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  JFK INSIDE JOB
Posted by: Richard Gilbride - 21-11-2021, 01:46 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

My new book JFK INSIDE JOB is finally available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1956803491/ref...oks&sr=1-1

My publisher was painfully slow sending me the galleys, thus creating a tardy release date. Each essay has an introductory preface, describing my reasons for composing the piece. My overall motive for doing this book was to preserve my research against possible internet censorship. I have a couple more JFK essays planned, one more hopefully ready by February, which will look into the biological basis for Oswald's doppelganger.

I also have a podcast for the book which should be out in a few more days; that will be posted in a separate thread.

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  Mike Ruppert on the Plandemic
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 13-11-2021, 04:58 PM - Forum: Players, organisations, and events of deep politics - No Replies

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  Another New Film on September 11 by Avery - 'The Unspeakable'
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 02-11-2021, 08:15 AM - Forum: 911 - No Replies



Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and Executive Producer William Hurt are proud to announce the release of The Unspeakable, a feature-length documentary by Dylan Avery.
 
The Unspeakable follows four families in their struggle to find the truth about the murder of their loved ones on September 11, 2001.
 
We believe this film has the power to open hearts and change minds in a way that no other 9/11 film has, so please do everything you can to share it widely.

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  Assassination of Paul Wellstone - and Why It Likely Was Done!
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 25-10-2021, 03:40 PM - Forum: Political Assassinations - No Replies

Was Radical Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone Murdered to Secure Republican Control of the United States Senate?
By
Jeremy Kuzmarov
-
October 25, 2021
https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/10...e/#respond
[/url]




