramping through her personal spaces after she and my father passed away, to gawk at how they had lived. Even when not so familiar people came into the house for one reason or another to meet her or my father. She would complain afterwards “you could see them looking around, eyes opened, to try and find out how we lived”. She resented it.

So Ho Ching and I came up with a proposal to renovate the house to change the inside completely: Demolish the private living spaces to preserve the privacy of the family; keep the basement dining room, which was of historical significance; strengthen the structure which was decaying, and create a new and separate living area, so that the house could be lived in.

My father accepted this proposal. In December 2011, he told the family that it was “best to redevelop 38 Oxley Road straightaway”, after he died, and do what we proposed. By redevelopment, he means remove the private spaces, renovate the house without knocking it down. At around the same time, on 27 December 2011, he wrote to Cabinet a third time and you have the letter with you.

“Cabinet members were unanimous that 38 Oxley Road should not be demolished as I wanted. I have reflected on this and decided that if 38 Oxley Road is to be preserved, it needs to have its foundations reinforced and the whole building refurbished. It must then be let out for people to live in. An empty building will soon decline and decay.”

Ho Ching and I therefore proceeded along these lines. We kept the family fully informed of our considerations and our intentions. We emailed everyone, including my father, my sister, my brother and his wife. No one raised any objections to the plan

My father met the architect, went through the proposal, and approved the scheme to reinforce the foundations and renovate the house. Madam Speaker, may I now ask the Clerk to distribute Handout 2, which contains the relevant correspondence. My father signed the authorisation to submit the development application to URA on 28 March 2012, which URA approved on 17 April 2012.

As far as I knew, that was how the family had settled the matter – rationally, amicably while Mr Lee was still alive, which was what he had hoped to achieve and strived very hard to achieve. I heard nothing to the contrary until after my father died

AFTER MR LEE’S PASSING

My father passed away on 23 March 2015. On 12 April 2015, three weeks later, his last will was formally read to me and my two siblings. 38 Oxley Road was given to me. The Demolition Clause was in the will.

Mdm Speaker, may I now ask the Clerk to distribute Handout 3 which is the Demolition Clause to Members. The Demolition Clause was in two main parts with a third minor part at the end. I read it out in full:

“I further declare that it is my wish and the wish of my late Wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (“The House”) be demolished immediately after my death, or if my daughter Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out. If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the laws, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants. My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged. My statement of wishes in this paragraph 7 may be publicly disclosed notwithstanding that the rest of my Will is private.”

The following day, I had to speak in Parliament on how we would honour Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The question of 38 Oxley Road was bound to come up. There were already suggestions from the public on what to do with the house, including turning it into a museum and a memorial. I was personally in a difficult position, because I was both Mr Lee’s son and the Prime Minister

So at the reading of the will, I discussed with my siblings what I could say about the house in Parliament. There was a difference of views. Hsien Yang for the first time objected to the renovation plans that my father had approved. He wanted the house to be knocked down immediately, which was a complete surprise to me. I pointed out that his position now was different from what the family had discussed and agreed upon. But it was not possible to knock down the House immediately, anyway, because my sister, Wei Ling, then said she intended to continue to stay in the house and in his will, my father had expressed his wish that Wei Ling be allowed to stay there for as long as she wished.

So I said we should honour that, and that I would say in Parliament the next day that the Government would not make any decision, until such time as my sister was no longer staying there. We also discussed what I should say regarding my father’s wishes – what is should say in parliament regarding my father’s wishes. I wanted to read out Mr Lee’s 27 December 2011 letter to Cabinet, stating his view on what to do with the house if it is to be preserved. I also wanted to read out the Demolition Clause in his will, in full. My brother and his wife objected strenuously. But I decided that I had to do so, and I said so, so that my father’s views would be on record and Singaporeans could know accurately what his thinking had been. Later that evening, I discovered that my siblings had issued a statement which contained the full Demolition Clause.

In Parliament the next day, I made a statement which I had cleared with my key Cabinet colleagues because I was speaking as Prime Minister. I read out both the letter to Cabinet and the whole Demolition Clause. I said that “we should not rush into making decisions on this matter, especially so soon after Mr Lee has passed away. We should allow some time to pass, consider the ideas carefully, and make calm, considered decisions which will stand the test of time. We want to honour Mr Lee, but we must do so in the right way.” I stated that my father’s position on 38 Oxley Road had been unwavering all these years, that he wanted the house knocked down, and that as a son I wanted to see my father’s wishes carried out. I told Parliament that since my sister was going to continue living in 38 Oxley Road, there was no immediate issue of demolition and no need for Government to make any decision now. As and when my sister was no longer living there, the Government of the day would consider the matter.

After the Parliament Sitting, I took two major steps. One, I recused myself from all Government decisions relating to 38 Oxley Road. I was conflicted, being my father’s son and the inheritor of the house, and also the Head of the Government. It was not proper for me to take part in any decisions on 38 Oxley Road. So at the next Cabinet meeting, two days after the Parliament Sitting, I recused myself from all discussions and decisions relating to the house, and placed DPM Teo Chee Hean in charge and this was formally recorded in the cabinet minutes. From that point on, I have been out of the loop whenever the Government handles matters concerning the house. I play no part in any of the discussions or decisions. Whenever the Cabinet deliberates on the house, for example when it set up a Ministerial Committee, I absent myself, and DPM Teo chairs the meeting

My second major action after my father died was to divest myself of the house. Soon after the Parliament Sitting, I learned that my siblings were unhappy that I was getting the house. I was not sure why, but I thought the best way to resolve the matter was to transfer the house to them. I first offered to transfer the house to my sister for a nominal sum of $1, on condition that if the property is sold later, or acquired by the Government, all proceeds or compensation would go to charity. Unfortunately, that deal fell through. Subsequently, I made a fresh proposal to sell the house to my brother at fair market value. This time we reached agreement, this was in December 2015 and we also agreed that my brother and I would each donate half the value of the house to charity. We both did so, and in addition I topped up another half myself, in other words, I myself gave away the full value of the house that I had inherited and Together, my brother and I have donated one and a half times the value of the house to charity. So if you understand that properly. The house comes to me, I sell it to my brother for market value. He gives me the value of the house. I gave half of that to charity. He gets the house. In addition, he gives half the amount to charity. On top of that I separately gave half value of the house to charity. So I gave one times the value of the house, he gave away one half times the value. The house is with him. That complicated arrangement, that substantially addressed a major concern of mine: that was that our family be seen not to be benefitting financially from 38 Oxley Road either through receiving compensation from the State for acquisition or resisting acquisition or preservation or conservation to profit by re-developing and selling the property.

ON HOUSE, NO LONGER ANY SUBSTANCE TO DISPUTE

I have given you the background to 38 Oxley Road, our discussions when my father was alive what happened after my father passed away.

Where does the matter stand today? There is, in substance, no longer anything for my siblings and me to dispute over on the matter of the house. We all want our father’s personal wish to be carried out, which is to knock the house down. I no longer have any interest in the house. My brother owns it. I do not take part in in any Government decisions on the house. So why is there still an argument?

I really am not sure, but one possible factor may be a difference in views between me and my siblings and the difference is over this question: what did my father think about the house, apart from demolition? Was his view black and white, all or nothing – demolish the house no matter what? Or was he prepared to consider alternatives should demolition not be possible? My siblings’ view is that my father absolutely wanted to demolish the house, with no compromise. And they point to the first half of the Demolition Clause as evidence. That’s the first section you have in the handout and they say that if he considered any alternatives, such as the next section of the handout that was only because he was under duress because the Government had the power to prevent him or his heirs from knocking it down. My view is that while my father wanted the house to be demolished, he was prepared to consider alternatives should the Government decide otherwise. Indeed, he put it in writing, and approved alternative architectural plans which were submitted to URA, as I explained earlier and approved by the URA. Next, we have to look at the full Demolition Clause, and not just the first half, and the full clause shows that my father did accept alternatives. Further, I have pointed out some unusual circumstances surrounding how the last will was prepared, which are relevant because of the weight that my siblings put on the Demolition Clause in the last will. Despite this difference in views, I still see no need for argument. I have submitted my views to the Ministerial Committee. My siblings have submitted theirs. We have commented on each other’s views. I will leave it in the good hands of the Committee. In any case, the Government has stated that the Committee will not make any decisions on the house, and will not even recommend any decisions on the house to Cabinet. The Committee will only list options for the house, so that when a decision does become necessary one day, perhaps decades from now, the Cabinet of the day, most likely by then under a different Prime Minister, will have these options available to consider. There is therefore no reason at all for anybody to feel “pushed into a corner” by the committee, as my brother has claimed to be.

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST INTEGRITY OF SYSTEM

Regrettably, my siblings have now gone public, and accused me of abusing my office. There are few specifics in their charges. But because of their father is Mr Lee Kuan Yew, their accusations gain some credibility, and I have to take their charges seriously. Which is why I am here addressing them in Parliament. What are their allegations?

MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE

First, the alleged abuse of power. My siblings have given scant details of the charge, but my brother has cited as a “prime example” the setting up of the Ministerial Committee. I have already explained that I have recused myself. DPM Teo is in charge of this matter. I had nothing to do with the decision to set up the Ministerial Committee. I do not give any instructions to the Ministerial Committee or its members. My only dealing with the Committee has been to respond to their requests in writing by formal correspondence, no different from my siblings’ dealings with the Committee. This is the right and proper way to handle a conflict of interest. My siblings argue that even though I have recused myself, the Ministers are my subordinates and therefore, the Ministerial Committee cannot be independent from me. In fact, they say this of Parliament itself. This cannot be right. It is standard way, standard practice for the person facing a potential conflict of interest to recuse himself from the matter in this way, i.e. take himself out from handling the matter or making any decisions about it, and let somebody else deal with it, e.g. his deputy, or some other senior colleague.

This is exactly what I have done in the case of 38 Oxley Road. I myself do not deal with the matter at all. I take no part in discussions or decisions concerning the house.

DPM Teo is in full charge. Ministers and officials report to and take directions from DPM Teo on all 38 Oxley Road matters. Suppose instead that I had decided as PM to knock the house down, and had pushed that decision through without allowing the Government to consider the alternatives, weigh the considerations, and go through due process, just because it was what my father wanted. That would have been a real abuse of power.

That would have gone against the whole system of rules and values that Mr Lee Kuan Yew spent his whole life upholding and building up.

DEED OF GIFT

The second issue my siblings accuse me of is separate from the house itself.

After my father passed away, my siblings gifted artefacts from 38 Oxley Road to the NHB. This was formalised in a Deed of Gift.

My siblings have accused me of improperly obtaining this Deed between them and NHB. They say I obtained the Deed as PM, and gave it to my lawyers, and that was wrong. But I disagree.

The Deed was signed by my sister and brother, who were acting for my father’s estate. I was one of the beneficiaries of the estate. I was entitled to be consulted by my siblings before they did this, but I was not consulted.

In June 2015, Minister Lawrence Wong updated me on a major SG50 exhibition on our founding leaders. He told me the exhibition included artefacts from Oxley Road, and described the conditions attached to the gift.He subsequently gave me the Deed, which I had not seen it before. As Prime Minister, I had every right to see it.

After reading the Deed, I became very concerned over what NHB had agreed to. The terms were onerous and unreasonable to NHB. E.g. whenever NHB displayed the items, it also had to display them together with the first half of the Demolition Clause. But only the first half, which said that Mr Lee wanted the house knocked down, and not the second half of the Clause, which stated what Mr Lee wanted done if the house could not be knocked down. This partial, selective disclosure would mislead the public on Mr Lee’s intentions. Furthermore, my siblings had announced publicly that it was a gift. But in fact they had set conditions in the fine print: if at any time the terms of the Deed were breached, they could immediately take back all the items for $1. Therefore, this was not a gift at all. They had misled the public. Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew had gifted many items to NHB during their lives, and they had never imposed any conditions on their gifts remotely like these. What Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang had imposed on NHB was wrong.

Discovering all this, as Prime Minister, I had to act. Otherwise people might later wrongly think that I was party to this. It is nonsensical to say that because I saw the Deed in my official capacity as PM, I could not raise the matter with a family member. If I come across anyone doing something wrong, even family, especially family, it is my duty to set them right. In the same way, if any Minister discovers, in the course of his official work, that a family member is dealing improperly with some government agency, or seeking to take advantage of the Government, surely the Minister must take this up with the family member, and get him or her to stop. That is what the Code of Conduct is for. This is expected of anyone in a public position, especially me, the Prime Minister. I therefore wrote to my siblings through lawyers to object to what they had done. On the Government’s side, I told Lawrence Wong to take instructions from DPM Teo Chee Hean on this matter.

I believe this was the correct and proper way for me to handle the Deed of Gift.

