Comey’s communicativeness with the committee—and through it with the public—will almost certainly be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the Russia investigation.
Lawfare Blog makes a lawyerly prediction of the meaning of testimony today.
Let me start by saying that I have absolutely no inside information about the testimony FBI Director Jim Comey is going to give Monday morning before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I have not discussed what Comey might say with Comey himself or with anyone else who is in the know, and I’ll thus be watching the hearing with the same level of uncertainty as everyone else will. If this were not the case, I almost certainly would not be writing this piece.
But free as I am from the shackles of any actual knowledge, let me offer readers the following user’s guide to Comey’s testimony, which can be summed up in one simple sentence: Comey’s communicativeness with the committee—and through it with the public—will almost certainly be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the Russia investigation.
That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama’s alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent. Conversely, a quiet, reserved Comey—one whose contrast with the relatively loquatious FBI director who talked at length about the Clinton email matters will infuriate a lot of liberals and frustrate those who want to know what’s going on with Russia—may well spell trouble for the President.
But there is a question over the obtuse insistence that when President Trump said ‘wiretap’ this MUST mean 5 guys sneaking somewhere and splicing a phone line into some recording equipment, or a microphone SOMEWHERE.
I hasten to INSIST myself, that most modern buildings have IP phones, which means your voice goes into the phone, is converted from analog voltages in the microphone of the handset, digitized, and then using the IP address of the phone (just like your computer) heads for the internet where it can be routed as any file can. Just like a cell phone. Have your phone over your cable system? Congrats.
So ‘wiretap’ CERTAINLY means electronic observation of any kind. We now know that We-Vibe a Canadian, ‘smart-vibrator’ company has just paid a huge fine because its vibrators send a signal to your cell phone, and then to THEM, so that they can ‘better understand’ how, when, how frequently, and for how long, you want to get off. We also know that James Clapper admitted that the NSA ‘inadvertently‘ was ‘wiretapping’ congress, and we know that all the cell phone companies COOPERATE with the NSA by allowing all metadata (when call was made, from, to, duration, locations) concerning phone calls to be collected and of course the CONTENT being digital is recorded and held in the , well, …
for your safety and convenience. Utah. 1 million square feet of 6 terabyte hard drives (that we are ‘allowed’ to know of). For your safety and security. Besides….
Love the mission statement. Ironically James Clapper HAD SOMETHING TO HIDE ..what’s in the building.
The point is, the wiretapping EXISTS, because anything we do on the internet is at least logged, IP phones included, and while a logical argument can be made that having the contents ‘around’ to examine should we later see killers are connecting with each other, in order to make that happen WE ALL HAVE ALL OUR CONNECTIONS AND CONTENTS held.
Just in case.
I simply do not believe, given the history of the NSA, and CIA during public testimony that they DON’T have the contents held as digital files. The only limit here is hard drive real estate. A 6TB hard drive can be had today for less than $200.
Legally, and theoretically the FISA court has to go thru a process for the contents out in Utah to be ‘accessed’. Of course in another building, the NSA and the CIA have folks whose job it is to get information and contents JUST LIKE THAT without anyone being the wiser. And five allied nations have access any time to connect to this information and extract what they want or need. So there are many ways this information, already ‘wiretapped’ can be handed around without ONE SHRED of knowledge by the FBI, which hearing the words ‘national security’ and ‘ally’ might not want to know everything they ought.
All of this is why it is the POLITICAL HEAT, and PUBLIC EXPOSURE at war with each other at this point in US history, that makes this all interesting (academically speaking). In reality the line up is all of Washington, and 95% of the media, MANY financial centers, and ALL OF THE REST OF THE WORLD (including Putin, who seeing the new military budget is probably having a fit) against Donald Trump (and the majority of people in the 37 out of 50 of states).
I personally expect Comey to state there is no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and he knows of know evidence of wiretapping the President in Trump Tower, and FUCK YOU Trump.
Both statements may be true to him.
Reality, however, is a far different proposition.