For those paying attention, Russia has become considerably more forceful in the last six years. From military intervention in Ukraine over control of the Crimea peninsula, to substantial increases in air platform surveillance and military flights around Japan, to incursions into northwestern U.S. and Canadian air defense zones, to submarine and spy ship activities off the eastern and gulf coasts of the U.S., suspected computer system hacking of major American banks and maybe even the shoot down of a Malaysian passenger plane, Vladimir Putin has the Russian bear roaring for all to hear.
Putin is a devout nationalist who pines for the glory days of the Soviet Empire and all the muscle and influence that once made it a great super-power. His attempts to regain what he believes Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin threw away have been documented and discussed almost to exhaustion, but this latest show of force has more ominous tones than merely the flexing of renewed confidence.
Remember that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a retired Lt. Colonel in the infamous KGB where he initially served in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence). He spent the bulk of his career in The First Chief Directorate, the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and technical intelligence.
It is, then, no coincidence that Putin’s push comes following Edward Snowden’s theft of terabytes of data from the National Security Agency (NSA) and his flight to and residence in Russia. Snowden’s cover has been that he is a whistleblower inspired by conscience to reveal NSA surveillance of American citizens. Despite the massive amount of information Snowden stole, that which he uses to justify his actions amount to a miniscule portion of the total take. So what else did he take that he has not shared with the world? And who else has it?
The Japanese Defense Ministry says instances of Russian bomber and spy sorties near and sometimes within Japan’s air defense zone has “more than doubled” only six months after Snowden arrived in Moscow. Actual incursions into the zone jumped by 70%.
Is Russia afraid of Japan? Is it worried that Japanese forces are gathering in Hokkaido to launch an attack on Kamchatka? Of course not. What the Russian military is doing is testing; not aircraft and ships, but intelligence collection capabilities.
In the flights near Japan, Russian bombers intentionally lit up Japanese and American defense detection and tracking capabilities. The surveillance aircraft and their ground control and support units are monitoring fighter scrambles and testing Command and Control Communications (C3), radar, telemetry, Japan Air Self Defense Force/U.S. Pacific Air Force interaction, scramble codes, communications frequencies and even satellite coverage and accuracy. In doing so, Russia can better assess their own ability to operate in an intelligence collection-rich environment and do so near their own border. But it is likely that Russia is doing more than just tweaking responses. They may well be testing new capabilities.
By the end of the Soviet Union, the military was a sad and antiquated shell of the forces that shadowed the world in Cold War brinkmanship. As Putin’s military machine grows, he wants to make sure it is as modern and efficient as any in the world. He also needs to make it as obscure and unreadable to U.S. monitoring, collection and analysis.
Using information gathered by Edward Snowden, the new Russian military will improve its own intelligence expertise and develop counter-measures to neutralize those of the United States and his other perceived challengers.
Snowden did not create Putin’s bravado nor did he embolden the Russian president’s resolve. Nonetheless, the intelligence Edward Snowden gave Vladimir Putin has and will enhance Russia’s ability to create a more powerful and confident adversary for the West. With the top secret information he now holds, Putin hold the world hostage as he recreates the Evil Empire.
That will be Edward Snowden’s true legacy.Don't forget to Like The Washington Sentinel on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our friends at The Republican Legion.
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OSINT: “We Are In Deep Trouble”
A friend, probably the foremost practitioner of open source intelligence (OSINT), has been developing his craft for over 40 years. He has created nearly 1,500 search engines to comb through the internet, including the Deep and Dark webs and millions of online resources resident OPENLY on networks around the world.
He does no hacking, trolling, phishing or engages in any illegal or even questionable practices or techniques to obtain data. Everything he collects is obtained from sources resident on open and active networks and without expectations of privacy.
Advanced software allows the machine translation of 85 languages and his team has developed extraordinary decryption programs. His programming expertise has created algorithms to conduct machine analysis and computations that turns data into knowledge.
He sent me the following. What he says is fascinating, educational and a little frightening. It is important – critical – to understand this information is neither classified nor obtained by classified intelligence techniques. And I agree with his conclusions.