  • [Image: larger-view.jpeg?resize=267%2C177&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and his wife Sheila jog to their campaign bus after casting their ballots in their hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, on November 6, 1990. Wellstone defeated Sen. Rudy Boschwitz in the general election. [Source: minnesota.publicradio.org]
  • [Image: a-group-of-people-in-a-forest-descriptio...C406&ssl=1]Federal investigators sift through debris in this October 27, 2002, file photo, from the twin engine plane that crashed two days earlier near Eveleth, Minnesota, killing Sen. Wellstone, his wife Sheila, daughter Marcia and several others. [Source: twincities.com]
Hailed by The Nation as “the Senator from the Left” and by Mother Jones as “the first 1960s radical elected to the U.S. Senate,” he was killed in a 2002 plane crash just 10 days before a crucial election he was likely to win—a win that would have clinched Democratic control of the Senate by a single vote.
Although officially designated an “accident,” could a new investigation reclassify it as an “assassination,” placing Wellstone in the ever-lengthening line of murdered political figures—from John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy—who threatened the status quo?
[Timed for the 19th anniversary of Wellstone’s death, this article continues CAM’s series into political assassinations in the U.S. and marks the beginning of a week of articles on this topic.—Editors]
In the fall of 2002, in the midst of a heated re-election campaign—and after delivering a strong rebuke to the Iraq War in the Senate chamber two weeks earlier—Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone (D) was beginning to pull ahead of his Republican opponent, Norm Coleman.
The Democrats at that point only had a slim 50-49 one-seat advantage in the Senate.
But then, on October 25th, Wellstone’s plane went down, and history was changed.
[Image: pall-bearers-carry-the-casket-of-sen-pau...C608&ssl=1]Pallbearers carry Senator Wellstone’s casket in Minneapolis after his funeral on October 28, 2002. Wellstone’s sons Mark and David are on the lower left. [Source: startribune.com]
With Wellstone dead, the Democrats convinced Walter Mondale—Jimmy Carter’s Vice President—to come out of retirement at age 74 to run against Coleman, but he lost narrowly.
The Republicans in turn reclaimed control of the Senate, which they nailed down with the victory of Saxby Chambliss over Max Cleland—attributed by many to illegal Republican machine manipulation of the vote.
A Democratic Party politician told investigator Michael Ruppert: “I don’t think there’s anyone on the Hill who doesn’t suspect it [that Wellstone was assassinated]. It’s too convenient, too coincidental, too damned obvious.”[1]
A former CIA operative further told Ruppert: “having played ball (and still playing, in some respects) with this current crop of re-invigorated old white men, these clowns are nobody to screw around with. There will be a few more strategic accidents. You can be certain of that.”[2]
[Image: michael-ruppert-wikipedia.jpeg?resize=143%2C136&ssl=1]Michael Ruppert [Source: wikipedia.org]
The World Socialist Website noted that, after gutting the social safety net and plotting the criminal invasion of Iraq, “to imagine that the neo-fascist GOP leadership would suffer moral “qualms over a conveniently timed plane crash would be naive in the extreme.”
Official Explanation
Wellstone was traveling on October 25th with his wife and daughter to the funeral of the father of one of his good friends and supporters in the Minnesota State legislature, Tom Rukavina.
Official blame for the crash was initially placed on the weather, which was misdescribed as involving freezing rain. The day of the crash was overcast and chilly but above freezing.
The plane was also equipped with a very sophisticated de-icing system which it did not actually need to activate.
When the weather was eliminated as a cause, responsibility for the crash was directed against the pilots, even though the principal pilot, Richard Conry, 55, had 5,200 hours of experience, the highest possible rating, and had passed his Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) “flight check” just two days before the fatal flight.
One former co-pilot who had accompanied him 50 times described him as the most careful pilot with whom he had ever flown.[3]
[Image: it-is-heartbreaking-said-garye-martin-of...C350&ssl=1]“It is heartbreaking,” said Gary Martin of St. Paul, who brought flowers to place on the fence outside of Paul Wellstone’s University Avenue headquarters. [Source: twincities.com]
Early Arrival of FBI Indicates Foreknowledge
The arrival of an FBI team from the Twin Cities in Minnesota at the scene of the crash in Eveleth as early as noon—when the site was only identified an hour earlier and FAA authorities only confirmed the crash at 12:15 p.m.—raises immediate suspicion that they were there to clean up the scene of incriminating evidence.
Jurisdiction over an investigation of this kind was held by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the travel time between the Twin Cities—193 miles from the crash site in a remote area of Eveleth—was at least two and a half hours.
This is a highly conservative estimate, particularly considering the fact that the crash site according to the local sheriff was a “real unpleasant piece of property that required all-terrain vehicles.”[4]
[Image: a-picture-containing-tree-outdoor-ground...C410&ssl=1]Memorial to Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila at the crash scene in a remote area of Eveleth, Minnesota. [Source: minpost.com]
The FBI team would have had to have left the Twin Cities, at the latest, at 9:30 a.m.—and probably well before—to get to the crash scene by noon—an hour before Wellstone’s plane crash and well before there were any signs of problems with the flight.
Never Trust a Spook
By late afternoon, an FBI spokesman, Paul McCabe, issued a statement—repeated in newspapers across the country—that there was no indication the crash had been related to terrorism.
That a definitive conclusion could be rendered so quickly appears to be impossible.
The NTSB nevertheless deferred to the FBI’s judgment—even though it was supposed to have jurisdiction over the investigation—and reiterated the claim that there was no foul play.
A year-long investigation seemingly confirmed the latter conclusion.
The NTSB at the time was headed by Carol Carmody who was a former employee of the CIA.
[Image: a-person-smiling-for-the-camera-descript...C137&ssl=1]Carol Carmody [Source: commons.wikimedia.org]
Wellstone had in the past questioned the abuses of the CIA and was skeptical of the intelligence surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War.
Wellstone was also strongly pro-union when Carmody had managed a firm that administered Taft-Hartley pension plans [Taft-Hartley was a notoriously anti-union law passed by Congress in 1947].
[Image: sen-paul-wellstone-d-mn-6-21-44-10-25-02...C207&ssl=1]Not exactly a poster boy for Carol Carmody, the FBI or CIA. [Source: whatwouldjackdo.net]
After the crash, Carmody searched for an in-flight voice recorder—which there was none, or which the FBI removed from the scene and destroyed.
She also breached protocol by announcing that the weather was behind the crash when this was speculation—only factual information is supposed to be released.
James Sanders, author of a book on the 1996 crash of a TWA flight, referred to Carmody as a “political hack willing to accommodate those who can make her a brighter future.”[5]
[Image: a-picture-containing-indoor-ceiling-desc...C155&ssl=1]Ruins of TWA flight 800 that crashed after takeoff from New York’s JFK Airport in July 1996. [Source: wikipedia.org]
Sanders believes that the TWA flight crashed after a bomb went off on board and that Carmody helped to cover this up.
Carmody was also involved in the investigation and apparent cover-up of a plane crash that killed Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan (D) in October 2000 when he was in the thick of a campaign for the U.S. Senate against John Ashcroft ®, who was later appointed as Attorney General by President George W. Bush.
[Image: remembering-gov-mel-carnahan-19-years-af...C865&ssl=1][Source: stltoday.com]
Suspicion Deepens
More suspicion about the possibility of a cover-up was aroused by a) the destruction of records of planes landing in Duluth the morning of the Wellstone crash, b) missing information from logs about those at the crash scene, and c) the NTSB’s cancelation of a public meeting for comments from citizens about the crash.[6]
First responders to the crash scene were ordered not to take photos by the FBI, and even the Associated Press had trouble getting photos—its photographer was only allowed 15 minutes at the crash site, which was unusual.[7]
The NTSB’s year-long investigation was chaired by two public relations specialists—and not aviation experts—appointed by George W. Bush, whose personal dislike of Wellstone was well known and long-standing.
One, Ellen Engelman Connors, worked on Bush’s Homeland Security team, and the other, Mark Rosenker, was director of the White House’s military office. Secret History
The NTSB had a record of covering up aerial terrorism dating back to the Nixon administration.
Sherman Skolnick’s 1973 book, The Secret History of Airplane Sabotage, detailed the sabotage of a United Airlines plane in Chicago in December 1972, a month after Richard Nixon’s re-election.