NEPOTISM

Third, my siblings have made allegations about nepotism, concerning my wife and my son, Hongyi. And that I want 38 Oxley Road kept standing, in order to inherit my father’s credibility and bolster my standing. Hongyi, my son, has publicly said he is not interested in politics. Nor have I pushed him to enter politics. My wife, Ho Ching, is CEO of Temasek Holdings. As CEO, she reports to the Board, chaired by Mr Lim Boon Heng. As a company, Temasek Holdings answers to its shareholder, the Ministry of Finance, under Minister Heng Swee Keat. I have every confidence that both Lim Boon Heng and Heng Swee Keat understand the meaning of good corporate governance. It is the Temasek Board which appoints the CEO, and the appointment has to be confirmed by the President, who is advised by the Council of Presidential Advisors. If Ho Ching ever behaves improperly, I have no doubt that the Temasek Board, the President and CPA know what their duty is. Regarding the house, and how its continued existence enhances my aura as PM, if I needed such magic properties to bolster my authority even after being your PM for 13 years, I must be in a pretty sad state. And if Singaproeans believed such magicwork in Singapore, Singapore must be in an even sadder state.

BRINGING TO PARLIAMENT

I have brought this matter to Parliament because Singaporeans are entitled to a full answer from me and my Government. Parliament may not be a court of law, but it is the highest body in the land. It is also where my Government and I are accountable to MPs and to the people of Singapore.

Many people have asked me why I am not taking legal action, to challenge the will, or sue for defamation, or take some other legal action to put a stop to this and clear my name. These are valid questions. I took advice and considered my options very carefully. I believe I have a strong case. In normal circumstances, in fact, in any other imaginable circumstance than this, I would sue immediately because the accusation of the abuse of power is a very grave one, however baseless it may be and it is in fact an attack not just on me, but on the integrity of the whole Government. But, suing my own brother and sister in court would further besmirch our parents’ names. At the end of the day, we are brother and sister, and we are all our parents’ children. It would also drag out the process for years, and cause more distraction and distress to Singaporeans. Therefore, fighting this out in court cannot be my preferred choice.

Every family will understand that family disputes do happen, but they are not something to flaunt in public. That is why I have done my best to deal with this out of the public eye. For example, I kept my submissions to the Ministerial Committee private. My purpose was not to pursue a fight with my siblings, but to assist the Committee in its work. Unfortunately, my siblings made public allegations against me and then I had no choice but to defend myself, and release the statements and facts about the matter. I stand by the statements I have published but I really do not want to go further if I can help it.

Today I am making this statement in Parliament to account to Members and to Singaporeans and to deal with the issue expeditiously so that Singaporeans can understand what it is all about and we can put the matter to rest, I hope, once and for all.

DPM Teo will be making a Ministerial Statement after me. He will explain his and the Government’s actions and decisions in this matter. Other relevant Ministers will speak too. I invite Members to raise all questions, suspicions or doubts directly in this Chamber, with me and my team.

I have seen the questions filed by the Workers’ Party MPs. It is striking that the questions are general and concern broad principles and rules. They contain no specific allegations or facts about any wrongdoing or impropriety. But if I am mistaken and the WP has come across such allegations or facts, please raise them today. My Ministers and I will deal with all their questions and give comprehensive answers because we have nothing to hide.

I have told the PAP MPs that I am lifting the Party Whip. Strictly speaking, there is no Whip to lift, since no vote will be taken. But I said this to emphasise what I expect from this debate – a robust questioning and a full airing and accounting of the public issues and allegations. All MPs, whether you are PAP MPs, opposition MPs, or NMPs, should query me and my Ministers vigorously and without restraint. That is the way to dispel all the doubts, innuendo and tittle tattle that has been planted and circulated.

That is the way to strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government, and refocus our energies on the challenges that we face as a nation

LEGACY WHICH I AM DEFENDING

The legacy of Mr Lee is much more than an old house. Mr Lee’s legacy is Singapore and the values that we uphold.

We have built something special in Singapore. A cohesive, multi-racial, meritocratic society. A fair and just society, where the same rules apply to everybody. Whether you are a Minister, or an ordinary citizen. Whether you are the Prime Minister, or the children of the founding Prime Minister. You are not above the law.

My colleagues and I are in politics and in government, to fight to uphold this legacy to keep Singapore successful. We have sworn to serve Singapore faithfully. When private interests and public duties clash, we make sure that our private interests do not sway our public decisions. When allegations of impropriety and corruption are made, we take them seriously and investigate them fully. Ministers are bound by a Code of Conduct which is tabled in Parliament. And after every General Election, I issue Rules of Prudence to every PAP MP, so that they know how to conduct themselves to protect their own reputation and to safeguard the integrity of the PAP Government and Singapore system.

In Singapore, everyone is equal before the law. Mr Lee understood this most of all. When the dust has settled on this unhappy episode, people must know that the Government in Singapore operates transparently, impartially, and properly. That in Singapore, even Mr Lee’s house and Mr Lee’s wishes are subject to the rule of law. That the Government he built is able to withstand intense and sustained attacks on its reputation and integrity, and emerge not just untainted but in fact strengthened.

THIS IS THE “HOUSE” THAT MR LEE BUILT, NOT 38 OXLEY ROAD

When Mr Lee was asked what were the most important things to him in life, he said “my family and my country”. It pains me that this episode has put both under a cloud, and done damage to Singapore. I hope one day I will be able to resolve the unhappiness within the family. But today I stand here before you to answer your questions, clear any doubts, and show you that you have every reason to maintain your trust in me and my Government. My colleagues and I will continue to serve you and work with you, as we have always done, to the best of our ability.”

 

Brennan, Clapper & Blitzer’s Coup

(Note: our comments are in red)

James Clapper

James Clapper

In the most vocal opposition to president Donald Trump yet, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president orders, as they would be – in his view – “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch.

“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future,” Brennan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller.

(As we point out below, forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia. FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. We agree. It is virtually impossible to identify a hacker, based only on information from the server. It looks as though this was an inside job at the DNC, possibly done by (or by someone like) Imran Awam. Awam was a shady I.T. staffer who worked at the DNC and for many politicians in the Democratic Party. He was fired by Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz just recently, and was arrested when trying to flee the country while under criminal investigation.)

The exchange above is in the full transcript below:

(Full transcript follows)

Brennan appeared alongside his former colleague, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and both men who served in the Obama administration, told Blitzer they have total confidence in Mueller. “Absolutely. It was an inspired choice- they don’t come any better, ” Brennan said adding that “If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough.” Some have responded with questions where Brennan’s devotion to the Constitution was in the aftermath of the events in Benghazi.

Falling back on his neocon roots, James Clapper, who has waged a long-running vendetta with Trump, once again warned about Russian interference in US affairs. When asked about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer and others, he responded: “I’m an old school, Cold War warrior and all that – so I have, there’s truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. A lot of this to me had kind of the standard textbook tradecraft long deployed by Russians. It would have been a really good idea maybe to have vetted whoever they were meeting with.”

John Brennan

John Brennan

Clapper was also asked about Trump’s comparison of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. Clapper said he called the President-elect nine days before he left the Obama administration saying he “couldn’t let that reference pass” and it was an insult to him, CIA Director John Brennan and the workforce. “That was a terrible, insulting affront, not just to me or John, we get paid the big bucks, but I’m talking about the rank and file, men and women, patriots and intelligence community — that was completely inappropriate and over the top – I had to do something about it.”

(Here Clapper defends the false “dossier”) And so he did: on the call Clapper said Trump asked him to “to put out a statement rebutting the contents of the dossier which I couldn’t and wouldn’t do. It was kind of transactional” referring to a dossier that alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. It was not clear if he wouldn’t and couldn’t do it because the contents were legitimate, in his view, or because the dossier is what started the whole “Russian collusion” narrative in the first place. Curiously, Clapper saw it as a favor to Trump not to issue a statement: Clapper was asked by Blitzer why he didn’t put out a statement replying: “The whole point of the dossier by the way was we felt an obligation to warn him to alert him to the fact it was out there. That was the whole point.”

It was not clear if James Comey, whose subsequent leak to the NYT led to the appointment of Mueller, would have applied the same reasoning when asked by Trump to rebut the dossier’s contents.

 

THE ASPEN INSTITUTE

PEN SECURITY FORUM UNDER ASSAULT

Friday, July 21, 2017

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

JOHN BRENNAN

Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

JAMES CLAPPER

Former Director, National Intelligence

WOLF BLITZER

Anchor, The Situation Room, CNN

DAN FORD

Vice President, National Security and Defense Capgemini

* * * * *

UNDER ASSAULT

(2:45 p.m.)

FORD: Good afternoon. So I’m Dan Ford with Capgemini.  I’m our Vice President for National Security and Defense at Capgemini, and I’m proud to have Capgemini here as a sponsor. Our next session titled Under Assault features two distinguished panelists with storied experience in the White House Situation Room. Appropriately, our moderator is the host of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Without further ado, I’m honored to turn it over to Wolf for what should be an incredible conversation.

(Applause)

BLITZER: Thank you very much. (Inaudible). So nice to be here.  I love the Aspen Institute.  I’ve been coming here since 1983.  And it’s — I only come in the summers, I don’t ski, but it’s really a pleasure to be here.  And as I begin I’ll just say the words that many of you often hear, especially those of you who have basic cable, I’m Wolf Blitzer and you’re in The Situation Room. You’re in my situation room, not their situation room.  But as I’ve often said, whatever room I’m in there is a situation.  And there is a situation going on right now. I’m looking forward to an excellent discussion.

General Clapper is with us.  All of you know his most recent assignment was as the fourth U.S. Director of National Intelligence, a job that is critically important to our national security as we all know.  Many of you probably don’t know this, a little known fact by General Clapper, he began his military career when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves back in 1961 but eventually joined the U.S. Air Force, retired as a lieutenant general, also served as Director of Defense Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency.  What made you leave the Marines and go to the Air Force?

CLAPPER: Well, I really wanted to special in intelligence and at that time it was very hard to specialize in intelligence in the Marine Corps, so. Air Force made me a — yeah, I mean I get all the jokes about the Marines and intelligence is an oxymoron or, you know, no. I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Marine Corps, it’s a great organization.

BLITZER: Well, thank you very much for your service to our country. We’re grateful to you for that. And a Director John Brennan, most recently served for 4 years as the CIA Director.    He was earlier the advisor at the National Security Council at the White House for Homeland Security.  He served in the CIA going back to 1980 until 2005, that would be 25 years in the CIA.      You want to share some secrets during the course of this next hour with us?

BRENNAN: No.

BLITZER: Okay. Let’s begin, since I’m a news guy, with some news-of-the-day questions, and then we’re going to back into some other substantive issues, and I’ll start with you, General Clapper.  The Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now asking the White House to preserve all documents related to that June 2016 meeting over at Trump Tower in New York City that included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, who was the Trump campaign chairman at the time with a Russian lawyer.  What does that tell you about the focus of this investigation now?

CLAPPER: Well, I think it’s — the focus has been all along is was there collusion, was there some kind of cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And I think that’s all part of it. And having been on the, myself, as John been on the receiving end of request to preserve documents, that’s all part of our system and it’s, you know, to get at the truth as much and as much documentation that may or — may bear on it if there is any. So that to me is consistent.  And for this sort of thing I think is kind of the standard thing you do.

BLITZER: Director Brennan, what does it say to you?

BRENNAN: That Bob Mueller is doing his job,

I don’t think anybody can do that job better than Bob Mueller.  He has experience.  And this was a counter- intelligence investigation that started off last summer and he’s picking up now this effort and looking at what the Russians may have been doing to include with people associated with the campaign. That type of preservation order, that type of request for documents is wholly consistent with what his mandate is, and it shows that there is a diligence that is underway and a rigor that Bob Mueller and his team are going to get to the bottom of the story.

BLITZER: The Russian lawyer who was at that meeting, a woman by the name of Natalia Veselnitskaya, she met with Donald Trump Jr., with Jared Kushner, with Paul Manafort. We are now learning, thanks to Reuters, that she has represented a military unit founded by the FSB, that’s the successor Russian agency to the KGB for a number of years. Here’s the question from an intelligence perspective, General, how risky was it for these three Trump associates to meet with this woman during the campaign?

CLAPPER: Well, understanding — and I guess I’m old school Cold War warrior and all that so I have all of this truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. And a lot of this to me had kind of a standard textbook tradecraft long employed by the Russians and or the Soviets and now into the Russians.  So I don’t find it surprising that these connections are trying to — are coming out.  It would have been a really good idea maybe to have vetted whoever they were meeting with. I think the Russian objective here was, one, to explore, reconnoiter to see if there was interest in having such a discussion on offering up of course dirt on Hillary Clinton and somehow, you know, at least create the optic or the image of at least ostensibly plausible deniability, and this is typical Soviet Russian tradecraft approach to the soft approach, and if possible to co-opt — and John has spoken to this previously in public about whether people are witting, the recipients of this are witting or not, maybe they aren’t, and then but that’s how the — that’s kind of standard stuff for the Russians.

BLITZER: Director Brennan, how risky was it?

