Whom Do You Trust?

Back in the late fifties and early sixties, Jack Paar ruled late night TV on NBC and his successor, the great Johnny Carson, had a quiz show at the time which went by a few names: “Who Do You Trust?”, “Do You Trust Your Wife?”, and third time the charm, “Whom Do You Trust?”. Johnny Carson became the alpha dog on TV for thirty years after replacing Jack Paar on the Tonight Show. But back then, who knew?

The only point of that nostalgic trip down memory lane for baby boomers is to introduce the really important question: “Whom do you trust?” and by inference, the related question: “Whom do you distrust?”

I trust President Trump.  I trust most of his advisors. I trust his family. I trust the instincts of his base. I have not caught President Trump in a willful lie, despite the claims of the media. I do not trust anyone at the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN. They are willful, serial liars.  I do not trust most climate scientists. I do not trust Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or Chuck Schumer. I especially distrust Hillary Clinton. I distrust Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, and Jim Comey. I distrust pretty much every Democrat politician and many Republicans, but I do trust Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul. I may not always agree with their specific proposals, but they don’t lie and I generally trust their judgment. Those were easy. Another easy one is John Bolton. I trust him not to lie. But even these trustworthy individuals can be misled with false information from sources they trust.

We live in an era where loyalty to ideology on the left has superseded loyalty to America. Think about the implications of that observation. It does not mean that every Democrat is untrustworthy. But it does mean that everything such people say needs to be scrutinized.  It is so bad that, if I were on a jury, I would consider all testimony by known Democrats or liberals, and most RINOs against the defendant, to create instant reasonable doubt.

Naturally, those on the left distrust the people I trust and trust the ones I distrust. This is the great divide in America today.

Two of the top intelligence figures in the Obama administration, namely John Brennan (CIA Director) and James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) are loyal Democrats. Clapper has already perjured himself in testimony before a Congressional committee. These men are not trustworthy. Anything they say based on their opinions derived from classified information, not available to the rest of us, is suspect.

Yes, those were easy. But in many cases, it is hard to know whom to trust nowadays on any question. Sometimes it is even hard to make comparisons. But I will try. This is largely based on impressions I have developed over the years. Trust can be quite subjective.

Here is the sad, nasty truth as I see it. I do not trust the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community to tell the truth to the American people or to the President. I do not trust senior career officials at the Justice Department or the FBI or federal prosecutors to be objective and impartial. I do not trust half of the federal judiciary to uphold the Constitution.

Consider the investigation by Special Counsel Mueller. Why should I trust him? I don’t know him. I had barely heard of him until recently. But he is a close friend of Jim Comey. He has been appointing Hillary Clinton donors to his staff. Not a single Trump supporter. Is he merely tone deaf or actually corrupt? Who suggested that the President should name Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General? Lots of questions but no answers. I see no reason to trust Mueller. He may end up being fair or he may not. But he is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Once again, the situation is sad and dangerous. No trust. Trust requires a lot of work to establish. It can be destroyed in an instant of perception.

We are asked to decide whom to believe on the question of whether or to what extent agents of the Russian government “meddled” in the recent election.  We are never given a clear definition of “meddle.”  The only concrete action alleged is that Russian agents gained access to some emails belonging to the Democratic National committee and/or Hillary Clinton. And further that they revealed these emails to the public.  There is no doubt that somebody revealed them. The direct revealers seem to be Julian Assange and Wikileaks, perhaps in conjunction with an unknown hacker called Guccifer. They have made a career of doing such things. The question is whether they received the information from the Russian government or from some non-Russian hacker source or even an inside leak rather than a hacker. Julian Assange says he did not receive the information from the Russians. Putin denies any involvement. Putin is not trustworthy. But Assange? I know of no example of Assange releasing false information. I trust him. I trust him more than I trust Mueller, more than every Democrat, more than every mainstream media outlet. Nobody lies about everything. Could Putin be telling the truth in this case?

It is worth emphasizing at this point that we have not seen any evidence of actual hacking by anybody. There is credible evidence that the information was copied by an insider and passed on to Assange. The most likely leaker was a young DNC employee named Seth Rich, who was murdered. People who cross the Clintons seem to have lower-than-average life expectancies.

Then there is the question of “collusion,” another conveniently undefined term. Not even Trump’s enemies in the media and in politics have offered a concrete accusation of some quid pro quo from the Trump campaign in return for the truth about Hillary and the Democratic Party.  How about “obstruction of justice”?  The DNC has refused to turn over its computers to the FBI. Sounds like obstruction to me. Hillary has yet to reveal all her e-mails. Sounds like obstruction to me.  What has anyone in the Trump organization done that in any way impedes an investigation? The answer is nothing. Imagine if Ivanka had smashed her iPhone (Blackberry, actually) like Hillary did!  The lynch mobs would be out in the streets. Uh oh, if any liberals are reading this (highly unlikely) they are thinking “gotcha” now. After all, didn’t the President fire Big Jim Comey? Well, yes, but do they think that the head of the FBI takes an active role in the hard investigative work necessary to look into possible wrongdoing? Even if he did, removing one person out of dozens hardly interferes with getting at the truth.