[Image: the-lost-liazon-the-mystery-of-dorothy-h...C502&ssl=1]Crash scene of United Airlines flight 553 carrying 12 passengers related to the Watergate burglary. [Source: roughdiplomacy.org]
[Image: dorothy-hunt.jpeg?resize=138%2C203&ssl=1]Dorothy Hunt [Source: Spartacus-educational.com]
Twelve passengers related to the Watergate burglary died in the crash, including Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, wife of the Watergate burglar and CIA operative who herself served in the CIA.
According to Skolnick, Ms. Hunt had more than $2 million in valuables, obtained by blackmailing Nixon over his role in the 1963 assassination of JFK.
Skolnick’s team reviewed unpublicized NTSB files which indicated sabotage, and Skolnick accused the NTSB—which headed the investigation—of participating in a cover-up.[8]
[Image: image-result-for-united-airlines-flight-...C957&ssl=1]FBI agents took control of the scene and immediately began sifting through the wreckage looking for something—as in the Wellstone crash. At least one survivor recognized a “rescue worker”—clad in overalls sifting through wreckage—as an operative of the CIA. [Source: roughdiplomacy.org]
What Happened to Wellstone’s Plane
The St. Paul Pioneer reported the day after the crash that there was “no distress call or any indication of trouble before the plane went down about 10:20.”
The pilot’s last transmission occurred at 10:18 a.m. where there was “no evidence from the pilot’s voice that there was any difficulty, no reported problems, no expressed concerns.”[9]
At 10:19 a.m., radar showed that the aircraft began drifting south. The last radar appearance—coming two minutes later—showed that the plane took a curious turn west, away from the runway and then a steep dive, indicating that the plane was out of control.
[Image: larger-view-1.jpeg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1]Ruins of Wellstone’s plane. [Source: news.minnesota.publicradio.org]
[Image: text-description-automatically-generated...C500&ssl=1][Source: oilempire.us]
The wing flaps, which should have been fully extended for landing, were extended only to 15 degrees—the setting used for an initial approach descent.[10]
Two eyewitnesses claimed that they heard the engines of the plane cutting out, or going on and off—a phenomenon not in alignment with an aerodynamic stall, which the official investigation claimed.
After the plane cut out, a diving noise was heard, followed by an explosion.
Another witness reported hearing a gunshot going off or loud bang beforehand—indicating a possible sniper attack.
Other eyewitnesses saw blue smoke coming from the crashed airplane—which indicated an electrical, and not fuel, fire—and evidence that the fuselage burned badly, and the wings did not.
The latter was odd because the fuel was in the wing tanks, which had been separated from the fuselage as it went through the trees and should have emitted thick black smoke.
Another oddity was that the wing section was charred but the tree that the plane supposedly clipped was not.
This would indicate that either the wing was moved from the crash site (unlikely and illegal) or the wing was on fire before the plane hit the ground—caused possibly by a bomb–accounting for the lack of damage to the tree itself.
[Image: a-picture-containing-outdoor-tree-person...C410&ssl=1]Investigation of plane crash site. Note the presence of the FBI, although the NTSB was supposed to have jurisdiction. [Source: scribblguy.50megs.com]
Autopsy reports indicate that three of the victims had smoke in their lungs which implied they had survived the moment of impact long enough to be affected by the fire, or that the plane was on fire on the way down.[11]
More Evidence of Foul Play and Cover-up
Jim Ongaro who was within a stone’s throw of the plane, told investigator Jim Fetzer that he received an odd call on his cell phone at about the exact time of the crash in which he heard a cross between a roar and a loud humming noise on the other end. A friend further left him a message which he never received on voicemail.[12]
Ongaro also said that another friend told him that co-workers of his that were pilots said that there was no way that the plane should have burned up the way it did.
When Ongaro emailed the Duluth office of Congressman James Oberstar, Oberstar (D-Minn.) responded by stating that the FBI had already investigated any possibility of foul play and ruled it out.
[Image: a-person-in-a-suit-smiling-description-a...C204&ssl=1]James Oberstar [Source: wikipedia.org]
According to researcher Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) and James H. Fetzer, the key to understanding the crash was the complete cessation of communication between the pilots and the control tower in the minutes before the crash.[13]
Pilot error or mechanical problems could not account for loss of communication nor could difficult weather, indicating foul play.
Four Arrows and Fetzer speculate that a small bomb may have caused the crash, or direct energy weapons that the military had developed, or an electromagnetic pulse that police use to stop carjackers during high-speed chases.
Previous Assassination Attempt
Wellstone had survived a previous assassination attempt in December 2000 when he had traveled to Colombia.
At the time, Wellstone was a leading congressional critic of Plan Colombia, a $1.3 billion program to finance Colombia’s War on Drugs which involved aerial spraying of coca fields by private military contractors who stood to make a huge amount of money.
As Wellstone was traveling from the airport in Bogota after his arrival, a bomb was found along his route. The State Department downplayed the incident and it was thereafter forgotten.[14]
[Image: paul-wellstone-during-his-visit-to-colom...C328&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone during his visit to Colombia in March 2001 where he survived an assassination attempt. Wellstone was a strong critic of Plan Colombia. [Source: politico.com]
The next day, Wellstone and his staff were sprayed with glyphosate, a chemical that has been routinely documented as the cause of a variety of illnesses in the local population. It has left certain regions of Colombia, as one native put it, “without butterflies or birds.”
Manipulation of Pilots?
Despite an excellent reputation, Richard Conry served two years in federal prison for mail fraud in connection with a family business he was running.
This criminal past suggests the possibility that he was manipulated into participating in a conspiracy plot and convinced to carry something on board the plane that he thought was contraband or narcotics but was really a tracking device or bomb.[15]
If that was the case, this would explain why Conry sounded nervous in a routine pre-flight phone call with air traffic controllers about the weather.[16]
Co-pilot Michael Guess, 30, also had a criminal record, so he could have been manipulated as well.
Was the Murder Weapon an Electromagnetic Weapon?
Researchers Four Arrows and Fetzer believe that Wellstone’s plane may have been taken down by an electromagnetic weapon (EMP)—such as a laser beam—that the military applied in Iraq.
EMPs are capable of unleashing in a flash as much electrical power—2 billion watts or more—as the Hoover Dam generates in 24 hours, and destroying any electronics within 1,000 feet of the flash by short-circuiting internal electrical connections.
[Image: the-laser-weapon-system-is-designed-to-b...C464&ssl=1]Laser weapon developed by General Atomics and Boeing, designed to be mounted on a variety of platforms. [Source: newatlas.com]
According to Four Arrows and Fetzer, there are a number of ways that EMPs could have been used in the Wellstone crash.
A small incendiary bomb may have been placed in the airplane and activated by radio wave when the plane was near the airport or a pulse bomb could have been fired at the airplane on approach causing the electronics system to go out of control.
Jamming could have been activated and a decoy VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) signal sent, tricking the plane’s instruments and pilots into believing the airport was somewhere several degrees off the true course to the runway, with the pilot following that signal into the ground.
The non-descript van, full of covert electronic jamming equipment, afterwards would have casually left the area, looking just like any other TV repair truck or moving van.[17]
Two witnesses—Megen Williams and a blond-haired man interviewed on CNN—said they observed a flash of light at the rear of the plane shortly before the crash, giving credibility to the EMP/laser weapon theory.[18]
After being struck by EMP, Wellstone’s aircraft could have functioned more or less normally but without any control systems, instruments or radios. This would account for the assertion that the plane engines were still running when the plane hit the ground.
When the plane crashed, someone may have made sure cockpit instruments were consumed in flames—on the remote chance that a serious full inquiry were to be demanded.[19]
An Idealist in Washington
Paul Wellstone was a rare breed in U.S. politics: an idealist and true progressive who was dubbed “the conscience of the U.S. Senate.”
[Image: senator-paul-wellstone-d-mn-or-sen-paul-...C208&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone as a Tar Heel wrestler. [Source: pinterest.com]