BRENNAN: Well, aside from risky it was just profoundly baffling why three of the senior most members of a presidential campaign would jump at the opportunity to meet with individuals that were going to, according to what’s been reports, provide information, dirt information on Hillary Clinton that was coming from the Russian government. As Jim said, that’s not something that, you know, you get engaged in personally, if they want to find out what was involved at all you send a minion, you send someone else.  But to go there with that, it just it raises a lot of questions, I think that’s what the administration now is having to deal with, questions about what were the motives what were people thinking at the time.    They should have known a lot better.                If they didn’t, they shouldn’t have been in those positions because, as Jim said, the Russians operates in a very, very cunning manner and they will take and exploit any opportunity they get, and it seems as though some folks swallowed the bait.

BLITZER: The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has just said that the meetings that President Trump had with Russian President Putin that there may have been more than the meetings we all know about, what was your reaction, General Clapper, when you heard that they did, Presidents Putin and Trump, have this previously undisclosed rather lengthy meeting with only a Russian Government interpreter present. From the intelligence point of view, what was your reaction?

CLAPPER: Well, it certainly raises a red flag, raises concern for me, that’s — it’s, you know, dialoguing with any opposite member of head of state is a good thing and yes, I’m not a big fan of Putin, not a big fan of Russian, but it is important that there be dialogue. What really concern me though is not having a U.S. witness to it and certainly, very dangerous, not using a translator, his own translator —

BLITZER: Why is that dangerous?

CLAPPER: Well, first, I’ve had a lot of engagements over time with — as John has with the foreign interlocutor, foreign colleagues, and if you don’t have, for one just, you’re not entirely confident unless it’s a translator you know and whose loyalty you have no question about, is not involved in this because otherwise there’s apart from, you know, nefarious aspects or the subtleties and nuances of language get involved here where you can completely miscommunicate. I spent 2 years in Korea with, you know, and did a lot of that dialogue back and forth with the Koreans, and I found out later that what I had said did not get conveyed accurately at all using a Korean, a well-intended Korean translator, I just cite that as one example.  And so there is — I’m sure they’ve gone away with a private meeting like relying on a Russian translator and Putin’s translator with an entirely different perspective of whatever was said.  So to me is — this is a very bothersome thing, and particularly just kind of do it completely unscripted.

BLITZER: (Giving the lead-in to Brennan) Director Brennan, have you in all your years in government heard of an American president speaking with a Russian or Soviet leader with only a Russian interpreter, government interpreter present, has that ever happened as far as you know?

BRENNAN: I don’t know of any other instances. There may have been some.  And it wouldn’t be surprising if a president pulls aside the British prime minister or, in this instance, Angela Merkel or something and had a one-on-one conversation, first of all you don’t have a translation issue, as Jim said is very important. But for meeting with somebody like the Russian president in this environment right now you want to make sure that in order to protect the U.S. and protect the president you have someone there who has a record of the conversation and you can go back and make sure that in fact it was understood what was said.  But to have this one-off and rely on the Russian translator — and who knows what was said there, and quite frankly I think there are concerns that sometimes what Mr. Trump says happens is not exactly what happens. And so you — I’m not saying a translator would, you know, counter that.  But I think it just raises again concerns about what else may be going on between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin that is being held behind either closed doors or outside of public view.

BLITZER: After that meeting, the meetings that the President had with Putin in Hamburg at the G20 summit, the president said that — suggested they talked about creating a joint U.S.-Russian cyber security unit. Later the president seemed to back away from that. But now the Russian government is saying that those talks are under way, a special presidential envoy from the Russians on cyber security has been meeting with the Americans and “the talks are underway.”  Is that a good idea?

CLAPPER: Well, we’ve all tried to have our dialogues with the Russians. I certainly did when I first– when I served as DI Director my first engagements with a Russian counterpart is in 1992, and what I found is for dialogue for them is a one-way street, you know, give us what you got.  And they are not going to reciprocate and they’re not going to do anything that in any way compromises them or gives us insight into what they’re doing, and they will use it as an opportunity to gain intelligence on us. So I am very skeptical about this.

BLITZER: You agree?

BRENNAN: I’ve gotten burned many, many times by the Russians who would say one thing, promise one thing and do the exact opposite. That said, I do think it’s important for us to maintain a dialogue with the Russians on counterterrorism and Mike Pompeo said that last night, fully agree.  We did it during the Obama administration, and during the Obama administration we also had cyber dialogue with them but nothing along the lines of something that we’re going to cooperate with them and, you know, guarding against cyber intrusions into electoral processes, that was just absurd. But I am with Jim as far as being mindful of what the Russians, you know, will not do and what they do.    But I don’t believe that we should shut down that discussion and dialogue. There are issues related to Internet norms and standards and other types of things that I think could be productive.

BLITZER: Let’s go back in history just a little bit, last year, Director Brennan, when you were the CIA Director you delivered what was described as an eyes- only message to President Obama that Russian President Putin was directly and personally involved in the effort to disrupt the U.S. presidential election. If you could walk us through that, what led you to that determination?

BRENNAN: My intelligence experience and good counsel with Jim Clapper and my other colleagues the Intelligence Community that as was borne out by the Intelligence Community assessment that we put out in January. Underscored the Intelligence Community assessment, FBI, NSA, CIA and DNI that Mr. Putin had authorized this.  And, as you can imagine, those types of assessments are built upon an array of intelligence sources, information as well as experience.       And the expertise, and I will say, I know I’m biased, but CIA has the absolute best analysts in the U.S. government bar none especially on Russia, and they know exactly what the types of things are that the Russian intelligence service would do and what would require the authorization from Mr. Putin. So you put all that together and it becomes then crystal clear to us that Mr. Putin was the one who had directed this to take place

BLITZER: You had high confidence in that as well?

CLAPPER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Because, as you know, the President, even recently, says you guys got it wrong, not just you personally, but the U.S. Intelligence Community got it wrong with weapons of mass destruction leading up to the Iraq War in 2003, so he’s skeptical.

CLAPPER: (Avoiding the issue) Well, I’ll jut say and John pick up the pieces for me here but. When we briefed then President-elect Donald Trump on the 6th of January, Trump Tower, my first and undoubtedly last soldier in the Trump Tower, the — what we did do is to give him the benefit of the evidence, which of course we cannot share in public and haven’t shared in public.

BLITZER: You gave it to him though.

CLAPPER: Absolutely. And which I thought was pretty compelling and we didn’t get a lot of pushback and none of the 400-pound guy in a bed in New Jersey stuff, I didn’t hear any of that at the time.  Now, since then of course in public discourse, you know, he’s discounted that and I was particularly distressed by a foreign country, in Poland, disparaging his own Intelligence Committee which I — to me put him in a great disadvantage when he’s a run up to his meeting with President Putin.

BLITZER: Director, because he does not just once or twice but several times as General Clapper says disparages the U.S. Intelligence Community and brings up the weapons of mass destruction issue.

BRENNAN: And we talk about the intelligence professional as people who bring inconvenient truths and facts and assessments to policymakers. We’ve had that experience for many, many years.  And sometimes policymakers are rather selective in terms of cherry picking the intelligence they like and the intelligence they don’t like. Now, it’s interesting that Mr. Trump and others will point to U.S. intelligence when it comes to North Korea or when it comes to Iran or Syria or other areas. But when it is inconsistent with what I think are some preconceived notions as well as maybe preferences about what the truth would be, then the intelligence community assessments, the workforce and the profession are disparaged, and that’s when Jim Clapper’s blood and my blood boils because we feel a particular affiliation and for the hard working women and men throughout the intelligence community who labor every day and sacrifice in ways that the fellow citizens will never know. And when someone at that level takes shots at them unfairly Jim and I tend to speak out.

BLITZER: You want to elaborate on that?

CLAPPER: Well, I was kind of hopeful that after you got rid of the two chief Nazis, John and me then maybe, you know, things would have improved.

BLITZER: Well, let me — (Applause)

BLITZER: For those of our friends here and our viewers here in the United States.

CLAPPER: It is liberating to be a former, you know.

BLITZER: (Defending fake news) This is what he said in a tweet, and I’ll let both of you respond, on January 11th, this is then president-elect of the United States.   “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to leak into the public.  One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany.”  When you heard that —

CLAPPER: (Defending BLITZER and the “patriots in the intelligence community”) Well, that prompted me to call him, what did I have to lose at 9 days left, but I couldn’t let that reference pass for exactly the reason that John said. I mean, that was a terrible insulting upfront, not just — not to me or John or, you know, the seniors, we get paid the big bucks to take that, but I’m talking about the rank and file, people in the trenches, men and women, the patriots in the intelligence community, and that was completely inappropriate and over the top and I had to so something about it. I was amazed he took the call.  And I was actually hopeful after that when I learned that the first place he decided to visit after the inauguration was CIA. I thought maybe I got through, naive me.  And, you know, he was okay for a couple of minutes, then got off on, you know, the size of his crowd in the mall (phonetic) and all that, and to me having spent 34 years in the military it would have been exactly the same had he gone out to Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington and stood in front of that hallowed place and said the same thing. And, by the way, if John and I are being too subtle here, let us know.

(Laughter)

BLITZER: You know, it wasn’t just that tweet because he also said this subsequently, this is the president-elect, “It was just disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake. That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.”  So it wasn’t just once he was bringing up Nazi Germany, it was at least twice.

BRENNAN: Yeah, he was alleging and claiming that it was intelligence professionals that were leaking this information (and who else can?).

BLITZER: He was talking — we’re talking about that dossier that was unsubstantiated (the fake “dossier” presented by McClain to the FBI).

BRENNAN: Yeah, and — on no basis. And to another point as far as the continued disparagements of the profession and the workforce, what message does that send to people overseas when the United States has to go to our partners and allies and say U.S. intelligence has this information and has this assessment and we’re looking for their support. What does it say as far as, you know, when we have something about our adversaries that our adversaries can say, well, that’s U.S. intelligence, you already say that it’s not worth, you know, the paper it’s written on.  And look at what happened in the Cuban Missile Crisis how U.S. intelligence was so important be able to have the stare down with the Russians. And over the course of all our history U.S. intelligence has provided policymakers what they need in order to push back against our adversaries as well as to get the support we need.  And so these types of comments are just disgraceful, never should have happened, and the people who and the person who said that should be ashamed of himself.

BLITZER: What was his reaction when you called him?

(Applause)

CLAPPER: Well, his reaction was thanks but, you know, his main interest, and I think the reason he took the call was he wanted me to put out a statement rebutting the contents of the dossier, which I couldn’t and wouldn’t do.

BLITZER: Why? Why couldn’t you do that? Why couldn’t you put out a statement?

CLAPPER: The whole point of the dossier by the way was we felt an obligation to warn him to alert to him to the fact that was out there. That was the whole point. We didn’t — you know, and some of the difficulties of the tradecraft issue here was the inability to corroborate all of the second, third order assets that were used to collect that information. So we did not include it as a formal part of our assessment because we didn’t because of that reason.                       And that was the main point of the dossier, but it certainly wasn’t in a position to corroborate or not what was in it.

BRENNAN: The dossier wasn’t used at all to undergird the analysis and the assessment. And Jim Comey presented it separately.          So again it wasn’t an Intelligence Community document.

BLITZER: You created, convened a secret task force to deal with the Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, but a former senior Obama administration official widely quoted as saying that the administration choked and didn’t do enough. Did you do enough with the information you had in telling the Russians not just to stop it but issue some major retaliatory action given what you believed was Russian interference in the US democratic process?

CLAPPER: Well, was that for me or John. MR. BLITZER: Either one of you.

CLAPPER: Well — MR. BRENNAN: — first.

CLAPPER: I’m sorry. It’s always easy to do the coulda woulda shoulda after the fact. And in thinking back over my career I’ve had other cases, I did Khobar Towers investigation, I did Hasan shooting at Fort Hood, and one thing I’ve learned from doing things like that post-event critiques, you can never ever go back and recreate exactly contemporaneous environment that led people to make the decisions they made. I feel we did a lot, yes, you could always say we should have done more earlier.  I thought it was very important that the statement of J Johnson and I put out on the 7th of October was a fairly direct scription done before attribution, done before a month before the election. Unfortunately that got overtaken by the Access or Excess Hollywood, as I call it, revelation on the audio tape of then Candidate Trump. And that came out the very same day, so that emasculated what was really an important message to the American electorate. And the reason we felt so strongly about that is sitting on this and not allowing, not sharing to the extent, the maximum extent we could with the public. I think John has pointed out, and rightfully so, we did see reconnoitering, if I can call that, in voter registration systems of some — of at least 21 states, I think it got up as high as 39, you might wonder what they had planned to do about that.  John spoke to his opposite number, President Obama, pretty (inaudible) exchange with Putin about cutting it out.  And of course we did do the sanctions on the 29th of December which I always considered a good first step, and we were all hopeful that the next administration would pick that up and follow up on those — on the measures we took, John.