I am sitting here looking at our OSINT analysis, simulations and forecasts — and realize that we are in deep trouble!
- Russia is now able to take over the Middle East and control a large percentage of the world´s known oil reserves
- Our analysis suggests that Russia will soon have a naval base in the Gulf.
- China is expanding rapidly in SE Asia
- North Korea continues to build missile and nuclear warheads
- Iran keeps on supporting terrorist groups
- The Taliban will soon control all of Afghanistan, and we have spent trillions of dollars and many lives for nothing
- ISIS are expanding in Asia and in Europe
- NATO no longer trusts us
- Many of our long term allies and friends are withdrawing their support due to our policies
- Our domestic political situation is a total mess. No one is running the country anymore
- Israel is feeling more and more isolated
- Russia is now on their way to claim a large portion of the North Pole with all of it´s mineral resources
- Venezuela is a mess, and we are not doing anything about it
- We have a potential nuclear conflict brewing in the Kashmir
- Russia and China are “taking over” African countries one by one, promising grand loans and support
- Russia, China, Iran et all are preparing to influence our 2020 elections
- We are heading for a global recession
All of above are pretty obvious to most of us, so why are we not doing anything about it? We are so busy mud-slinging in the swamp, that we are about to lose our standing as the greatest democracy on Earth. If we don´t support democracy around the World, democracy will die. That doesn´t mean that we have to play World Police either.
Last week I met a few good friends attending the AUSA in DC. Without exception, they had made the same observations.
My dear friend, I am really concerned for our country. Please tell me that what I am seeing is incorrect. If not, how can we help to prevent our great nation from becoming an isolated 2nd rate World Power??? What only takes a few months to lose will probably take decades to rebuild.
We have to be mature enough to disregard all partisan nonsense and look at what it best for our country!
(Republicans) are “losing” 3-4 states to the radical left, especially California and our weekend simulation now suggests that Mr. Trump will lose in 2020 – unless something is done.
UPDATE: “Whistleblower” or (Lousy) Spy Within?
UPDATE: Sources – unconfirmed – indicate the “whistleblower” held a clearance normally granted to support personnel who may come in contact with information of a higher classification level.
The Yankee White clearance, according to Wikipedia,
… is an administrative nickname for a background check given in the United States of America for Department of Defense personnel and contractor employees working with the President and Vice President. Obtaining such clearance requires, in part, a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) which is conducted under the manuals of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Individuals having Yankee White clearances undergo extensive background investigation. The Yankee White clearance includes requirements of U.S. citizenship and unquestionable loyalty to the United States.
This suggests said “whistleblower” is not a career intelligence professional.
Also, not only was the complaint written by a group of people, as first reported here last week, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and others knew about the complaint at least two weeks BEFORE it was filed. This means there was collusion between the “whistleblower” and Congressionl Democrats and those Democrats withheld the information from their Republican counterparts.
What transpired in that time?
Was the “whistleblower” coached by Intelligence Committee members or staffers?
Was the complaint edited by Democrats?
Was CIA or Director of National Intelligence leadership, Inspectors General (IGs) General Counsels (GCs) or staffs aware of or complicit in a Democrat-only Congressional heads up? If so, why was there no equal notification to cleared Republicans on the Committee? If intelligence Community leadership did NOT know, why not?
Sources have confirmed that the individual who filed a “whistleblower” compliant against President Trump is currently under federal protection in a government safe house on the outskirts of Washington, DC.
Although the identity of the individual is known, releasing his/her identity would likely be a federal offense and could possibly put him/her in physical danger.
Nonetheless, the same sources note that the individual is very politically active, and (s)he appears to represent a similar conspiracy to that revealed within the FBI and the “Russian collusion” hoax.
Having experiences with intelligence agency IGs, I recognize the critical value of the IG process in calling out organizational misfeasance. IGs and their legal counterparts, the GC, walk a very sensitive path in mitigating personnel complaints. Normally, the role of the GC is to protect the organization from legal danger and, again from experience, they do so with hairtrigger sensitivity.