The son of Ukrainian immigrants who stood only 5’5″, Wellstone grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 after writing a thesis entitled “Black Militants in the Ghetto: Why They Believe in Violence.”
A championship wrestler in high school and college, Wellstone’s political outlook was forged through his participation in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s.[20]
In 1969, Wellstone moved to Northfield, Minnesota, to teach political science at Carleton College where he stayed for the next 21 years.
The FBI took note of the bushy-haired college professor when he was arrested on May 7, 1970, at a protest against the Vietnam War at the Federal Office Building in downtown Minneapolis.
[Image: from-protester-to-senator-fbi-tracked-pa...C450&ssl=1]Wellstone as a young political science professor at Carleton College. [Source: Minnesota.publicradio.org]
According to a New York Times Magazine profile, Wellstone was often at odds with other faculty and the Carleton administration, and was in his element instigating protests—from fighting Carleton’s investment policies in South Africa to battling banks that were foreclosing on farms.[21]
In 1974, at the age of 28, Wellstone was granted tenure when students and other colleagues rallied to his defense after he was going to be dismissed because he chose not to write for academic journals.[22]
In the early 1980s, Wellstone began his political career working in Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich’s office after helping to organize grassroots opposition to high-voltage electricity transmission lines in rural Minnesota.[23]
[Image: june-10-1990-paul-wellstone-lt-gov-marle...C464&ssl=1]Wellstone with Rudy Perpich, right, in June 1990 after Wellstone wins party endorsement for Senate. Lt. Gov. Marlene Johnson is in the center. [Source: startribune.com]
After a failed bid for state auditor, Wellstone was named in 1984 to the Democratic Party National Committee and, in 1988, became the state campaign co-chairman for Jesse Jackson’s bid for the presidency, and national co-chair of Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis.
[Image: 1988-jackson-mounts-a-serious-challenge-...C470&ssl=1]Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson shake hands during the 1988 election. [Source: nbcnews.com]
Casting himself as a political outsider, Wellstone ran for the United States Senate in 1990—using a rickety green school bus, a humorous ad campaign styled after a Michael Moore documentary and a pledge to serve only two terms—and upset the Republican incumbent, Rudy Boschwitz, who outspent Mr. Wellstone by seven times.[24] One of his first acts as a Senator was to stage an emotionally charged press conference at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in which he urged the Bush Sr. administration not to attack Iraq.[25]
Wellstone subsequently established his credentials as a populist in the tradition of Robert La Follette who took on corporate power like almost no one else of his generation.[26]
[Image: nateand39s-nonsense-robert-m-andquotfigh...C551&ssl=1]Wellstone was cut in the mold of “Fighting Bob” La Follette, the legendary midwestern populist. [Source: natemaas.com]
Just before his death, Wellstone had proposed putting $2 billion into Minnesota’s schools instead of further tax cuts for the top 1% of incomes.
Wellstone further a) stopped last-minute efforts by drug companies to extend exclusive patents and promoted a strong patients’ rights bill and decent prescription drug benefits; b) said no to privatizing social security; c) helped strengthen and pass the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill; d) passed laws banning gifts to members of Congress; and e) though Jewish, called on Israel to be more compromising with its Arab neighbors.
[Image: wellstone-shakes-supporters-hands-on-his...C328&ssl=1]Wellstone receiving re-nomination for a second term in the Senate at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Convention in Minneapolis in June 1996. [Source: politico.com]
Wellstone additionally a) helped pass a strong Minnesota-friendly farm bill with amendments that reduced the advantages of corporate agribusiness; b) led the fight to stop Big Oil from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; c) championed tribal sovereignty and native Indian rights; and d) stood up for fair trade against the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization (WTO), which eased restrictions on big business.[27]
A Very Convenient Death
After Wellstone’s death, a poll in the St. Paul Pioneer found that 69% of readers felt that Wellstone was killed owing to a GOP conspiracy.
Michael Niman, a professor of journalism at Buffalo State College, wrote that “Wellstone emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone.”
The day after Wellstone’s death, the GOP transferred $700,000 to be used in the effort to defeat Democratic Party Senator Max Cleland in Georgia, money that the GOP had planned to use against Wellstone in Minnesota.
[Image: max-cleland.jpeg?resize=594%2C396&ssl=1]Max Cleland during his tenure as a Georgia senator. As a wounded Vietnam veteran, he was against the Iraq War and, therefore, the Bushies had to ensure his removal alongside that of Wellstone. [Source: veteransadvantage.com]
The Bush family’s hatred of Wellstone went back to 1991 when, at a reception for new congresspeople, he told then President George H.W. Bush that the country “would be ripped apart if it went to war.” Bush turned to one of his advisers after and asked: “who is this chickenshit?[28]
Subsequently, at a swearing in ceremony in the Senate, Wellstone handed Vice President Dan Quayle a videotape of a Minnesota town meeting where the Bush administration’s war policies were criticized.
[Image: the-new-senator-talks-with-vice-presiden...C328&ssl=1]Wellstone in January 1991 handing Vice President Dan Quayle videotape of Minnesotans criticizing the Gulf War. [Source: politico.com]
In the 2002 election cycle, George W. Bush had made terminating Wellstone’s Senate career his foremost priority.
[Image: john-nichols-or-the-nation.jpeg?resize=198%2C191&ssl=1]John Nichols [Source: thenation.com]
Political reporter John Nichols wrote: “The Bushies despise Wellstone, who unlike most Senate Democrats has been fighting spirited battles against the new administration policies on everything from the environment to the tax cuts for the rich to military aid for the ‘Plan Colombia’ drug war boondoggle. The Bush camp has been focusing highest-level attention on ‘Plan Wellstone’—its project to silence progressive opposition.”
[Image: president-george-w-bush-shakes-hands-wit...C180&ssl=1]George W. Bush shakes hands with Minnesota’s then Republican Senator Norm Coleman in 2007 as a young Senator Amy Klobuchar looks on. [Source: georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov]
By October 2002, Bush had visited Minnesota four times to drum up support for his hand-picked candidate, former St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, a strong supporter of the Iraq War.[29]
Large sums of money were being funneled into the state, including one million dollars for advertisements attacking Wellstone that were put up by an anonymous group calling itself “Americans for Job Security.”
[Image: dick-cheney-wikipedia.jpeg?resize=204%2C232&ssl=1]Dick Cheney issued mafia-style threats to Paul Wellstone on the eve of the Iraq War. [Source: wikipedia.org]
At a meeting with war veterans in Willmar, Minnesota, two days before his death, Wellstone said that Vice President Dick Cheney had told him, “if you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”
Obviously this was no idle threat.
Two weeks earlier, Wellstone had spoken eloquently on the Senate floor against the Iraq War and the “wisdom of relying too heavily on a preemptive go it alone military approach”—prompting a bump for him in the polls that shocked the Bush administration.
[Image: a-picture-containing-diagram-description...C388&ssl=1]Senator Wellstone was slated to win re-election after voting against George Bush’s “war resolution” in Congress. [Source: oilempire.us]
As Chairman of a new Securities Reform Committee, Wellstone was also at the time trying to block the nomination of William Webster, former CIA and FBI head and “best friend of big business and big accounting firms” to be the new chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Accounting Oversight Commission.
[Image: a-person-in-a-suit-description-automatic...C204&ssl=1]William Webster as FBI Director. [Source: wikipedia.org]
Wellstone had further tried to bar corporate tax dodgers from being eligible for Defense Department contracts, and successfully amended the Homeland Security bill to bar those companies from getting contracts with the new Department of Homeland Security.
After the November election—and Wellstone’s tragic death—the final version of the Homeland Security bill gutted the Wellstone amendment and corporate lobby groups were able to land billion-dollar defense contracts in Iraq and elsewhere.[30]
As one of the few genuine progressives in Congress, Wellstone would have been a formidable presidential candidate in 2004.
With the increasing exposure of the Bush administration’s corruption in books like Greg Palast’s The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (2002) and Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men (2004), he would have had a better chance to beat Bush than any other candidate. That is why his plane had to be taken down.
[Image: CAM-logo-circular-20210506b-300.png?resi...2C20&ssl=1]