BRENNAN: I thought Avril Haines did an excellent job this morning articulating the different types of things we we’re doing to try to protect the electoral infrastructure in the states and Jeh Johnson in Homeland Security working with state and local officials also sending clear signals to the Russian that this is unacceptable. I spoke to Bortnikov, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB in early August and threw a hard high one at him and saying that if in fact you’re doing this there is going to be serious consequences and then the president — and then speaking to Putin. We also then were preparing for what we could do to retaliate against them, but don’t forget, we’re in the middle of a rather contentious election and we were trying to monitor what the Russians were planning and doing because we wanted to keep a sense of what it was that we needed to frustrate and thwart. And, you know, people have criticized us and the Obama administration for not coming out more forcefully in saying it. Now President Obama   would beat his chest and say the Russians are trying to get Mr. Trump elected, I don’t think that would have went over well in many areas because he is the head of the Democratic Party.  So trying to balance this and trying to prevent the Russians from doing what they were trying to achieve.  And I do think a number of things we did made the Russians take a pause and not do all the things that they could have done.

CLAPPER: Another point I would add is, another thing that weighed on us a bit was if we make a big thing of this, making a big thing, or the President making a primetime address or something, a television address to the nation about it, would that only serve to hype, magnify or amplify what the Russians were doing or dignify it, and there was the concern of course about putting a hand on the scale that if such a statement would put the hand on the scale in favor Hillary Clinton as opposed to Donald Trump.

BLITZER: But the argument has been made, you guys didn’t do more because you simply assumed Hillary Clinton was going to be elected and then the country would move on. You’ve heard that?

BRENNAN: I’ve heard it.

CLAPPER: Yeah, I’ve read it, yeah.

BRENNAN: As intelligence professionals we had a job to do, we had to continue to monitor what the Russians were doing and how we could stop them and frustrate them, bringing things to policymakers. I brought it to the Gang of Eight right away, we kept the Congress informed, so there was ongoing interaction with the senior most levels of government. But also remember, this is a counterintelligence investigation, we were trying to find out who the Russians might been working with within the United States in order to realize their ends. So there’s — there were lot of sensitivities to this. And one of the things I hope that the intelligence committees in both the Senate and the House do is take a look at what happened.   We had to figure all this out. There was no playbook for this. What do you do as far as public announcements?  What do you do as far as congressional notifications, what do you do as far as pushing back against adversaries. One of the things I’ve recommended to the Senate Intelligence Committee is that maybe there should be a requirement in the future that before all presidential and congressional elections, 120 days before, the director of National Intelligence and a director the FBI should say exactly what’s the state of cyber intrusions that are designed to compromise the integrity of the electoral system.  I think that will help in terms of making sure that there’s going to be a rigor and a process in order to deal with what I think is going to be a phenomenon that we’re going to be facing.

CLAPPER: And another benefit of doing that is that it would no longer be a matter of discussion, it would simply be mandatory. If the intelligence community, law enforcement community detected evidence of any interference whatsoever that would mandatorily be a law that required that to be reported rather than getting involved in these arguments about the politics and trying to keep things bipartisan, doing all these kind of things and not putting your hand on the scale, not amping up or down or not doing this. And as John said, this is new territory, new unchartered seas here that we were trying to navigate.     And you can fault us all I guess again in the coulda woulda shoulda department.

BRENNAN: I think we did pretty damn well, and I think a lot of that is due to the tremendous leadership of Jim Clapper who is the epitome, for me, of a Director of National Intelligence who has the breadth of experience, the wealth of knowledge as well as just the ability to engage with the executive branch, legislative branch and others. And I think in a very difficult period of time we were able to do whatever we could in the manner that we thought was most appropriate.

CLAPPER: Thanks.

(Applause)

BLITZER: You said that there was evidence that the Russians were also fooling around in various states.

CLAPPER: Right.

BLITZER: Is there any evidence that even one ballot was changed as a result of that?

CLAPPER: So I’m glad you asked that question, thanks to the questions we’d like to say on the Hill. Very important distinction here. We saw no evidence from our sources of messing with voter tallies which we made clear in both the classified and the unclassified version of our report that we put out to the public on the 6th of January.  We had no way, we had not the authority, the expertise, the capability to gauge whether that had — whether the Russian interference had any impact on the election at all, that’s not a charter for — something for the intelligence community do.   And it will be pretty hard unless you go out and, you know, how individual voters made decisions or made a decision about whom to vote for and whether any of the multi-faceted things the Russians did. And it wasn’t just the hacking, the social media trolls, fake news, the very aggressive sophisticated propaganda efforts by RT, the totality of this and what impact that actually had on the election we had no way of gauging that. (Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia. FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. We agree. It is virtually impossible to identify a hacker, based only on information from the server. It looks as though this was an inside job at the DNC, possibly done by (or by someone like) Imran Awam. Awam was a shady I.T. staffer who worked at the DNC and for many politicians in the Democratic Party. He was fired by Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz just recently, and was arrested when trying to flee the country while under criminal investigation.)

BLITZER: You want to add anything?

MR. BRENNAN: No.

BLITZER: You spoke earlier about your blood boiling. You also said —

BRENNAN: — temper.

BLITZER: Also said earlier in the week that it made my blood boil a bit when you heard the President say it was a great honor for him to meet with Putin. Would you like to elaborate?

BRENNAN: Well, this was in the — just a photo op basically before Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump had their meeting and exchanging pleasantries, which is fine, you do that. But then when I saw Mr. Trump lean over and say to Mr. Putin it’s a great honor to meet you, and this is Mr. Putin who assaulted one of the foundational pillars of our democracy, our electoral system, that invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, that has suppressed and repressed political opponents in Russia and has caused the deaths of many of them, to say upfront, person who supposedly knows the art of the deal I thought it was a very, very bad negotiating tactic.  And so I felt as though it was not the honorable thing to say. I served for 6 presidents and had tremendous respect for all of them in terms of trying to do what’s right for this country. I think Jim served for 25, 26 president, is that right, Jim?

(Laughter)

CLAPPER: It was tough with U.S. grant, yeah. (Laughter)

BRENNAN: But — and I disagree with some of the policies, but I was the intelligence professional. But I must say that there are disappointments that I see in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing on the international stage that I think does pose a serious question about how he is keeping safe our national security.

CLAPPER: I will say, you know, actually speaking I like this, but actually speaking publicly is actually kind of painful for me, I’ve served every president in the trenches of intelligence ever since and including John F. Kennedy, I’ve been a political appointee in both Republican and Democratic administrations, spent 34 years in military, two tours in — combat tours in Vietnam. So my instincts are, professional instincts are loyalty to the president’s commander in chief. And I try to impress that upon him when I spoke with him.  I said you are inheriting a national treasure in the form of the Intelligence Community and the tremendous capability, the dedication, the patriotism, men and women who serve every day, many of whom in harm’s way. And, you know, you stood in front of a place honoring those who paid the ultimate.  So it’s very hard, very, very painful for somebody like me to speak like this.  And I think that in itself is sad commentary.

BLITZER: (with another leading question) Director Brennan, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose several meetings with Russians and others, for that purpose he’s now corrected the records. Some have suggested he should have his security clearances at least suspended if not revoked. How do you feel about that?

BRENNAN: Well, he’s had obligations to report those meetings. Whether or not he either misunderstood the questions or have gotten — I don’t know, I don’t want to pass judgment on that.  But that’s the type of thing that if there was somebody in CIA that did not disclose those things you would review it and you would talk to the person and try to then adjudicate it. And depending upon the seriousness you might separate them from access to classified information or not. But, you know, it raises questions about what was the motivation behind or was there motivation behind not disclosing it or was it an oversight.  Again I don’t prejudge it.

BLITZER: General.

CLAPPER: Yes, I agree with what John said.

BLITZER: (guiding CLAPPER) You don’t see a problem there?

CLAPPER: With what?

BLITZER: That he didn’t disclose all those meetings.

CLAPPER: Well, yeah, I do see a problem with that. I’m not just concurring what Johnson. I think at a minimum you would — if it were just an employee in the workforce you would at least suspend the clearance until you’ve had the opportunity to investigate, adjudicate what the circumstances were.  I mean, some of these failures, you know, are memory failures or, I forgot whatever, okay, you have allow for that. But I do think the appropriate thing here is take a pause and at least suspend clearance until you’ve had the opportunity to investigate and decide whether the clearance should be restored or not.

BLITZER: (stirring up the treason possibility) Director Brennan, you said — used the word, the tough word during your testimony, treason. Explain what you were referring to.

BRENNAN: I was asked the question, I forget who on the House Intelligence Committee, about Soviet intelligence MO activities. And I was talking about how they cultivate relationships.  And frequently they will do  it under the guise of some other cover, whether it’s be business, you know, commercial or, you know, diplomatic, whatever, and they try to establish a rapport with an individual.  And sometimes people will cooperate with them, may not even be a Russia, might be something else.  And then they get individuals to go beyond what they should in terms of either what they discussed or maybe documents they share.  And the Russians do that not just with, you know, U.S. government targets but also in business, going after intellectual property rights and other things. And a person frequently will be fooled then by the Russian overtures and they get down a path and all of a sudden they have this relationship with this individual that has gone beyond what was appropriate for their position. And so I was trying to explain that people will sometimes go down that treasonous path doesn’t mean that they commit treason, it’s just that they’re along that line. And thankfully the smart people when they realize that they say, wait a minute, I need to report this to the authorities of my agency, or to the FBI, whatever else. But some will just continue along it.  And I think that’s what the FBI investigation is looking at, who was going along the path wittingly or unwittingly and what they might have done to compromise the security of this country as well as to violate U.S. law.

BLITZER: (bringing up the fictitious Russian cyber attack) How vulnerable is the U.S. right now to Russian cyber attacks going ahead in future elections?

CLAPPER: (taking the bait) Well, I think we have a problem here. (a problem which never happened) There’s a real concern on, and believe me, the Russians are not going to just do this is a one-off, they are going to be emboldened now to push the envelope even further. For them this is an symmetric weapon they can use to undermine us and undermine our — the foundations of our system.  So they’re going to be back, election. And next time they don’t care, it could be the Republicans next time, that’s why this is — and this to me is the big story here and a thing that as a nation we should be concerned about. I don’t care democrat, republican, doesn’t make any difference. We need to defend ourselves against these assaults on our system.  And I was frankly taken aback during the course of the run up here when we were starting to see this activity, the pushback that Jeh Johnson got when here engaged with state election officials about hey we don’t want any help from the feds.  And so that attitude has got to be overcome. And the voting apparatus at large in this country needs to be a part of the critical infrastructure and the protections that that entails.

BRENNAN: Russian interference in our election or others’ interference in election really has two principal dimensions, one is in the cyber realm, and that’s why there are a lot more opportunities now to do things in a nefarious way in that cyber domain to try to influence elections or influence political developments.  But the Russians also are experts in active measures and trying to co-opt members of the media or try to support political parties with (inaudible) other types of things. What we have seen them do in the European theater for many, many years. And so one of the things that the intelligence community was worried about was are we going to be seeing other types of Russian efforts to exploit the election season and using some of these other traits and not just in the cyber realm.  So this is something that I think we have to be vigilant about and put up safeguards to protect the foundations of our democracy.

BLITZER: Yesterday we heard your successor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo really go hard in condemning what the Russians are doing. Russia likes to stick it to America. He said — here’s the question, General Clapper, do you believe that President Trump takes this threat from Russia seriously enough?

CLAPPER: Well, it’s hard to tell, you know, I sometimes wonder whether we’re even what he’s about is making Russia great again, you know. I really wonder about that sometimes, whether he does take it as seriously as clearly I think Dan Coats and Mike Pompeo both do. And that’s a real concern. Now, again truth in advertising, long history of — with the Russians, none of which has been positive.  So maybe I’m not the most objective observer here but I think Russian is an existential threat to this country.  What we don’t mention very often is the very aggressive modernization program they’re embarked on with their strategic nuclear capability, some of these exotic weapons they’re pushing.  Their very aggressive counter-space program.  And, by the way, just for good measure, they’ve in violation of the INF treaty. So Russia is an adversary, that’s all there is to it, and they are going to do everything they can to undermine us.

BLITZER: (leading again) You rarely — the President rarely criticizes Russia, why? (Maybe because Trump wants to avoid WWIII)

BRENNAN: You have to ask him, but when I think about all the negative things he said about the intelligence community and I think about the things that he said about Putin and Russia, that seems to be incongruous as far as what the President of the United States should be saying and doing at this time. I’d like to think that the intelligence community, in fact I’m confident that they’re continuing to highlight the risks associated with the Russian behavior around the world and what we need to do to counter it. I think Mr. Putin has a rather simplistic prism, zero-sum game, and that’s why when Mike Pompeo said, yesterday they tried to just stick it to us I think they see that if the U.S. is weakened or has diminished influence in certain parts of the world it just accrues to their benefit, and that’s why I think when — when they see what’s happening now in the United States here, that we’ve become, you know, so consumed obviously with this issue about what the interference was in the election and how it’s making our system of government in some respects dysfunctional because we can’t pass legislation, we can’t do other things, I think Mr. Putin probably is crowing that it had an effect on this country that is hurting us which only accrues to their benefit.

