A Phone Call Away

TimeWatch Editorial
February 12, 2017

Suddenly, within the last few days, the media has been doing some research regarding an event that took place before the installation of the New President. One of the many headlines can be found in The Washington Post, February 9th 2017. The title of the article is National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say.” The article is written by Greg Miller Adam Entous Ellen Nakashima

“The Post’s Adam Entous reports that national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the transition of power included discussion of sanctions. National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.”Greg Miller Adam Entous Ellen Nakashima National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say.” The Washington Post, February 9th, 2017

As interesting and perhaps as inappropriate such communication is, it is yet to be decided whether or not Flynn will receive any particular reaction because of his actions, but there are some elements to this event that are worthy of consideration. First, there would be the timing of his actions. Listen to how the article continues.

“Flynn’s contacts with the ambassador attracted attention within the Obama administration because of the timing. U.S. intelligence agencies were then concluding that Russia had waged a cyber campaign designed in part to help elect Trump; his senior adviser on national security matters was discussing the potential consequences for Moscow, officials said. The talks were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the Nov. 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said. In a recent interview, Kislyak confirmed that he had communicated with Flynn by text message, by phone and in person, but declined to say whether they had discussed sanctions.”Greg Miller Adam Entous Ellen Nakashima National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say.” The Washington Post, February 9th, 2017

Second, when asked about the communication, the truthfulness of his reply has left some doubt as to its accuracy.

“The emerging details contradict public statements by incoming senior administration officials including Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect. They acknowledged only a handful of text messages and calls exchanged between Flynn and Kislyak late last year and denied that either ever raised the subject of sanctions. “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence said in an interview with CBS News last month, noting that he had spoken with Flynn about the matter. Pence also made a more sweeping assertion, saying there had been no contact between members of Trump’s team and Russia during the campaign. To suggest otherwise, he said, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.” Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats.”Greg Miller Adam Entous Ellen Nakashima National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say.” The Washington Post, February 9th, 2017

Even though it may appear at first glance that this editorial is about Retired United States Army lieutenant General Flynn, it really is not, or at the very least, it is not about whether or not his actions were illegal or merely inappropriate. I assure you the editorial does not seek to establish judgment, one way or the other. What is truly amazing is the very last sentence in the above quoted paragraph which says: “Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats.”

The question is, how can a military officer not be aware of the fact, that an integral part of our military infrastructure is the ability to listen to the conversations of any or all of those individuals who might be passing information on to those who are not considered our friends and of course those who ARE considered our friends also? James Bamford in his book “The Shadow Factory” describes the National Security Agency this way.

“By 2008, the NSA had become the largest, most costly, and most tech­nologically sophisticated spy organization the world has ever known. It had also become the most intrusive, secretly filtering millions of phone calls and e-mails an hour—international and domestic—through equip­ment programmed to watch and listen for hundreds of thousands of names and phone numbers. To sift through it all, the agency has the world’s largest collection of data-eating supercomputers. Its newest, code-named “Black Widow,” is a colossal $17.5 million Cray computer made up of sixteen tall cabinets crammed with thousands of processors. It is able to achieve speeds of hundreds of teraflops—hundreds of trillions of opera­tions a second—and the NSA predicts that it will soon break the petaflop barrier, plowing through phone calls, e-mails, and other data at more than a quadrillion operations a second.” James Bamford, “The Shadow Factory” The Introduction, Page 2, Copyright © 2008

By now there cannot be that many individuals who are completely unaware that the fourth Amendment which says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” Has long been abandoned! One would have hoped that someone chosen to be head of the Department of National Security would have been aware of this! This is truly an example of how successfully we have been conditioned to ignore facts that we are fully aware of, while delivering for free, information that would be difficult for the powers that be to obtain by some other means.

We have been so successfully conditioned, that we, daily deliver random information through the technology that is in existence today. What is most troubling is that we’re too lazy to care.

Cameron A. Bowen

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