  1. Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) and James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone (El Prado, NM:”Vox Pop, 2004).
  2. Sue Cantrell, who lives a few hundred yards from Camp Peary, the CIA training camp in Williamsburg, Virginia, reported that the night before Wellstone’s death, at around 1:15 a.m., she heard a “large plane take off from the runway [at Camp Peary]. In the previous three years of living here, I have never heard a plane take off in the middle of the night.”
  3. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination.
  4. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 11, 82, 83.
  5. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 18.
  6. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 85.
  7. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 85.
  8. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 124, 125.
  9. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 18. The FAA spokeswoman stated that there were no signs of distress coming from the plane’s crew on its final approach.
  10. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 44. The stall warning on a King Air—which Wellstone flew in—is quite loud. With two pilots and six passengers, it could not have been missed. Thus, there was ample time to regain speed.
  11. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 131.
  12. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 48, 49.
  13. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 61.
  14. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 54.
  15. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101.
  16. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101.
  17. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101, 146. The authors present a scenario in which the plane ran off course, and the cockpit was zapped, resulting in a pilotless plane. When the decoy VOR was switched off, the plane’s instruments re-oriented to the Eveleth airport causing a sharp right turn. After the plane crashed, someone made sure cockpit instruments were consumed in flames—on the remote chance that a serious full inquiry were to be demanded—as the cable TV/power company/telephone service vehicle made its escape from the scene of the crime.
  18. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 136, 146.
  19. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 146. One other oddity is that Raytheon representatives were on the crash scene after Wellstone’s plane was downed. Not only did Raytheon make the King Air A-100 plane on which he flew but they also manufactured high-tech weapons of the kind that were used to bring the plane down.
  20. See Bill Lofy, Paul Wellstone: The Life of a Passionate Progressive (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005); Senator Paul Wellstone, The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda (New York: Random House, 2001).
  21. Dennis J. McGrath and Dane Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington: The Inside Story of a Grassroots U.S. Senate Campaign (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 33, 34. Wellstone made enemies on the Carleton Board of Trustees when in 1971 he urged the removal of its chairman, Edson Spencer, Vice-President of Honeywell Corporation which manufactured anti-personnel bombs used in Vietnam. Wellstone accused Spencer of managing a “criminal corporation.”
  22. McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington, 34.
  23. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 51; Wellstone, The Conscience of a Liberal, 9, 10, 11, 17. In 1982, Wellstone was arrested for trespassing at a bank in the central Minnesota town of Paynesville after leading a protest of farmers who were protesting bank foreclosures and seizure of their land after they had been saddled with heavy debt. Wellstone had further supported a strike of meatpackers at the Hormel Company in southern Minnesota in 1985/6. With a gift for oratory and his success as a political organizer, he subsequently emerged as a leader in Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).
  24. McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington.
  25. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 67.
  26. The only black hole in Wellstone’s record was his misguided support for the war in Bosnia and bombing of Kosovo.
  27. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 157-173; McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington, xxiii.
  28. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 67, 68.
  29. A moderate Republican, Coleman had been part of the hippie counterculture who sold out to the establishment. In the 1980s, he was described by a local journalist as a “clean cut pin striped cigar smoking law and order prosecutor who liked schmoozing with business leaders a whole lot better than with welfare rights activists.” Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 116. After becoming Mayor of St. Paul, Coleman switched from the Democratic Party to Republican and started adopting conservative economic policies, opposed drug legalization and adopted hawkish views on Iraq, Iran and Gaza in alignment with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After his Senate career ended, Coleman founded the American Action Network, a conservative advocacy organization with ties to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, and became a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia.
  30. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 33. A mental health reform bill Wellstone championed, requiring insurance companies to provide mental health coverage on par with physical health coverage, was also blocked.