BLITZER: I raise the question because Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, a member of the what we called the Gang of Eight who’s briefed on the most sensitive intelligence information she said this and it really, you know, startled me. She asked this question, what do the Russians have on Donald Trump politically, personally or financially. (a false accusation hidden in a question, really)

CLAPPER: Well, hopefully Special Counsel Mueller will get to the bottom of that.

BRENNAN: Yes, I agree. I would like to think that we all, all Americans want to get this behind us because it is hurting us. I like to think that Mr. Trump and other people in the White House would like to get this behind us. The best way to do that is to have as much transparency as possible. If there is nothing to hide there then they should cooperate fully in an accelerated fashion with the special counsel and others. But I think time after time after time one only comes away with the impression that there is a resistance to having more information come out, and that just feeds suspicions. And I do think — I’m hoping that this is going to, you know, be addressed sooner rather than later in terms of what is there. If there’s nothing there, let’s move on.  But this is where the work of Robert Mueller is critical to our future as a country because, you know, in some respects we’re a government and a nation in crisis right. counsel?

BLITZER: You have confidence in the special…

BRENNAN: Absolutely.

BLITZER: You both worked with him for a long time when he was head of the FBI.

CLAPPER: Absolutely, that was a inspired choice.

BRENNAN: They don’t come any better.

CLAPPER: And nobody better than Bob Mueller who is a straight shooter and will not be intimidated by any —

BRENNAN: And if he’s any fired by Mr. Trump or attempted to be fired by Mr. Trump, I hope I really hope that our members of Congress, elected representatives are going to stand up and say enough is enough and stop making apologies and excuses for things that are happening that really flout I think our system of laws and government.

(Applause)

BLITZER: When you say enough is enough what will — if he’s fired and he’s the President of the United States, he could tell Rosenstein to fire him if he wants, but if he’s fired what would you want Congress to do?

BRENNAN: First of all, I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that again are inconsistent with what this country is all about. But I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue that Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this country is at stake, and there needs to be some things done for the good of the future.

BLITZER: We have limited amount of time and we’re going to have some questions from the audience as well. But let’s get through a few other issues right now.

When you were Director of National Intelligence what kept you up at night the most?  What did you worry about the gravest national security threat to the United States?

CLAPPER: The Congress. (Laughter)

CLAPPER: Only kidding, only kidding, only kidding. I think the biggest thing rather than a particular — I’m just kidding, I see Chairman Thornberry out there doing daggers there, I’m just joking. I think the thing that to the extent that I didn’t get that much sleep and I realize I’m making up for it now but is what I didn’t know. If you’re on to a, let’s say a terrorist plot, invariably you’re not going to know everything there is to know, but at least if you’ve got a start on it you have some insight that you can turn resources, more collection, whatever it takes, to gain more insight, more information on what that particular threat is. And the one — the thing I always worried about, what is it they don’t know, what is it we have no clue about.   That’s I think more than any particular — I mean, you can conjure up all kinds of scenarios —

BLITZER: Well, let me ask Director Brennan. Is North Korea the greatest threat to the United States right now?

BRENNAN: Well, as was said, I think there is a need to be able to address the North Korean problem this time. And there is competition for what’s the greatest threat. You know, those are things that need to be taken care of in the near term, the terrorist threat, thing that would worry me a lot is the increasing dependence of everyone on the digital domain and how increasing dependencies we have on it and the vulnerabilities that are there and all the actors that could try to bring that down. Biological agents are something that I’m concerned about as well. But in addition I think there are things that are over the horizon.  The wave of automation in the coming years is going to have a profound political, economic, social, cultural impact on all of our lives.  And I don’t think we’re ready for the disruptive impact of that automation.   And it’s around the globe. So I think we have to be anticipating how the technological, scientific and other developments are going to affect our lives. And it’s not just, you know, the latest threat from a terrorist group or a nation state, it’s a societal and global changes.

CLAPPER: Those may be contrarian view but I actually don’t consider North Korea yet an existential threat in the same way that Russia is. I mean, neither they nor we know whether these long-range missiles will work or not, it almost doesn’t matter. We have to take them seriously.  And I do worry about some of the rhetoric sometimes because one of the things I learned, I followed Korean Peninsula for a long time, ever since I served there is a J2 in early ’80s. And then when I got to go there in November 14 I was blown away by the magnitude of the paranoia that exists in North Korea.  And everywhere they look they see enemies.  And so conclusion, I came away with one, they are not going to give up those nuclear weapons, that was my first White House issue talking point, was denuclearize.  Well, that was a non-starter for them. Secondly, I think we all look to the Chinese and the leverage that they can exert on the Chinese — on the North Koreans. Chinese will do so much, they don’t like Kim Jong-un, they don’t like the missile tests, they don’t like the underground test, they don’t — and they certainly don’t like the THAAD deployment.  But what they dislike more is the thought of North Korea imploding and they lose their buffer state, which for them is a strategic imperative. So the Chinese will do some, they will put pressure on the North Korean, some, but not as much as we might like.

BLITZER: With ISIS losing now in Mosul, increasingly in Raqqa, what’s the impact on the ISIS threat to the U.S. homeland? This is for Director Bernnan.

BRENNAN: The ability of ISIS to continue to support its external terrorist operations continues. The taking away of the territory that they had seized in Iraq and Syria certainly reduces the resource they have, the following they have, but they have been very sophisticated users of the Internet, being able to reconnoiter and to recruit and to incite and encourage.  So I think there’s going to be some latency there between the setbacks in the battlefield for ISIS and the ability for us to really stop a lot of these external efforts. But I must say there is tremendous work that is being done day in and day out by the police, intelligence, security other services. But ISIS is I think going to be determined to continue to explore and pursue those external operations.

BLITZER: Do you believe there could be another 9/11?

CLAPPER: Well, I’ll go on record and say no, I don’t think an attack of that magnitude and complexity is possible. I think, you know, we’re smarter than we were prior to 9/11 but that’s not to say we don’t have a concern here from two standpoints, one, what John talked about, the ideology which is still there. And as Tony Thomas mentioned, made a lot of progress on attacking the attributes or (inaudible) of ISIS as a nation state, its physical dimensions. But that ideology is still out there, and that’s what’s had an impact in this country. And the other thing of course are the simplicity of the weapons, using trucks, knives, whatever is available to westerners, that’s going to continue to be a challenge –

BLITZER: We’re going to take some questions, but do you believe there could be another 9/11?

BRENNAN: It’s much more difficult for terrorist groups to operate here today than it was prior to 9/11 because of the great work of people like Mike Hayden and Mike Chertoff in the aftermath of 9/11 to make this a much less hospitable environment for them. So I don’t believe — although anything is possible, carrying out an attack of strategic consequence, not like 9/11, that — is really going to be much more difficult for them today, that’s not to say they are not still going after it, they have a fixation on aviation Al Qaeda as well as ISIS. They want to bring down an airliner, they want to bring down an airliner over U.S. airspace. But because of the great work that has been done, the safeguards that have put in place, the prophylactic measures, I think that this country has a lot be proud of —

BLITZER: And what startled me here in Aspen is the Secretary of Homeland Security, General Kelly, saying that they are developing these new technologies for these laptops to get through security at airports, and if they blow it up at 35,000 feet it’s going to blow up that plane.

CLAPPER: Well that’s underscore the need for vigilance and to try to stay a step ahead of them, well, particularly with all the technological opportunities they would have to exploit.

BLITZER: Any questions from the audience?

Please stand.  Go ahead.  You got a microphone.  Go ahead, you go first.

Margaret Brennan, CBS News. I would like the question to go to both of you gentlemen, the Trump administration has talked about potentially what to do with those compounds that were seized by the Obama administration that belong to Russia.  They’ve talked about either allowing the Russians to sell them, there’s this idea that possibly even giving them back could be on the table, the Russians want them. I’d like to know, since these compounds were ransacked, according to reports, before U.S. officials got there, what was happening there? What would giving them back to Russia actually mean? And should the Trump administration be considering this at all?

CLAPPER: Well, I’m not sure I understand why we’re even having this dialogue because, you know, what have the Russians done to deserve getting it back. The (inaudible) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is just a intelligence collection facility, that’s all it is. And so I don’t see any reason as a freebie to even talk about giving them back. Why?

BRENNAN: I agree, that’s what — for what purpose? And at this stage, you know, maybe in the future if we’re able to get on a better track with Russia over time, but at this time now I don’t see any earthly reason to do that.

BLITZER: Go ahead.

SPAULDING: Suzanne Spaulding, former DHS, former CIA, former House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees. I want to start by thanking both of you for your long and distinguished careers in public service.

(Applause)

BRENNAN: Thank you. You’re longer.

SPAULDING: And for having the courage to be here today. I want to ask you about the tension between the Intelligence Community and the White House, we’ve seen this before in the Bush administration with that mistrust between the Intelligence Committee and the White House led to the creation of a parallel intelligence effort both analytic and operational in the Defense Department, outside of the normal oversight, outside of the normal legal framework for the Intelligence Community. My question is do you see that level of mistrust either today or in the future and what are the things that we as citizens and that our members of Congress in their oversight role should be on the lookout for?

CLAPPER: Well, we may not be the right ones to comment on how it is now, so I do know that both DNI Coats and Director of CIA, Pompeo, spent a lot of time in the White House in the oval, and hopefully — and I’m sure they’re sensitive to that, to prevent it. But I really can’t — I suppose that’s a possibility. I’m not aware of it and I certainly hope that doesn’t happen again.

BRENNAN: Intelligence professionals are a special breed, they really are. They serve selflessly, they do remarkable work, and they don’t expect a lot of public recognition and accolades and ticker tape parades. But at the same time they like to think that the work that they’re doing is appreciated and recognized and that they’re making a difference as far as national security.  I have no doubt that despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that they might have had over the last number of months that they continue to do their job to the best their ability, and they are some of the most talented and courageous people that this country has. My concern is though that, you know, it’s having an effect I think on some the families of intelligence professionals, you know, the wives or the husbands, the children who don’t see their loved ones come home because they’re working so hard, and they wonder why are you doing that if it’s not be appreciated. You could make twice or three times the amount of money.  The young college graduate who is thinking about going into law enforcement or CIA or intelligence and now has another offer and they say, well, if it’s not being recognized or appreciated at least, has been disparaged, why should I go there? So I think there are second and third order effects here. But I know that the CIA officers and NSA and others and FBI are continuing to do their work because they believe in the mission, they believe in keeping their fellow Americans safe.   But over time this can have a very corrosive effect on the broader environment.

CLAPPER: I think the men and women in the Intelligence Community will continue to convey truth to power even if the power doesn’t necessarily listen.

BLITZER: Go ahead.

IOFFE: Hi. Juli Ioffe of the Atlantic. I’ve heard people in the intelligence community kind of buzzing about, I mean Wolf asked you what keeps you up at night, these people seem to be kept up at night by their Commander in Chief, the President, and see him as one of the main national security threats. Do you agree with that? And if so why and how? Thank you.

BRENNAN: I can’t speak to how they think. And I wouldn’t — you said — characterized the president as a national security threat, no, there’s lot of concern, I think we all want the administration and the president to succeed. But when we see things happening that really are, I guess, inconsistent with what it is that we have always ascribed to the office of the presidency as far as honesty, as far as integrity, as far as support for Intelligence Community folks, I think it does diminish in the eyes of many the credibility of that individual.

CLAPPER: We are blessed in this country with, you know, three coequal branches of government and, you know, the national security apparatus is bigger than one person, even the President. So there are a lot of constraints happily built in to our system. But some of them are, as I said, are under assault. And so I just think it’s bothersome to me personally.

BLITZER: Go ahead. You have a microphone? Yes.  Andrea.

MITCHELL: Hi. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News and MSNBC.  Thank you both for their — everything that you’ve done.  I’m wondering, looking back, whether you think that we could do more for Americans missing and held captive in places like Syria and whether you think there is prospects for getting Austin Tice out. There’s a lot of talk because his parents are in the region right now. If there’s anything more that CIA could do.

BRENNAN: When I was at the White House as well as at CIA, I spent a lot of time, as Tom Bossert was mentioning yesterday, trying to what do we could, working with our partners, working with our clandestine sources, trying to find out the location, the whereabouts, the well- being of Americans that have disappeared or were being held captive. We always need to do more. The situation of Austin Tice is a very, very sad one, someone who is trying to give some insight to the world about what was going on inside of Syria and then he was seized.  And I had talked with the Austin’s parents several times, and they are devoted to their son.  And as mentioned yesterday or this morning about Bob Levinson, former FBI agent whose whereabouts is still unknown, who was seized by the Iranians.  We have to continue every day to just increase our efforts because we should leave no American behind, and this is something that I think this administration from talking to Tom and others they take very seriously and we just wish them success.

