Thursday, May 14, 2020
The Unmasking Scandal
You wouldn't know it from watching the mainstream media, but there is a major unmasking scandal unfolding right now. And, no, it has nothing to do with the coronavirus and which administration official isn't wearing a mask.
I am referring to the declassified list of 39 high-ranking Obama officials who made 49 requests after the 2016 election to reveal or unmask Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's name in classified intercepts.
As you would expect, U.S. intelligence agencies are constantly surveilling foreign individuals. Occasionally, those conversations include American citizens. Privacy laws require that the names of American citizens be "masked" or hidden in transcripts of intercepted calls.
Asking to see the identity of the American citizen is not illegal, and they can be "unmasked" or revealed if there is a valid national security reason to do so. What is illegal is giving that classified information to someone who does not have a security clearance, like a reporter.
That is precisely what happened in the case of Gen. Flynn when the Washington Post ran a story in December 2016 about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
The disclosure that multiple Obama officials asked to unmask Gen. Flynn in the closing weeks of the administration raises many disturbing questions, most obviously "Why?"
Most of these officials were leaving their government posts. What was the urgent national security need for them to unmask Flynn?
He was a top adviser to candidate Trump during the campaign, and he was the incoming National Security Adviser to President-Elect Trump. Of course, Flynn was having conservations with his foreign counterparts.
The suspicion is that the Obama team exposed Flynn's contacts in order to set up the Russian collusion narrative, which tied the Trump Administration in knots for three years.
Former Vice President Joe Biden's unmasking request is particularly bizarre because it came eight days before Trump took the oath of office. What was the urgent counterintelligence need for Biden to know Flynn's name?
Leakers & Liars
We know someone leaked Flynn's name to the media, and that was a crime. It also seems that a number of former Obama officials may have lied to Congress about their unmasking efforts, and that's also a crime.
Former Rep. Trey Gowdy asked former CIA Director John Brennan if he recalled any U.S. ambassadors making unmasking requests. Brennan said it was "ringing a vague bell," but he couldn't recall any specific examples.
Well, former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power was an unmasking machinewho reportedly made "hundreds of unmasking requests" in 2016. How is it possible that this would not stick in Brennan's mind?
When Power was asked about her many requests, she denied it, suggesting that someone else used her name without her knowledge.
Hopefully, Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham are quickly getting to the bottom of this scandal.
There Was More
I have suggested multiple times that the surveillance of political opponents by the Obama Administration was far more widespread than the Flynn scandal.
You may recall that the administration secretly seized the phone records of the Associated Press.
John Brennan once ordered the CIA to spy on the Senate Intelligence Committee. When confronted about the spying, he indignantly denied it, saying, "That's just beyond the scope of reason." He was later forced to apologize for the outrageous breach.
James Clapper lied to Congress about the NSA's spying on American citizens.
Decades ago, J. Edgar Hoover authorized wiretaps of Martin Luther King, Jr. When the Bureau's tactics were exposed, many Americans were outraged, and rightly so.
But today it seems that the entire progressive movement thinks it is okay to deploy the vast tools of our national intelligence agencies against conservatives.
Open The Schools
During his Senate testimony earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about reopening the schools later this year. He seemed to suggest that was "a bridge too far." He later clarified that counting on a vaccine by September in order to assist with opening the schools would be a bridge too far.
The media reported Fauci's first statement, and not his clarification, to suggest that Dr. Fauci was against reopening our schools.
Yesterday the president was asked about Fauci's remarks. Trump said, "The schools are going to be open. . . I was surprised by his answer. . . to me it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools."
Every group and politician who claims to care about minority children and low-income children should be endorsing the president's view.
Middle class children with access to computers and parents who are often well-educated can avoid falling behind because of the advantages they have. Children from poor, less educated families, already struggling to close an educational gap, will likely fall further behind.
In recent days, we have heard about a new medical phenomenon linked to Covid-19. Children are developing a condition that appears to be an overreaction of the immune system to the virus, which can be serious. Some on the left and in the media are now suggesting that we must keep the schools closed because of this new condition.
There are more than 2.5 million children in the New York public school system. As of yesterday, there were 102 children with this immune reaction. All recovered except for three confirmed deaths related to the condition.
In 2017, 262 children in New York died from random accidents. Sixteen died from pneumonia. No one would ever suggest that the schools be shut down for those reasons.
A Special Day
On this day 72 years ago, May 14, 1948, the modern state of Israel became a reality. And on this day, two years ago, the United States officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state.
Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a top priority for Christians United for Israel, which I am honored to be part of, and for American Values. Pastor John Hagee and I worked closely with the Trump Administration to make sure this move happened.
There was tremendous resistance from the left and virtually the entire foreign policy establishment. Many so-called "experts" predicted mass carnage if the embassy was moved. They were wrong.
Israel is the only country in the world that cannot say where its capital is and insist that foreign embassies be located there. This move was long overdue, and promised by multiple presidents of both parties.
I am also pleased to report that the Never Again Education Act passed the Senate this week, and now heads to President Trump's desk for his signature. The act provides $10 million for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to develop educational materials on the Holocaust for the nation's schools.
Sadly, studies in recent years have found a shocking degree of ignoranceabout the Holocaust, while anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee applauded the passage of the Never Again Education Act, saying:
"If there exists a silver bullet to defeat the spread of bigotry and hatred, it is education. Through this legislation, teachers around the country will have federal support in their efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism by teaching about its abhorrent consequences."