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  JFK Revisited: The new Trailer
Posted by: Jim DiEugenio - 22-10-2021, 05:54 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

David Talbot is the star of this one.

Its pretty good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48NH8fWirfc&t=153s

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  giljesus.com is now gil-jesus.com
Posted by: Gil Jesus - 11-10-2021, 11:37 PM - Forum: JFK Assassination - Replies (2)

I've started a new website on the JFK Assassination. It's the same old topic of Oswald's innocence, but I couldn't get my web address back so I got it as close as possible.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald REALLY Guilty ?
An Examination of the Evidence in the Case Against Oswald

www.gil-jesus.com

When I gave up the last website, I lost all of the info I had on it. It's a work-in-progress so please be patient as I try to rewrite my arguments against the lies that were the Warren Commission's conclusions.

My Youtube video channel is still up and I plan to copy those videos onto my website at some point.

www.youtube.com/jfk63conspiracy/videos

Thank You

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  Jeffries' Frazier interview
Posted by: Richard Gilbride - 10-10-2021, 12:49 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - Replies (1)

I had the chance to listen to Don Jeffries' interview of Wesley Frazier a few days ago. It was a good interview, from the perspective of introducing the contemporary American public to an assassination witness. It was a lousy interview, from the researchers' perspective. Given a golden opportunity to push the ball down the field, Jeffries failed miserably. Virtually nothing new was added to the body of knowledge regarding Frazier.

What Jeffries did instead was serve as another of Frazier's enablers, letting him tell the same moth-eaten lies he's been spinning for decades. You, the reader, know as well as I that Frazier's signature story of looking over his shoulder that morning into the back seat and asking Lee "What's in the package?"-  it's a total crock. That's the story that got 11 on a scale of 10 on George O'Toole's voice stress analysis, from a televised CBS interview from November 23. So Frazier, retelling it for the dozenth upteenth time, has BS'ed his own self enough to feel like hes' actually being truthful.

Jeffries fumbled at the critical juncture of when Frazier arrived at the Houston Street warehouse parking lot. This is where Eddie Shields, repeating his assertion 3 times, told Clarence Day of the HSCA that Givens ( a rover between the Houston St. warehouse & the TSBD) had shouted out to Frazier "Where's your rider?" and Shields, who was on the 1st floor at the time, heard Frazier say "I dropped him off at the building."

Not only does O'Toole strongly imply that the curtain-rod package is a myth, but Shields cements that notion, and Gil Jesus' essay The Bag Job proves that the DPD sample fibers & the paper gunsack fibers match, and they were taken from the TSBD the same time that affternoon (i.e. very likely that Truly manufactured the gunsack, once he heard that Oswald had been captured alive, and needed a piece of evidence to frame Oswald for bringing a rifle into the TSBD.)

At 23:15 Frazier gets asked, for the 1st time he claims, about the elevator power outage. He claimed he did not know anything about it, that he was busy working, and glossed over the incident. And Jeffries was a total flunkie, not reminding Frazier that this occurred during the first minutes of the police search. Not bothering to ask where any power switches were located. And Frazier added another lie, that he always ate in the basement because it was cool down there, when his WC testimony talked about eating with the guys up in the domino room.

I still have the firm opinion that Frazier confabulated his story about seeing Oswald leave via the rear dock. Flunkie Jeffries didn't bother asking him why this wasn't mentioned until 2002.

It was good to get the details at 42:20 about the man with the rifle on the Elm St. Extension that Frazier saw just after the assassination. He said there were no other witnesses, which is a little convenient but he seems truthful here. Says he repressed this out of fright for many years. This rifle man sounds like an undercover DIA operative to me. Frazier in his HSCA interview did point out to Jack Moriarty that "It was a military experience."
  
When his Irving home was searched, at 50:10, he didn't mention his Enfield rifle. It was listed on the items confiscated. My suspicions are that this was used as leverage against Frazier, since Lt. Day's first radio response upon leaving the TSBD with the alleged murder rifle, when asked the make, said it was an Enfield.

Nor is Frazier ever confronted about the contradiction, learning somehow (from who, Don Jeffries?) that Truly & Baker had seen a 1/2-eaten apple and cheese sandwich, yet Frazier claims Lee didn't bring his lunch on the morning drive, or that he speculated Oswald was going off to a sandwich shop when he saw him leave via the rear dock. Jeffries covers for Frazier by speculating that perhaps Oswald got something off the catering truck.

I think Don was just a little too taken in by the glam of getting an interview with the elusive Wesley Frazier. But his effort was almost worthless in terms of what was uncovered. I'm still convinced Frazier was a conspirator-  he confabulated the story about Oswald carrying a gunsack across the railyard, and he was alone in the basement, not working (as he claimed to Jeffries), but allegedly having his lunch, when the elevators lost power-  i.e. he was the one who cut the power-  a big mistake in the planning, because the evidence up on the 6th was tidied up pronto, and highly likely that a Treasury agent searching the building started yelling out that the elevators had lost their power. And so they had to be turned back on post haste, lest the plot inside the TSBD be exposed.

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  Blockchain and Digital Twining
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 06-10-2021, 09:25 PM - Forum: Players, organisations, and events of deep politics - No Replies

Astonishing interview with Alison MacDowell.

https://www.wbai.org/archive/program/episode/?id=25691c

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  The Man Who Knew Too Much
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 02-10-2021, 11:44 PM - Forum: Videos and Photographs - No Replies

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  London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks
Posted by: Magda Hassan - 27-09-2021, 02:40 PM - Forum: Black Operations - Replies (5)

https://news.yahoo.com/kidnapping-assass...57786.html

London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks

Zach DorfmanSean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff
Sun, September 26, 2021, 7:00 PM·39 min read



In this article:














  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Julian Assange
    Australian computer programmer[/font]


  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Donald Trump
    45th president of the United States[/font]


  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Mike Pompeo
    United States Secretary of State[/font]