GHETTI: Just seconding Ms. Valding’s (phonetic) comments. I’m much appreciative of your services over the years. Adam Ghetti with Ionic Security. On the topic of voter integrity and voting integrity, you both hit on it pretty clearly where it’s really two separate issues, you can’t determine why somebody voted one way but we can determine whether or not the vote was altered, the tallies were altered.   The state-level collection of those tallies, I’ve been very involved with in Georgia as of late where a coalition of us got together, academics, industry and government to try to offer our services for free to help audit the systems before the election after the election.  The state officials wanted no interest in that and gave us a letter back saying 6 months later from now let’s have this conversation. For you-all’s professional advantage and in your experience is there any downside to there being a national level cryptographically assured audit trail to the vote such that it doesn’t have the attribution of the voter and the attribution to vote but can guarantee that the votes that were placed were placed and unaltered.

CLAPPER: Well, that’s kind of a take-home question I think, I want to think about the implications of that. But I think as a general rule, general commentary that anything we can do to, you know, have some uniform standards of security across all 50 states and all the entities where there, voting activities go on, the fact that the very diffusion and diversity of our system actually turned out to be a strength because it’s been very hard to co-opt at least electronically or from cyber the votes in this country. But I think DHS did a lot of great work on conveying to all of the states best practices the should be followed in securing our voter apparatus.

BRENNAN: I think you want to leave with the states the responsibility to oversee the voting process, it’s I think an inherent state right. I think what the national and federal government should do is to make available to those states the best tools, the best systems, the best capabilities that will safeguard and protect their voting systems as opposed to the federal government taking over it. We already see a lot of tension right now as far as the federal government’s request for voter information. There really is a fair amount of tension on this issue, but I do think that the federal government can assist and facilitate and even help to provide the types of capabilities, expertise, tools technology that is needed so that we have that confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

BLITZER: Elise?

ELISE:  Thank you.  And to echo what everyone said about thanking you for your service. General Raymond Thomas, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command confirmed what some have been reporting for days that the president has decided to end the CIA program of training moderate rebels in Syria.  I’m wondering what you think of the decision. I’m not sure how much you can say about the program.  But does this signal the kind of final death in the coffin of efforts to support moderate opposition in terms of getting President Assad out? And do you see a scenario where there would be stability in Syria as long as President Assad stays? Thank you.

BRENNAN: (Brennan defends the “moderate opposition,” a catchphrase for terrorists as there is no “moderate opposition) Well, just speaking broadly, it has been the U.S. government’s position over the last seven years or so to support what’s called the Free Syrian Army, the moderate opposition.  The State Department provided assistance to it. It was the policy of the U.S. administration. And if there is a pulling back from the support to those Syrians who have fought and lost tremendous blood and treasure at the hands of Assad, if they see that the United States is pulling back from them, what are their options, are they going to then gravitate toward the more the terrorist and extremist elements? These are individuals who had defected from the Syrian army, they are fighting against Assad who rained down chemical weapons on their families. And so I think it would be a mistake in terms of an abandonment of them. Hopefully that has not happened. But I do think that there is a segment of the Syrian opposition that deserves support, deserves protection from the United States and the international community.  And I do not believe that you’re going to see any stable and secure future in Syria unless Assad passed the scene. There is a sequencing issue and I think that’s what was talked about earlier. You know, you need to try to make sure you crush and destroy ISIS as well as Jabhat al-Nusra. But there’s no way that Assad, the butcher of Damascus, should stay in power.

BLITZER: We are all out of time but I have one — time for one final question and both you can answer it if you want, serious question even though I use the word tweet. The president likes to tweet a lot on international issues, various global issues, what challenges, if any, does all of his tweeting, using this platform pose for the Intelligence Community?

CLAPPER: Well, I think the practice of it is itself, opens up the possibility as a, you know, a counterintelligence vulnerability. And I do think it kind of wreaks havoc on the government trying to stay up with, you know, with the tweeting. And I also am beginning to believe that more and more people are getting jaded to it. You know, it’s more for comic relief than a serious thing, which is bad. I got a tweet after Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the President said we choked. And, you know, if President Obama said to  me after a congressional hearing you choked, I’d have been devastated, but this one, I didn’t care (What is OK for Obama is not OK for Trump?).

BRENNAN: And on a related point, over the course of my professional career I had a lot of beefs with the press, journalists in the media, there were things that I thought misrepresented what the facts were, and I had some lively and animated conversations and even raised voices. But part of what the Intelligence Community’s mission was was to make sure that this great country can have a free and open press (based on leaks?). And something that we have fought for and many people have died for.  And the effort to delegitimize the press and the media, so many of you here represent it, is something that we should not ever allow.  And I know that as Americans we’re not going to allow that effort because that is the beacon, that is one of the real foundational pillars of our free, open and democratic society, is to make sure that the American people can hear from those who have a responsibility, professional responsibility to call it like you see it. And so I just want to be able to say thank you for keeping up this effort and this fight because I think a lot of our country’s future depends on your ability to do your job and do it well to the best of your professional standards. So thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you. Let’s give them a big round of applause. Thank you very much.

 

(Applause)

*  *  *  *  *

FBI CIA and NSA Employees Leak Info for Money or, like ISIS, a Cause

On May 24, 2017, the New York Times published classified photos taken at the crime scene of the terrorist bombing in Manchester. These photos contained secret and classified information that were unfortunately sent to one of the security organizations in the United States—most likely to the FBI and possibly to the CIA or even the NSA.

Unfortunately, the FBI, CIA and NSA are no longer secure due to their illegal leaks of information.

The leakers are in it either for the money or, like ISIS terrorists, for a cause, political or otherwise.

The leakers appear to be completely safe from discovery or prosecution.

C. J. Chivers

C. J. Chivers – the leaker’s helper

The May 23, 2017 article containing the classified photographs was written by C.J. Chivers, an “investigative reporter who works for The New York Times Magazine and the Investigations Desk.”  C. J. (Christopher John) Chivers was born in 1964 in New York. Chivers was assisted by Mika Gröndahl, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Sergio Peçanha and Derek Watkins in writing the article according to the New York Times.

Since Chivers, Gröndah, Lai, Peçanha and Derek Watkins all participated in exposing classified information, one might expect the “authorities” to investigate them thoroughly. Surely, there is a path from one of these individuals to the source of the leak. Unfortunately, nothing has happened to them and they go scot-free and unpunished for their collusion in publishing the leak.

The mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, lashed out after crime scene photos from the bombing there that left 22 dead were leaked to the media — calling doing so “wrong and disrespectful.”

“I felt sick to the pit of my stomach,” Burnham said, describing his reaction to seeing crime scene photos published on The New York Times website.

Burnham, a former rising star in the Tony Blair Labour Party who was elected mayor this month, said he thought the forensic images were especially distressing to victims’ families. Burnham said he has been to the crime scene, which he called a “harrowing experience,” but he said the families of the victims have not had that chance yet.

“To see pictures of it not even in the media here,” he told ABC News. “It was a pretty, pretty tough thing to see.”

Burnham said he thinks the leak is “wrong, it is arrogant, and it is disrespectful to the people of Greater Manchester and particular to the families of those injured during this, our darkest hour.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May has raised her concerns over alleged intelligence leaks from the Manchester bombing investigation with U.S. President Donald Trump.

May discussed the matter with Trump after they posed with other NATO leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. The U.S. and British leaders talked again later, sitting next to each other at a working dinner. May looked stern, while Trump waved his hands.

Manchester police stopped providing information to the United States about the Monday concert bombing after photos of the crime scene appeared in the New York Times.

May said earlier Thursday that she would stress to Trump “that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure.”

So, the likes of Chivers, Gröndah, Lai, Peçanha and Derek Watkins will go on with their work—unpunished and unafraid.

Ignoring Chivers, Gröndah, Lai, Peçanha and Derek Watkins, should we also ignore Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Muller, Alexander and Rogers? Some, if not all of these CIA, FBI and NSA Directors have failed miserably in their duties and ruined the reputations of America’s intelligence organizations.

The Rise and Fall? of James Comey

There are very few crime or mystery novels that approach this true story for its compelling drama, intrigue and brinkmanship (with the nation in the balance).

Let’s begin at the beginning. James Brien Comey Jr., born December 14, 1960) served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from September 2013 until May 2017.

Prior to joining the FBI, Comey had been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and subsequently the United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005.

In August 2005, Comey left the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and became general counsel and senior vice president of Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2010, he became general counsel at Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund based in Westport Connecticut. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He also served on the Board of Directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013.

In September 2013, Comey was appointed Director of the FBI by President Barack Obama. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy. His role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly regarding his public communications, was highly controversial.

Comey was abruptly dismissed by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.

Don’t believe the fake-media story that Trump made a mistake or huge gaffe by firing Comey.

Don’t believe the media narrative from the left that it was an attempt to silence Comey from some investigation into Trump.

James Comey is a deep-water Swamp Denizen who has been highly paid to provide cover for high-level corruption by the Clintons and Obama. He is and has been central to the attempt to destroy the Trump campaign and then the Trump administration from the start.

It was very clever how the President fired Comey when Comey was 3,000 miles away from the convenience his office and records. Comey had no inkling he was being cut, that all his files, computers, and everything in his office were seized by his boss Sessions and the Justice Department. This was not a violation of protocol, it was tactical. Notice how Trump compartmentalized the strike and did not inform any of his White House “staff” to prevent leaks. Notice how he emasculated Comey and the swamp denizens by letting them know in a tweet that the Attorney General got information (surveillance “tapes” from the seizure of Comey’s office) to let Comey and his handlers know that Trump’s DOJ has the goods on them. This was a brilliant strategic move at exactly the right time against horrible, evil and corrupt powers infesting our government.

The Comey Scams

Comey was a minor assistant US attorney in the late 90’s. He only gained power and money by being the DOJ official who “investigated” and cleared Bill Clinton of any wrong-doing in Clinton’s totally corrupt pardon (for huge payoffs) of criminal financier Marc Rich as Clinton was leaving the Presidency.

Marc Rich was an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman. He was best known for founding the commodities company Glencore and for being indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making controversial oil deals with Iran.

Rich was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and never returned to the United States. He received a controversial presidential pardon from U.S. President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, Clinton’s last day in office.

Clinton’s critics alleged that Rich’s pardon had been bought, as Denise Rich had given more than $1 million to Clinton’s political party, including more than $100,000 to the Senate campaign of the president’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and $450,000 to the Clinton Library foundation during Clinton’s time in office.

Federal Prosecutor Mary Jo White was appointed to investigate Clinton’s last-minute pardon of Rich. She stepped down before the investigation was finished and was replaced by James Comey.

Rich’s lawyer, Jack Quinn, had previously been Clinton’s White House Counsel and chief of staff to Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore, and had had a close relationship with Holder. According to Quinn, Holder had advised that standard procedures be bypassed and the pardon petition be submitted directly to the White House. Congressional investigations were also launched. Clinton’s top advisors, Chief of Staff John Podesta, White House Counsel Beth Nolan, and advisor Bruce Lindsey, testified that nearly all the White House staff advising the president on the pardon request had urged Clinton to not grant Rich a pardon.

Consequently, Comey provided “cover” for the Clintons in their gaining incredible power and wealth after leaving office through pardoning a billionaire money-launderer, arms dealer and criminal. Comey was a key piece in how the Clintons upped their corruption game and gained incredible wealth through their foundation after leaving the White House. A huge part of the scheme was giving Marc Rich a free pass when he should have spent life in prison, and that is what Comey covered-up for the Clintons. This set up Comey to be part of the corruption machine, making him powerful and wealthy.

Immediately after doing the Clinton’s dirty work as a DOJ official, Comey resigned from the DOJ and took a position as the head attorney of the Lockheed Martin company, a huge military contractor. While he was in that position Lockheed became a major contributor of millions to the Clinton Foundation. In return for these payments, Lockheed received huge contracts from Hillary’s state department. Comey was the chief legal officer of Lockheed throughout this period of contributions to Clinton Inc. in return for State Dept. contracts.

In late 2012, after overseeing Lockheed’s successful relationship with the Hillary State Department and the resulting profits, Comey stepped down from Lockheed and received a $6 million-dollar payout for his services.

James Comey’s $3.05 million seven-bedroom, 7,157-square-foot in an exclusive town on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast”

In 2013, the largest bank of England, HSBC Holdings, was deep into a scandal. Investigations by federal authorities and law-enforcement had revealed that for years HSBC had been laundering billions of dollars for Mexican Drug Cartels and moving money for Iran in violation of the sanctions, and other major criminal activity. HSBC’s criminality was pervasive and deliberate by the Bank and its officials. HSBC was a huge Clinton Foundation contributor of many millions throughout the “investigation” and Bill Clinton was being paid large personal fees for speaking at HSBC events while Hillary was Secretary of State.  Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department did what they were paid to do, and let HSBC off the hook for a paltry 1.2 billion dollar fine and not one Director, officer or management member at HSBC was fired or charged with any criminal.