But, not only is the “whistleblower” complaint process vital to organizational integrity, it is also a perfect bureaucratic maneuver to embarrass, shame or falsely accuse. A finely crafted complaint with almost minimal validity might worm through the system. If the complainant is coached, however, as appears to be the case here – and especially given the high profile accused – his/her accusation would certainly be fast-tracked.
The accusations that prompted the “whistleblower” clearly do not merit the Congressoonal and legal scrutiny it has gotten. At best, the individual should have asked his agency’s GC if, (1) what (s)he was told about the Presidents call was accurate and (2) if, true, was what he said legally questionable?
Given what has been reported and information I have from other source(s) the “whistleblower” is a politically active, partisan Democrat employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is unacceptable – despicable – for an intelligence officer to use privileged information to promote personal political beliefs.
Interestingly, were this intelligence officer reporting on a foreign leader’s conversation, his/her summation would be diamissed as eexaggerated hearsay.
“Whistleblower” Complaint Written By Committee
It would be very unusual to see a complaint from an individual having been written by “a committee” before it is initially filed. This was a very organized and deliberate effort.
Document analysis (grammatic profiling) software has determined that the complaint submitted to Congress regarding a telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky was written by more than one person. (more…)
Analysis: Iran War May Go Nuclear
An overnight analysis of thousands of foreign language documents indicate the most likely developments in the Iranian crisis.
Iranian controlled groups in Yemen, Iraq and in Syria will launch additional missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. will respond with a massive (>100) Tomahawk cruise missile stand-off attack from naval ships and submarines in the Mediterranean.
The Iranians will attempt to jam the GPS guidance in the cruise missiles and in the aircrafts, using Russian supplied jammers.
Iran will launch a large number of missiles against U.S. bases and ships in the Middle East, as well as against targets in Saudi Arabia, Israel and other Gulf states. They will temporarily cause a halt in Saudi oil production, leading to petroleum shortages and rapidly rising prices and stunting the global economy. All shipping traffic through the Strait of Hormuz will stop.
Israel will respond with low flying aircraft attacks against Iranian nuclear sites and military bases.
The U.S. will respond with massive ordnance air blast bombs (MOABs) against Iranian underground mountain nuclear labs and missile storage facilities. The U.S. and Israel will lose a number of aircraft to Russian designed AAA batteries / missiles.
This all depends upon the leadership in Tehran. The old religious leadership will not hesitate to use nuclear warheads against Israel and Saudi Arabia, but younger leaders are less anxious to escalate. Should Iran decide to use ICBMs with nuclear warheads (developed in cooperation with North Korea), regional casualties on the order of 10-20 million people and significant global consequences can be expected.
Analysis also indicates a high probability that Kim Jung Un will soon transfer additional nuclear warheads to Tehran, using Russian and Iranian commercial airlines, with the full knowledge of Vladimir Putin. It is, then, critical that the United States and her allies initiate enhanced tracking of large Iranian and Russian aircraft in the region with tactical plans tk intercept and divert suspicious flights.
The potential for increased Iran-centric conflict is certain and with it, a greater likelihood of war. Unfortunately, the Rouhani regime is all too willing to escalate it’s twisted ideology to a nuclear level, even if it means an even more certain suicide.
Iran Wants War and Trump Knows It
The tensions in the Middle East are increasing very nearly to a point of no return as Iran ramps up the rhetoric, seemingly itching for a fight. When words didn’t get the reaction for which they were hoping, they attacked – by proxy – Saudi Arabian oil, clearly trying to goad their adversaries into military action. (more…)
As whistleblower scandal simmers, ‘executive privilege’ takes center stage
The concept of executive privilege looks to be heading toward center stage as Adam Schiff and the democrats continue this whistleblower madness.
The sheer number of supposed controversies that have enveloped this White House over the course of the last two years tells us something very important, but often overlooked.
Namely, that the mainstream infotainment industry and the democratic party are sharing a paradigm that wholly opposes the President in whatever it is that he chooses to pursue. It’s a carte blanche “resistance” that provides few avenues for forward progress in our nation, allowing the left to focus on their goal of “getting” Donald Trump.