[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented “the largest data loss in CIA history.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65faf020-1d56-11ec-95b7-3275877264ba][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA’s fury at WikiLeaks led Pompeo to publicly describe the group in 2017 as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” More than just a provocative talking point, the designation opened the door for agency operatives to take far more aggressive actions, treating the organization as it does adversary spy services, former intelligence officials told Yahoo News. Within months, U.S. spies were monitoring the communications and movements of numerous WikiLeaks personnel, including audio and visual surveillance of Assange himself, according to former officials.[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks. It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA declined to comment. Pompeo did not respond to requests for comment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, told Yahoo News.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange is now housed in a London prison as the courts there decide on a U.S. request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder on charges of attempting to help former U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning break into a classified computer network and conspiring to obtain and publish classified documents in violation of the Espionage Act.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7fedf593-1d60-11ec-be9b-7f0ac272dcf9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“My hope and expectation is that the U.K. courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the U.S.,” Pollack added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]There is no indication that the most extreme measures targeting Assange were ever approved, in part because of objections from White House lawyers, but the agency’s WikiLeaks proposals so worried some administration officials that they quietly reached out to staffers and members of Congress on the House and Senate intelligence committees to alert them to what Pompeo was suggesting. “There were serious intel oversight concerns that were being raised through this escapade,” said a Trump national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some National Security Council officials worried that the CIA’s proposals to kidnap Assange would not only be illegal but also might jeopardize the prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder. Concerned the CIA’s plans would derail a potential criminal case, the Justice Department expedited the drafting of charges against Assange to ensure that they were in place if he were brought to the United States.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In late 2017, in the midst of the debate over kidnapping and other extreme measures, the agency’s plans were upended when U.S. officials picked up what they viewed as alarming reports that Russian intelligence operatives were preparing to sneak Assange out of the United Kingdom and spirit him away to Moscow.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The intelligence reporting about a possible breakout was viewed as credible at the highest levels of the U.S. government. At the time, Ecuadorian officials had begun efforts to grant Assange diplomatic status as part of a scheme to give him cover to leave the embassy and fly to Moscow to serve in the country’s Russian mission.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65fa05c6-1d56-11ec-a76f-efba010878a9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears at the window of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Feb. 5, 2016. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In response, the CIA and the White House began preparing for a number of scenarios to foil Assange’s Russian departure plans, according to three former officials. Those included potential gun battles with Kremlin operatives on the streets of London, crashing a car into a Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange and then grabbing him, and shooting out the tires of a Russian plane carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. (U.S. officials asked their British counterparts to do the shooting if gunfire was required, and the British agreed, according to a former senior administration official.)[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“We had all sorts of reasons to believe he was contemplating getting the hell out of there,” said the former senior administration official, adding that one report said Assange might try to escape the embassy hidden in a laundry cart. “It was going to be like a prison break movie.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The intrigue over a potential Assange escape set off a wild scramble among rival spy services in London. American, British and Russian agencies, among others, stationed undercover operatives around the Ecuadorian Embassy. In the Russians’ case, it was to facilitate a breakout. For the U.S. and allied services, it was to block such an escape. “It was beyond comical,” said the former senior official. “It got to the point where every human being in a three-block radius was working for one of the intelligence services — whether they were street sweepers or police officers or security guards.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7fee1ca1-1d60-11ec-9fbe-c89205697168][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]White House officials briefed Trump and warned him that the matter could provoke an international incident — or worse. “We told him, this is going to get ugly,” said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]As the debate over WikiLeaks intensified, some in the White House worried that the campaign against the organization would end up “weakening America,” as one Trump national security official put it, by lowering barriers that prevent the government from targeting mainstream journalists and news organizations, said former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The fear at the National Security Council, the former official said, could be summed up as, “Where does this stop?”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: b0998e60-1d52-11ec-b3a6-eb807a482f2c][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]When WikiLeaks launched its website in December 2006, it was a nearly unprecedented model: Anyone anywhere could submit materials anonymously for publication. And they did, on topics ranging from secret fraternity rites to details of the U.S. government’s Guantánamo Bay detainee operations.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Yet Assange, the lanky Australian activist who led the organization, didn’t get much attention until 2010, when WikiLeaks released gun camera footage of a 2007 airstrike by U.S. Army helicopters in Baghdad that killed at least a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists, and wounded two young children. The Pentagon had refused to release the dramatic video, but someone had provided it to WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65f9deb0-1d56-11ec-bc6f-5c68e620a07f][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks releases leaked 2007 footage of a U.S. Apache helicopter fatally shooting a group of men at a public square in eastern Baghdad. (U.S. Military via Wikileaks.org)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Later that year, WikiLeaks also published several caches of classified and sensitive U.S. government documents related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Assange was hailed in some circles as a hero and in others as a villain. For U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the question was how to deal with the group, which operated differently than typical news outlets. “The problem posed by WikiLeaks was, there wasn’t anything like it,” said a former intelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]How to define WikiLeaks has long confounded everyone from government officials to press advocates. Some view it as an independent journalistic institution, while others have asserted it is a handmaiden to foreign spy services.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“They’re not a journalistic organization, they’re nowhere near it,” William Evanina, who retired as the U.S.’s top counterintelligence official in early 2021, told Yahoo News in an interview. Evanina declined to discuss specific U.S. proposals regarding Assange or WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7feb5d80-1d60-11ec-b663-7a58e20682e9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But the Obama administration, fearful of the consequences for press freedom — and chastened by the blowback from its own aggressive leak hunts — restricted investigations into Assange and WikiLeaks. “We were stagnated for years,” said Evanina. “There was a reticence in the Obama administration at a high level to allow agencies to engage in” certain kinds of intelligence collection against WikiLeaks, including signals and cyber operations, he said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]That began to change in 2013, when Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, fled to Hong Kong with a massive trove of classified materials, some of which revealed that the U.S. government was illegally spying on Americans. WikiLeaks helped arrange Snowden’s escape to Russia from Hong Kong. A WikiLeaks editor also accompanied Snowden to Russia, staying with him during his 39-day enforced stay at a Moscow airport and living with him for three months after Russia granted Snowden asylum.