At the same time when everyone involved with HSBC Bank, including the Clintons and all their “donors,” were being let off without penalty, and cover had to be provided to HSBC, Comey was appointed as a Director and Member of the Board of HSBC becoming a part of the effort to cover up the scandal and make HSBC “respectable” again.

After about a year as HSBC director, despite his lack of any law enforcement experience, no DOJ leadership experience, and no qualifications for the job, Comey was appointed FBI director by Obama.

The only qualification Comey had was that the Clinton’s and their cronies knew Comey was in bed with them, was compromised and was willing to do their dirty work. Comey was appointed to the FBI right when Hillary was leaving the State Department, and was vulnerable to the FBI because she had been using a private server, mishandling classified information, selling access to favors/contracts from the State Department to Clinton Foundation donors like Comey’s Lockheed Martin, and much more.

The obvious conclusion is that Comey was appointed to the FBI to run interference for the Clinton’s and Obama’s at the nation’s federal law enforcement agency (in conjunction with a corrupt Department of Justice). Comey was and is owned by the Clintons. He owed all his power and wealth to being part of their machine and providing them with cover.

In late 2015 and early 2016, information began to surface regarding the Clinton Foundation and its use by the Clinton’s as a multi-billion-dollar slush fund for corruption and political favors.

This was right as Hillary was beginning her campaign for President. It was revealed that the Foundation had never completed required reports or had an audit. The FBI, under Comey, began an “investigation” of the Clinton Funds. A “professional” accounting firm was brought in by the Clintons to do a review, file some reports, make recommendations to the Clinton Foundation Board, and provide a veneer of legitimacy to the Clinton Fund operations. Predictably, one of the partners in the firm that was chosen (and paid lots of money) is Peter Comey, yes—the brother of James Comey. This brother owes or owed James Comey $700,000 for a loan James gave him to buy a house. To date, nothing has happened as a result of the FBI “investigation” of the Clintons under James Comey.

No one in congress or federal law enforcement was intending to pursue the Clintons, but Judicial Watch and other independent sources obtained information proving that Hillary had been running her own server, sending out classified information, etc. This information began to come out right in the middle of her campaign to be coronated as President. A “show” investigation had to be performed to appear to look into it and clear her. Who to use—the reliable shill, James Comey.

As head of the FBI, Comey—with his lackeys in key positions—deliberately screwed up the investigation into Hillary’s use of a private server. The investigation was deliberately mishandled in every aspect. Comey gave immunity to most all of Hillary’s lackeys; did not use subpoenas or warrants; failed to do any searches or seizures of evidence; did not use a grand-jury, in short everything that could be done to ruin the FBI investigation and to cover for Hillary was done. A “slam-dunk” case became a mess. Immunity was given every witness even though they provided no help. Maybe more importantly, by focusing the FBI on the email scandal, attention was drawn away from the much bigger scandal of the Clinton Foundation that could bring down a huge number of corrupt politicians, lobbyists, and even governments.

Lorretta Lynch was supposed to complete the coverup for Hillary as Attorney General by issuing a finding that the deliberately botched FBI “investigation” did not justify prosecution of Hillary. But Bill Clinton screwed up and met with Loretta Lynch in Arizona shortly before she was supposed to make her decision on Hillary. At this point, Lynch could no longer credibly squash the Hillary scandal. The solution—give the job to Comey. The Clinton’s owned him and he would have to do whatever was necessary to provide cover.

Comey then went on national TV and violated every rule of the FBI, the Justice Department and American law enforcement by revealing some of the FBI’s “evidence” of what Hillary did and, then declared that there was no “intent” and clearing Hillary. Normally the FBI Director does not pass on whether a case should be prosecuted or not, but with Loretta Lynch compromised, Comey did what he was ordered to do. The Justice Department and Obama backed Comey’s coverup and it looked like Hillary had survived the scandal.

Then, right before the election, the New York Police Department (NYPD) obtained pervert Anthony Wiener’s laptop and found classified emails from Hillary on the laptop. The NYPD began leaking details to the media and the story was about to explode. Once again, Comey stepped in to cover Hillary. He short-circuited the NYPD leaks by publicly acknowledging the laptop and the emails, but then claimed just days later that hundreds of thousands of emails had all been reviewed and “nothing new” was on the laptop. Once again, Comey had done his job by providing cover and FBI “protection” for Hillary.

If Hillary had won, Comey would have kept right on providing cover for the corruption of the Clinton machine. He would have kept the FBI paralyzed, prevented the Clinton Fund from being investigated, and continued to do his job for the Clintons.

John McCain passes faked dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to Comey

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, dated  from 20 June to 20 October 2016 alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself. McCain, who was informed about the existence of the documents separately by an intermediary from a western allied state, dispatched an emissary overseas to meet the source and then decided to present the material to Comey in a one-on-one meeting on December 9, 2016.

The material, was drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on published the documents, which it said were “unverified and potentially unverifiable”.

A spokesman for Putin immediately denied that Russia had collected compromising information on Trump and dismissed news reports as a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.”

In response, Trump tweeted, “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Interestingly, some of the reports also proved to be predicting events that happened after they were sent. The reports were produced by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, working for Fusion GPS, a backer of the Clintons. Steele was born in Aden, Federation of South Arabia – interesting.

In September 2015, Republicans who were concerned about the possibility of Trump winning the Republican presidential nomination retained the services of Fusion GPS, a private Washington D.C. firm, to investigate Trump. By early June 2016, it was clear that Trump had secured the GOP nomination for the 2016 general election. It was at this time that Steele’s services were retained by Fusion GPS.

In July 2016, Steele, on his own initiative, also supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome. On March 15, 2017, former CIA Director Michael Morrell raised questions about the dossier. He was concerned about the accuracy of the information, due to the approach taken by Steele to gather it. Steele gave money to intermediaries and the intermediaries paid the sources. Morrell said, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information — you just can’t.”

Still McCain, the Clintons, and Comey pursued their promotion of the phony report. Here is the report for all to see—CLICK!

Comey was either stupid enough or dishonest enough to accept the bogus reports from McCain.

John McCain faces questions in defamation lawsuit in Trump-Russia dossier case

July 12, 2017: Sen. John McCain faces serious questions in a defamation lawsuit about leaks leading to publication of the now-infamous and false dossier he circulated that alleged Donald Trump’s campaign had connections to Russian operatives.

The dossier compiled (for payment) by former British spy Christopher Steele and his London firm, Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., amounted to a collection of uncorroborated reports of collusion gathered as paid political research for sale to Trump’s opponents.

John McCain had dispatched a trusted aide to go across the Atlantic to get a dirty dossier from an ex-spy after former British diplomat, now identified as Sir Andrew Wood, told him about potential blackmail information contained in a controversial dossier.

McCain, 80, put out a statement Wednesday, July 12, 2017, finally admitting that he was the FBI’s source of the controversial dossier. McCain said proudly, he did “what any citizen would do” in turning over the dirty dossier, which contained unconfirmed secrets about the president-elect, Donald Trump. We are not sure that “any citizen” would turn over “unconfirmed secrets” to the FBI.

The story of the dossier began with an investigative firm in Washington, D.C., which was trying to dig up some damning research on Trump for a party known only as a “Democrat.”

The firm had outsourced the research to a “retired western European former counter-intelligence official, ex-spy Christopher Steele, who had a long history of dealing with the shadow world of Moscow’s spooks.

Steele, reportedly found the information that he dug up to be “concerning.” He and another ex-British diplomat, Christopher Burrows, run their own small company, Orbis Business Intelligence.

“If the allegations were real, their implications were overwhelming,” the Guardian wrote. However, they turned to be unsupported and false—just more FAKE NEWS to damage Trump.

Now, two lawsuits—one in the United States and a second in the U.K.—are being brought by lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev, a Cyprus-based Internet entrepreneur whom Steele’s Russian sources accused of cyber spying against the Democratic Party leadership. The lawsuit is against Christopher Steele and his London firm, Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. and could possible be expanded to include John McCain and James Comey.

In the British lawsuit, counsel for defendants Steele and Orbis repeatedly point to McCain, R-Ariz., a vocal Trump critic, and a former State Department official as two in a handful of people known to have had copies of the full document before they circulated it among journalists and even sent it to James Comey’s FBI.

The court document confirms that Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and a Russia adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, discussed the 35-page dossier with jealous McCain who was eager to smear Trump. Counsel for defendants Steele and Orbis repeatedly point to McCain, R-Ariz., a jealous Trump critic, and a former State Department official as two in a handful of people known to have had copies of the full document before it circulated among journalists.

A McCain spokesperson declined to comment on the new court document, pointing instead to a January 11, 2017 quirky statement from the jealous McCain about the dossier to cover up that it was a false smear of Trump. “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI,” McCain had said then. “That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.” Sure, McCain.

Trump unexpectedly wins the election

With Trump’s surprising win of the election, the Swamp the Deep State realized they were at risk from this political outsider who was not one of them. Before Trump took office, a plan was designed and put into place to ruin Trump’s administration and force him out of the Presidency. The key players committed to the plan consisted of the democrat Party, the media, the Obama-Clinton operatives imbedded throughout the intelligence agencies and the entire bureaucracy including JAMES COMEY. The scheme was to smear Trump with Russian “connections,” through a fake FBI “investigation” and to trap him into a charge of criminal interference with the FBI.

The surveillance of the Trump campaign which had actually started prior to the election was continued after the election.

Participants were “unmasked” illegally, and “transcripts” were leaked throughout the government and to the media. There is no actual evidence of any collusion or connection between Trump or his campaign with Russia, but that did not prevent Comey from initiating an “investigation” at the FBI. This provided Comey with protection from Trump firing him immediately. Comey or his minions steadily leaked news of the “Russia Investigation” to the media, and the media did its job by passing the fake news on to the public.

Immediately after Trump was sworn in, the DOJ Hillary/Obama operatives and Comey started the direct attack. This was before Sessions has been appointed to the Department of Justice and the DOJ is still controlled by Obama operatives.

DOJ Obama appointee Sally Yates approached the Whitehouse with news that General Flynn had been in contact with Russia and alleged that he might be compromised. She revealed that there is an FBI “investigation” into the Russia ties (which they are constantly leaking to the media themselves). The White House Counsel—who Yates talked to, not Trump—asked for more information.

The day before the promised additional information was to be provided by Yates to the Whitehouse, Comey set up a dinner with Trump. If he can get Trump to ask about Flynn or try to intervene regarding Flynn or Russia then Trump can be charged with “interfering with an FBI investigation.” It is not unlikely that Comey had this meeting surveilled.

This is a two-pronged attack. It protected Comey and DOJ Democrat holdovers from being terminated by the new administration because they are involved in an “ongoing investigation” that they control the timetable on (albeit one with absolutely no evidence). If Trump fires Comey then he is “interfering with the investigation” which is itself a federal crime that the FBI could then “investigate.” Alternatively, if they can get Trump to question Comey about Flynn or try to get him to back off from Flynn or the “Russia” investigation, then they again have him “interfering.”

Trump knew it was a set up by Comey and that he is probably being recorded. Comey tells Trump that Trump is not under investigation regarding Russia, but that others involved with the campaign are being investigated. Trump did not take the bait in attempting to intervene about Flynn or the Russia scam. Later, Flynn was fired by Trump because Flynn is being used by Comey to try to damage Trump.

Comey verbally told Trump on two more occasions that he, Trump, was not being investigated, but refused to state this fact publicly or when testifying in Congress.

Trump now had to get his Attorney General and Deputy AG in place and get rid of Comey in a way that would allow Trump to obtain all the information that Comey has been accumulating.

Under oath, both Sally Yates and Intelligence officials from the Obama administration state that there was no actual evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. More importantly, Comey, while refusing to say that Trump was not under investigation, testified that he has informed the Senate Intelligence Committee heads who exactly is under investigation regarding Russia.

Trump told almost no one at the White House that he was moving against Comey. Trump somehow contacted Sen. Grassley, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and confirmed that Comey told the Senator that Trump was not under investigation personally. Somehow Comey traveled to California, perhaps maneuvered there by Trump.

Trump seized the moment to take action. While Comey was in California, 3,000 miles away and 7 hours from his office, Trump fires Comey. Trump’s letter firing Comey was hand-delivered to the FBI headquarters by DOJ officials who were ordered to lock-down and seize everything in Comey’s office, including all surveillance files. All Comey’s files, docs, computers and “tapes” were taken to Sessions people at DOJ. They were not taken to the Whitehouse or to Trump, but to Sessions, who has every right to have them. Sessions was then in a position tell Trump that Comey had surveillance tapes of Trump that contradict what Comey has been telling Trump, and perhaps tapes of conversations with other swamp “conspirators.” But Trump did not and does not have them personally or at the Whitehouse.

Comey learned that he has been fired when the media broadcasted it in California. He had no idea it was coming. On cue, the Democrat politicians and media began screaming about Trump’s “interference with the Russia investigation” in accordance with the plan to set up Trump for that charge. The Swamp wanted to blow up the Russia narrative using Comey, and Comey was set to testify before Congress to try to hurt Trump by saying he was interfering with the FBI investigation. Comey fully intended to follow through with the plan to take down Trump.

