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arendt

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Current location: Massachusetts
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 5,078

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A "limited hangout". The best DC Kabuki since Fitzmas.

A limited hangout is, according to former special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Victor Marchetti, "spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting—sometimes even volunteering—some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further."

- Wikipedia, Limited Hangout

The Clintons have always been blessed with Republican opponents who are unbelievably stupid, who completely overplay a modestly decent hand and lose. Sometimes I think they have to paid off to be so stupid. The GOP never learn that trying to dirty up the Clintons just gives them more armor against such charges in the future. What the Clintons do to Republicans makes Muhammed Ali's (dog rest his soul) rope-a-dope look clumsy. And, "oops, they've done it again." The email denouement leaves the GOP and the FBI with egg all over their bodies, with any investigation of Hillary for any reason politically pre-empted worse than a Russian nuclear first strike.

The problem I have is that, when this happened to Cheney, when Fitzmas was a flameout that barely got Scooter Libby (whom know one had ever heard of before his indictment), DU was appalled. Go back and look at the disappointment, the conspiracy theorizing that was posted on this very board during 2006-7. Now, turn the volume of GOP rage down by a factor of ten and compare it to Fitzmas. Let me refresh your memory on Fitzmas.

By March 28, 2006, some bloggers were reporting that on the basis of interviews with people close to the Plame investigation, indictments against Rove or National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley were imminent. However, by mid-June 2006, it was announced that no charges would be brought against Rove. In early April, The New York Times ran a front page story linking Libby to a leak, supposedly ordered by Dick Cheney, that Iraq had been attempting to acquire uranium in 2002. By the thirteenth of the month, many media outlets, including the New York Times, retracted this story,...

Robert Novak's testimony in Libby's perjury trial made it known that the two senior administration sources he cited in his article were Richard Armitage and Karl Rove. A month later Armitage claimed Fitzgerald had instructed him not to go public with this information. Journalist Michael Isikoff received confirmation from Rove's lawyer and from lobbyist Richard F. Hohlt that Rove was also faxed an advance copy of the article revealing a CIA covert agent's identity several days before it was published.
- Wikipedia, Fitzmas


Democrats thought their champion, Patrick Fitzgerald was going to indict Rove and Cheney for revealing Valerie Palme as a secret agent. (Just an ironic note: Fitzgerald was appointed by none other than....Jim Comey.) Instead that got some nobody who's sentence was commuted by W.

So, for the purpose of understanding what the GOP are likely to say and do, use Fitzmas times ten to gauge their feelings. And, unfortunately, there are actual Democrats and former terror prosecutors who share the GOP's sense of betrayal by Comey.

They say that Comey made a complete muddle of this. They say he should have indicted because laws were broken. Instead, they say, he rewrote the law; then he smeared HRC. This couldn't have gone better for HRC if she written the script herself: She is exonerated and the FBI look like thugs. From now forward, any time someone asks anything about Hillary's emails, the answer is: Comey, Comey, Comey.

The talking points are: believe the exoneration from the FBI, don't believe that the scandalously unprofessional charge of "extreme carelessness" means anything at all. Heads she wins; tails he loses. Talking points don't care that laws were twisted both to smear her and to protect her. Try explaining those twists to anyone with less than a J.D. in a ten second soundbite. Not going to happen.

I don't have a J.D.; but, unfortunately, I am one of those damn "purists" who thinks that we ought to obey black letter law, whether we are GOP or Democrat, whether we are whistleblowers or office holders. So, just for the record (which shall never again see the light of day), let me list some comments by Law Enforcement officials:

1. Andrew McCarthy – former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman
and eleven others, obtaining convictions for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing:

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense...


2. Former prosecutor (and Clinton supporter) Chuck Hobbs:

With Comey indicating that over 100 emails analyzed by his agents contained some level of classified information, and with him further indicating that Clinton used her private servers in areas where “hostile actors” could have easily accessed her account, as a former prosecutor, I would think that a prosecution should be forthcoming; such would be the logical conclusion considering the facts that Clinton agreed not to break the law and that she broke the law either knowingly or negligently.

Comey’s comments constitute a form of legal sophistry in that prosecutors did not need to prove that Clinton intended to commit a criminal act. Comey and staunch Clinton apologists keep providing cover by adding that element — intent — that simply is not needed. Indeed, under federal and state laws, negligence roughly means an “indifference” or careless attitude toward the proscribed conduct and with Comey calling the conduct “extremely careless,” an argument can be made that Clinton was grossly negligent in her acts.


Since a lot has been made of the fact that the emails were "not properly labelled", I would like someone to explain to me what happened to the charges/evidence that HRC told someone to (paraphrase) "cut off the headers and send it to me"? What happened to the charges that the emails were "born classified", as anyone who has had a high level security clearance should know? What happened to high-level classified CIA info being sent in by Sid Blumenthal? Does he get a pass too, because it wasn't properly labelled? Was any of that addressed in the Comey media circus?

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Now, here is where it gets really brilliant - limited hangout brilliant. If Comey had just let Hillary go, there would have been a lot of talk about how he "caved", about all the lose ends I just mentioned. But, by stepping all over his own dick on camera, no one is talking about caving. The unforced, mega-error that Comey made is the "new information that so intrigues the public that it never pursues (the original) matter seriously". What Comey did was unprecedented, unprofessional, and just plain wrong.

Either Comey is just another unbelievably stupid GOPer, or he was influenced. We will never know, because it is the perfect hangout. Comey becomes the patsy. Listen to some legal minds:

3. Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker:

I’ve been involved in the criminal investigation for the FBI of Congressmen, Senators, and officials of every description …. I cannot ever remember any FBI director – or any FBI official – coming out with a referral and the substance of a recommendation. So that it in itself is highly, highly unusual.


4. Matthew Miller, who was a spokesman for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder, called Comey’s press conference an

absolutely unprecedented, appalling, and a flagrant violation of Justice Department regulations.” He told The Intercept: “The thing that’s so damaging about this is that the Department of Justice is supposed to reach conclusions and put them in court filings. There’s a certain amount of due process there.


----

There you have it. Well played by Comey. The best performance at the inside-the-beltway Kabuki Theatre since Scooter Libby took the fall for Darth Cheney. Comey's performance is a thing of beauty. It all depends on what his definition of "negligent" is. He is the pinata that will never break for the Democrats.

Maybe people who think that HRC can do nothing wrong think this whole bit of Kabuki is great. The rest of us are thinking, what if that was Cheney or Bush or (worse) some future rightwing gangster who broke black letter law and got off. We cringed when the Bush-Cheney DOJ made a mockery of the rule of law. We should cringe at this demonstration that the law today is whatever high officials (i.e., Comey) say it is, not what is on the books.
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