We were told by the New York Times that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies are certain “it” was the Russians. They give no hint how they know or why they are certain.  I know a bit about computers and can’t figure out how you can be certain when dealing with a sophisticated adversary like Russian intelligence. Then it turns out that it was not 17, but 4. One of those 4 was the DNI (director of national intelligence), who made no independent investigation but simply aggregated reports from the other 3. Those 3 are the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Pretty impressive group, right?  The lie about the 17 agencies was repeated by dozens of Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle. It was repeated by so–called journalists and respected pundits.  Well, maybe or maybe not. I have no reliable source myself, but I do have the impression that it was only one or two agents from each of them.  Think about it. A single unattributed story in an unreliable newspaper. Details are classified, of course. Why? To protect undercover agents or to help senior officials advance their own agendas? That is where trust comes in. I trust none of those people. I don’t necessarily actively distrust all of them, but I have no reason to trust any of them.

Let that sink in. Congressmen who supposedly examined classified evidence repeated the NYT lie about 17 agencies. Yet now the NYT has retracted it. What does that tell you about the reliability of those Congress critters?  Did any of them complain that the NYT threw them under the bus? I have no verifiable facts to help me choose between believing Assange and Putin over Clapper, Brennan, and other U.S. officials.

I have recently heard John Bolton say that he has heard from people familiar with undescribed classified material that confirms Russian “meddling” or “interference.”  Had he said that he had seen the classified intelligence himself, it would give me pause. Bolton would be a hard guy to fool, yet there is enormous pressure on everyone -- even him -- to confirm any accusation against Putin.

What Bolton actually said was that "Everyone who has looked at the classified information says there's no doubt the Russians tried to affect the election.”

Maybe I am being too hard on Bolton, but without knowing who looked at it, and any sense of what evidence they found, I have to treat it as unreliable hearsay. No serious unclassified evidence has been put forward. No classified information has been made public. Perhaps some has been made available to select members of Congress. I hope it is obvious that they do not have the technical expertise to judge the validity of technical computer evidence as to who was behind any hacking.

It is the job of one man to fix this. It may be as important and difficult as anything else President Trump does. I trust him to try but the forces arrayed against him are formidable. We seem to have a set of incompatible goals here. One is to carefully protect classified information from public display. Another is to see the actual evidence proffered in support of charges of meddling. There’s that word again: “meddling.”  Hacking a computer is only the first step in meddling.  Changing the vote count electronically would certainly be meddling. Nobody has charged that.  

Secrets are the enemy of the truth. Yet privacy requires some secrecy. My bottom line is that if Putin was behind the release of some of Hillary’s emails, then he did us a favor. That doesn’t make him good. It doesn’t make his motives pure. But it doesn’t turn truth into lies. And, yes, we need more cyber-security, no matter who did the hacking, if any.  In libel and slander cases, truth is an absolute defense. So, too, it ought to be in cases where meddling is asserted. Can simply telling the truth ever be called improper meddling? Can desiring to know the truth ever be considered collusion?

Let us imagine that there is an interesting piece of factual information held by a hostile foreign power. Someone comes to you, offering to give it to you for free or for a price. If you work for the CIA, or for a newspaper you take the information, maybe even pay for it, and earn a commendation or a Pulitzer. But if you work for a political campaign should you refuse even to discuss it? According to the left, it borders on treason to even have a conversation about it. These pontificating clowns claim they would take it right to the FBI. Take what to the FBI? An unknown offer of unknown information from an unknown source claimed by an unreliable casual acquaintance.

Very sad. Very dangerous. I have no reason to trust James Clapper more than Vladimir Putin. That does not make me an apologist for Putin. But we have no choice but to deal with the man who controls thousands of nuclear warheads. We do have a choice not to allow partisan hacks to control our intelligence agencies. Some of you may find that to be disloyal, but it is not. I am loyal to the truth and I have no way to choose. President Reagan famously quoted a Russian proverb to Gorbachev “trust but verify.” My take-away is that absent verification, the safe path is to distrust. Reagan never provided a playbook on how to verify, but he relied on onsite inspections. Do we need onsite inspections in our own intelligence community?

How can we cut this Gordian knot? I think we classify way too much. Actual military secrets should be protected. The reasoning of intelligence officials, not so much. This is controversial, but we must weigh the secrecy craved by the intelligence community against the fact that all this information is ultimately the property of the American People. The current crisis of confidence can only be resolved by full release of all relevant facts to the alleged Russia hacking.  Much of it gets selectively leaked anyway.  Too many people know it to keep it secret. Our enemies know it already. President Trump should immediately declassify all of it, publish it online, and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.  Even if the only source for important facts is a hostile source, it is better that the American people know the truth than that they remain in the dark.

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Source : http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/07/whom_do_you_trust.html

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