But because of his brilliant timing on this, Trump has Comey’s files, documents and information safely with Sessions at DOJ. Trump sent out a “crazy” tweet that says: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.”

The media and the politicians went crazy about the “inappropriateness” of this tweet.  They accused Trump of “taping” everyone at the White House. Notice that Trump did not say he taped anyone, or that he has any tapes at the White House. It seems apparent that Trump was telling Comey that the DOJ has the surveillance information and files from Comey’s office. Comey and Trump’s opponents understand the clear message—their plan was in trouble and Trump’s DOJ is now holding all the cards.

The whole Russia interference scheme crashed and burns. While the mouthpiece media, Hollywood and the insane fringe continued to scream about Russia and Comey being fired, the politicians who will soon be in the crosshairs of a legitimate (and ticked) FBI and DOJ were starting to fall strangely silent. Comey realized all the leverage is with Trump.

AG Sessions and his Deputy AG are now able use the Comey trove of information to determine who has been part of the Comey Syndicate at the FBI. They will be appointing an “interim” Director of the FBI shortly who has not been compromised by Comey, Clinton or Obama. That “interim” Director does not have to be approved by Congress or anyone, and can immediately begin cleaning house at the FBI of all Comey/Clinton/Obama minions, initiating investigations of the Clintons, Clinton Fund, violations of intelligence confidentiality laws by Susan Rice and Obama.

Using the Comey files they can be certain they are not getting another Comey as an “interim”, and they do not have to wait for the circus of appointing a new permanent “Director.” Most of the heavy lifting on rooting out FBI corruption and starting investigations into the swamp will be done by the “interim” before a new director is appointed.

In one masterstroke, Trump eliminated a truly toxic and dangerous enemy to his administration and our country, dealt a horrendous blow to the Clinton/Obama and deep state machines, and begun the restoration of the integrity of the FBI and the DOJ.

The Mysterious Murder of Democratic National Committee Staffer, Seth Rich

Is a disgruntled Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer the source of the DNC emails and perhaps others appearing on WikiLeaks?

On July 8, 2016, 27-year-old Democratic staffer Seth Rich was shot and murdered about a block from his apartment in the quiet and respectable Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.. The killer or killers took nothing from their victim, leaving behind his wallet, watch and phone.

Shortly after the killing, social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was on his way to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.

Seth Rich’s father, Joel, told reporters, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”

The Metropolitan police have posted a reward for information on Rich’s murder—with no takers.

In August, Wikileaks offered a $20,000 reward for information on the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

This comes after internet entrepreneur and hacker, Kim DotCom, admitted on Saturday that he was part of an operation along with Seth Rich to get stolen DNC emails to Wikileaks.

Julian Assange suggested back in August 2015 that Seth Rich was a Wikileaks informant. In addition, an anonymous person who works in Washington DC, alleged that high-ranking current and former Democratic Party officials are terrified of the Seth Rich murder investigation as it will show that it is not Russia who is interfering with the U.S. election.

It wasn’t the Russians? And what does Comey know about this or is he part of the cover-up?

The anonymous post released May 20, 2017 reads:

“Anons, I work in D.C.

I know for certain that the Seth Rich case has scared the shit out of certain high ranking current and former Democratic Party officials.

This is the reason why they have backed away from impeachment talk. They know the smoking gun is out there, and they’re terrified you will find it, because when you do it will bring the entire DNC, along with a couple of very big name politicians.

It appears that certain DNC thugs were not thorough enough when it came time to cover their tracks. Podesta saying he wanted to “make an example of the leaker” is a huge smoking gun.”

“The behavior is near open panic. To even mention this name in D.C. Circles [sic] will bring you under automatic scrutiny. To even admit that you have knowledge of this story puts you in immediate danger.

If there was no smoke there would be no fire. I have never, in my 20 years of working in D.C. Seen such a panicked reaction from anyone.

What do Comey and the Democrats know?

June 9, 2017 Update:

Senator John McCain had some interesting questions for former FBI Director James Comey during his appearance in front of the committee on Thursday.

While other committee members focused on meetings and phone calls between President Donald Trump and the former FBI director, McCain harped on a probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“In the case of Hilary Clinton you made the statement that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her although it had been very careless in her behavior, but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her. Yet at the same time in the case or Mr. Comey, you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion. Tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as former Secretary Clinton is concerned and Mr. Trump,” McCain asked.

Comey evaded the question by telling McCain that while the Clinton investigation had been wrapped up, the Trump probe was ongoing when Comey was fired.

“The American people have a whole lot of questions out there particularly since you just emphasized the role that Russia played. And obviously she was a candidate for president at the time so she was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news as you just described it ‘big deal’ took place,” McCain continued, “You’re gonna have to help me out here. In other words, we’re complete in the investigation and anything that former Secretary Clinton had to do with the campaign is over and we don’t have to worry about it anymore?”

Still evading an answer, Comey said, “I’m a little confused senator.”

McCain continued to press the point asking again how one investigation could be closed, while another remained open.

“I don’t quite understand how you could be done with that, but not be done with the whole investigation of their (Russia) attempt to affect the outcome of our investigation. So you’ve got one candidate that you’re done with, and another candidate that you have a long way to go, is that correct?” McCain continued.

Comey reiterated that the probes into the Clinton emails and the Trump campaign were separate investigations which was not the point at all.

The former FBI director called Russian involvement in the campaign ‘very serious’ but said that there was no investigation as to whether they had coordinated with the Clinton camp and why?

“So both President Trump and former candidate Clinton are both involved in the investigation, yet one of them you said there are going to be no charges, and the other one the investigation continues. Well, I think there’s a double standard there to tell you the truth,” McCain said closing the trap on Comey.

Later, McCain explained his line of questioning. “What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice. In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence. I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump—whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice. While I missed an opportunity in today’s hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record.”

Wood had told Britain’s The Guardian in January that McCain had reached out to him about the dossier, and had obtained it through other means. The court document confirms that Wood, Steele and former State Department official David Kramer decided together that new information gathered after the election should be shared with authorities in Britain and the United States.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article160622854.html#storylink=cpy

 

 Comey the Leaker

“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” the president tweeted early Friday morning after Comey’s admission under oath at the Senate hearing that he leaked his document.

Trump was citing the former FBI director’s acknowledgement that he had leaked his own memos about his conversations with the president. Comey told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had hoped to prod the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation — which occurred last month. Comey did not only confess to what could be a serious crime, but interfered with the Justice Department’s decision on appointing a special council.

In so doing, Comey through his friend, Daniel Richman, under the bus for having Richman serve as a conduit to get the leak to the press. Richman confirmed by e-mail to several reporters that he was the “good friend” and law-school prof who Comey slipped the documents — then hightailed it out of his tony Brooklyn Heights home and refused to answer any more questions—a fugitive on the run thanks to his pal, Comey.

Now, President Donald Trump’s outside counsel will file a leak complaint regarding Comey’s leaked memos with the Department of Justice.

This is because Comey testified Thursday that he allowed a personal friend, Daniel Richman, to leak a memo of his conversations with the president to news outlets in hopes it would trigger the appointment of a special counsel. Since Comey’s memo was written while Comey was still FBI Director, and stored on FBI equipment, this is allegedly a crime on Comey’s part.

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of a memo with the reporter,” Comey told the Senate yesterday during several hours of questioning. “I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

In a statement after Comey’s testimony, Kasowitz labeled Comey as “one of these leakers” who are “actively attempting to undermine the president” and strongly suggested that federal authorities investigate Comey’s leaks.

Singapore Teen Blogger, 18, Granted US Asylum

Amos Yee

Amos Yee

Singapore teen blogger Amos Yee, 18, who was jailed twice in Singapore for posting political and religious criticism online, has been granted asylum in the United States.

Yee has been detained in the US since he arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in December.

He came into the country on a tourist visa but truthfully told immigration officials he was actually seeking refuge.

Following Friday’s ruling, Yee is expected to be released shortly.

Judge Samuel Cole released a 13-page decision, which said Mr Yee faced persecution in Singapore for his political opinions.

“Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore,” Judge Coel ruled. “Accordingly, this court grants his application for asylum.”

In his 13-page opinion, Judge Samuel Cole said, Yee was described as a “young political dissident.” “The evidence presented at the hearing demonstrates Singapore’s prosecution of Yee was a pretext to silence his political opinions critical of the Singapore government,” Cole wrote.

Cole’s ruling went against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which had fought against Yee’s asylum request, arguing that the Singaporean government had legitimate reasons to arrest Yee. Yee has been jailed twice in Singapore for posting critical comments about Singapore’s former prime minister, and about Christianity and Islam online, and his situation has been a driving force in the debate over free speech and censorship in the Southeast Asian city-state.

Cole said testimony during Yee’s hearing showed that while the Singapore government’s stated reason for punishing him involved religion, “its real purpose was to stifle Yee’s political speech.” He said Yee’s prison sentence was “unusually long and harsh” especially for his age.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch applauded the asylum decision and expressed hope the decision would not be appealed.

“Singapore excels at creating a pressure cooker environment for dissidents and free thinkers who dare challenge the political, economic and social diktats from the ruling People’s Action Party. It’s clear the Singapore government saw Amos Yee as the proverbial nail sticking up that had to be hammered down,” said a statement from Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director.

Yee’s attorney Sandra Grossman said her client was elated with the news.

“He’s very excited to begin new life in the United States,” Grossman said.

Amos Yee is not the only one celebrating his US asylum win – many Singaporeans are pleased as well.

The teenage critic is one of Singapore’s most controversial figures, where he is viewed with exasperation but also a measure of sympathy. Singapore is known for its strict rules on free speech, especially when it comes to race and religion – rules which the US judge said have been used by the authorities to constrain dissent.

Following Mr Yee’s explosive remarks about Singapore’s late leader Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity, Mr Yee had continued to fall foul of the law by breaching bail conditions and making further critical comments about religion.

Even by leaving Singapore he has committed an offense, as he is avoiding mandatory military conscription.

Many Singaporeans empathize with Amos, who has clearly struggled with the country’s restrictions. “Congratulations Amos. He can now lead the free life he wants in the free world. It’s just his bad luck that he was born in Singapore,” said another commenter on Facebook.

Mr Yee’s lawyer, Sandra Grossman, said he could be released as early as Monday.

In statement, Ms Grossman applauded the judge’s decision and said, “The right to free speech is sacred, even when such speech is considered offensive.”

In September 2016, Yee was given a six-week prison sentence in Singapore after being found guilty of “wounding religious feelings” because he had posted a video critical of Christianity and Islam.

He was also jailed by a Singapore court for four weeks in 2015, for criticizing Christians and for posting a video about the country’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

His video, posted on YouTube days after Lee Kuan Yew’s death, compared the widely-respected founding father of Singapore to Jesus Christ.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated, “The US adopts a different standard, and allows such hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech. The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran,” noted MHA.

“Singapore takes a very different approach. Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged.”

MHA also pointed out that the US Department of Homeland Security had opposed Yee’s asylum application on the basis that Yee had been legitimately prosecuted.

The Department of Homeland Security has 30 days (until Apr 24) to file an appeal.

25 Mar 2017 – Singapore MHA’s Comments on Amos Yee’s US Asylum Application

1. In 2015, Amos Yee was charged for engaging in hate speech against Christians.

2. He had said “Christians … are … power hungry and malicious but deceive others into thinking that they are compassionate and kind. Their impact and legacy will ultimately not last as more and more people find out that they are full of bull….. Similar to the Christian knowledge of the bible, and the work of a multitude of a priests.”

3. He was convicted on the charge. He was also convicted on another charge for publishing an obscene image. He was sentenced to a total of four weeks imprisonment for these charges.

4. In 2016, Yee was charged again for hate speech, this time against Muslims and Christians.

5. He had said “the Islamics seem to have lots of sand in their vaginas too…. But don’t mind them, they do after all follow a sky wizard and a pedophile prophet. What in the world is a ‘moderate muslim’? A f*****g hypocrite that’s what!……. With all due respect, Christians, you can shove that faith up your ass. Faith! Faith! I’d be damned at this retardation of humanity. F**k you, Christian shits”

6. He pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment and a fine of $2000.

7. He was represented by counsel in both the 2015 and 2016 proceedings.

8. Yee had engaged in hate speech against Christians and Muslims.

9. The US adopts a different standard, and allows some such hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech.

10. The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran .

11. Singapore takes a very different approach. Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged.

12. The US Department of Homeland Security had opposed Yee’s asylum application, on the basis that Yee had been legitimately prosecuted.

13. It is the prerogative of the US to take in such people who engage in hate speech. There are many more such people, around the world, who deliberately engage in hate speech, and who may be prosecuted. Some of them, will no doubt take note of the US approach, and consider applying for asylum in the US.