It’s scandal-hopping, plain and simple, and the latest ridiculous ruse portends that the President has made inappropriate promises to a foreign leader while engaging in a private conversation.
But here’s the question that the mainstream media isn’t asking: What about executive privilege?
Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and democratic Congressman Adam Schiff have been sparring over the information contained in the whistleblower complaint in which the President is alleged to have acted inappropriately. Maguire has asserted that he has every right to withhold this information from Congress, for possibly several reasons.
To justify withholding the whistleblower complaint from Congress, Maguire appears to make one or more of four arguments: (1) he has the authority to overrule the ICIG’s determination that the complaint includes a credible allegation implicating an urgent concern (perhaps by asserting that the conduct is not covered by the ICWPA); (2) he is authorized to withhold the complaint because it implicates the deliberative process privilege; (3) he is authorized to withhold the complaint because it implicates the executive privilege over national security matters; and/or (4) he is authorized to withhold the complaint “to protect vital national security interests of the United States.”
Does the White House have the right to do this? According to some, the answer is emphatically “yes”, but not without having to do a little extra work.
The current jurisprudence on this matter supports the argument that the executive branch can assert the deliberative process privilege to withhold information that would reveal its decisionmaking processes from a congressional subpoena, but says that in doing so the executive branch must jump through some hoops. The relevant ruling, however, is procedurally complicated and of dubious precedential value, due to the political machinations of the parties in litigation.
Schiff hasn’t allowed possible claims of executive privilege to stop him, however.
“The inspector general has said this cannot wait,” said Schiff, describing the administration’s blockade as an unprecedented departure from law. “There’s an urgency here that I think the courts will recognize.”
Schiff said he, too, could not confirm whether newspaper reports were accurate because the administration was claiming executive privilege in withholding the complaint. But letters from the inspector general to the committee released Thursday said it was an “urgent” matter of “serious or flagrant abuse” that must be shared with lawmakers.
The letters also made it clear that Maguire consulted with the Justice Department in deciding not to transmit the complaint to Congress in a further departure from standard procedure. It’s unclear whether the White House was also involved, Schiff said.
This fight is certainly far from over, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the concept of executive privilege challenged by Schiff and Co. in the coming weeks.
President Trump Should Consider Van Hipp for National Security Adviser
President Donald Trump needs a national security adviser and he should consider national security expert Van Hipp for the position.
With news that John Bolton has been ousted as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, the office is open to be filled. The president should consider national security expert Van Hipp.
Hipp, 59, is the former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and is currently the chairman of American Defense International, Inc. (ADI), a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development, and public relations.
The Wofford College graduate is also a member of the board of directors of Washington’s premier conservative group, the American Conservative Union, and is on the board of the conservative Palmetto Promise Institute. He is also a member of the foreign policy group the Committee on the Present Danger.
Aside from his service to the GOP in his home state, Hipp has some experience in federal government, as well.
In 1990, Hipp, a veteran of the U.S. Army, became a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Reserve Forces and Mobilization) to assist in mobilization of reserve forces ahead of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Hipp was also named as the number two lawyer for the navy and was appointed the principal deputy general counsel of the navy by then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. He fulfilled that role until 1993.
Since the attacks on September 11, Hipp has also served as a commentator for Fox News on national security and has appeared over 500 times across the Fox News network.
Hipp also penned the book, The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It, in which he examines the threats we face including terrorism via cyber warfare, and threats to our national sovereignty via incursions at the border.
The national security expert has previously warned that “political correctness” is making us less safe as people handwring over social engineering at the cost of our security against terrorism.
Hipp is a supporter of the president and recently praised Trump for his “great restraint” on Iran, saying that Trump has “made the right moves” on the Persian threat.
But Hipp also counseled the president to speak directly to the Iranian people.
“The world is beginning to see Iran for the brutal terroristic regime that it is,” Hipp wrote for Fox News. “The United States has made all the right moves to this point. Dusting off the old Reagan playbook on Poland and communicating directly to the Iranian people can help the Iranian regime to feel the heat at home and force them to do a better nuclear deal for the free world. And, executing the Reagan playbook might work for the Iranian people just like it did for the people of Poland.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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