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the Obama administration allowed the intelligence community to prioritize collection on WikiLeaks, according to Evanina, now the CEO of the Evanina Group. Previously, if the FBI needed a search warrant to go into the group’s databases in the United States or wanted to use subpoena power or a national security letter to gain access to WikiLeaks-related financial records, “that wasn’t going to happen,” another former senior counterintelligence official said. “That changed after 2013.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65fb1731-1d56-11ec-b7dd-9a39deb02e8b][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]An image of Edward Snowden on a giant screen in Hong Kong on June 23, 2013. (Sam Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]From that point onward, U.S. intelligence worked closely with friendly spy agencies to build a picture of WikiLeaks’ network of contacts “and tie it back to hostile state intelligence services,” Evanina said. The CIA assembled a group of analysts known unofficially as “the WikiLeaks team” in its Office of Transnational Issues, with a mission to examine the organization, according to a former agency official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Still chafing at the limits in place, top intelligence officials lobbied the White House to redefine WikiLeaks — and some high-profile journalists — as “information brokers,” which would have opened up the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution, according to former officials. It “was a step in the direction of showing a court, if we got that far, that we were dealing with agents of a foreign power,” a former senior counterintelligence official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Among the journalists some U.S. officials wanted to designate as “information brokers” were Glenn Greenwald, then a columnist for the Guardian, and Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker, who had both been instrumental in publishing documents provided by Snowden.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“Is WikiLeaks a journalistic outlet? Are Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald truly journalists?” the former official said. “We tried to change the definition of them, and I preached this to the White House, and got rejected.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: faeb99d0-1d7b-11ec-bbdb-7d77e449a55c][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Obama administration’s policy was, “If there’s published works out there, doesn’t matter the venue, then we have to treat them as First-Amendment-protected individuals,” the former senior counterintelligence official said. “There were some exceptions to that rule, but they were very, very, very few and far between.” WikiLeaks, the administration decided, did not fit that exception.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In a statement to Yahoo News, Poitras said reported attempts to classify herself, Greenwald and Assange as “information brokers” rather than journalists are “bone-chilling and a threat to journalists worldwide.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“That the CIA also conspired to seek the rendition and extrajudicial assassination of Julian Assange is a state-sponsored crime against the press,” she added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“I am not the least bit surprised that the CIA, a longtime authoritarian and antidemocratic institution, plotted to find a way to criminalize journalism and spy on and commit other acts of aggression against journalists,” Greenwald told Yahoo News.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]By 2015, WikiLeaks was the subject of an intense debate over whether the organization should be targeted by law enforcement or spy agencies. Some argued that the FBI should have sole responsibility for investigating WikiLeaks, with no role for the CIA or the NSA. The Justice Department, in particular, was “very protective” of its authorities over whether to charge Assange and whether to treat WikiLeaks “like a media outlet,” said Robert Litt, the intelligence community’s senior lawyer during the Obama administration.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras at a news conference in 2014. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Then, in the summer of 2016, at the height of the presidential election season, came a seismic episode in the U.S. government’s evolving approach to WikiLeaks, when the website began publishing Democratic Party emails. The U.S. intelligence community later concluded the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU had hacked the emails.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In response to the leak, the NSA began surveilling the Twitter accounts of the suspected Russian intelligence operatives who were disseminating the leaked Democratic Party emails, according to a former CIA official. This collection revealed direct messages between the operatives, who went by the moniker Guccifer 2.0, and WikiLeaks’ Twitter account. Assange at the time steadfastly denied that the Russian government was the source for the emails, which were also published by mainstream news organizations.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Even so, Assange’s communication with the suspected operatives settled the matter for some U.S. officials. The events of 2016 “really crystallized” U.S. intelligence officials’ belief that the WikiLeaks founder “was acting in collusion with people who were using him to hurt the interests of the United States,” said Litt.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]After the publication of the Democratic Party emails, there was “zero debate” on the issue of whether the CIA would increase its spying on WikiLeaks, said a former intelligence official. But there was still “sensitivity on how we would collect on them,” the former official added.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA now considered people affiliated with WikiLeaks valid targets for various types of spying, including close-in technical collection — such as bugs — sometimes enabled by in-person espionage, and “remote operations,” meaning, among other things, the hacking of WikiLeaks members’ devices from afar, according to former intelligence officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Obama administration’s view of WikiLeaks underwent what Evanina described as a “sea change” shortly before Donald Trump, helped in part by WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic campaign emails, won a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]As Trump’s national security team took their positions at the Justice Department and the CIA, officials wondered whether, despite his campaign trail declaration of “love” for WikiLeaks, Trump’s appointees would take a more hard-line view of the organization. They were not to be disappointed.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“There was a fundamental change on how [WikiLeaks was] viewed,” said a former senior counterintelligence official. When it came to prosecuting Assange — something the Obama administration had declined to do — the Trump White House had a different approach, said a former Justice Department official. “Nobody in that crew was going to be too broken up about the First Amendment issues.”[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]On April 13, 2017, wearing a U.S. flag pin on the left lapel of his dark gray suit, Pompeo strode to the podium at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank, to deliver to a standing-room-only crowd his first public remarks as Trump’s CIA director.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Rather than use the platform to give an overview of global challenges or to lay out any bureaucratic changes he was planning to make at the agency, Pompeo devoted much of his speech to the threat posed by WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence,” he said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” he continued.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo answers questions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It had been barely five weeks since WikiLeaks had stunned the CIA when it announced it had obtained a massive tranche of files — which it dubbed “Vault 7” — from the CIA’s ultrasecret hacking division. Despite the CIA’s ramped up collection on WikiLeaks, the announcement came as a complete surprise to the agency, but as soon as the organization posted the first materials on its website, the CIA knew it was facing a catastrophe.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Vault 7 “hurt the agency to its core,” said a former CIA official. Agency officials “used to laugh about WikiLeaks,” mocking the State Department and the Pentagon for allowing so much material to escape their control.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo, apparently fearful of the president’s wrath, was initially reluctant to even brief the president on Vault 7, according to a former senior Trump administration official. “Don’t tell him, he doesn’t need to know,” Pompeo told one briefer, before being advised that the information was too critical and the president had to be informed, said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Irate senior FBI and NSA officials repeatedly demanded interagency meetings to determine the scope of the damage caused by Vault 7, according to another former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The NSA believed that, although the leak revealed only CIA hacking operations, it could also give countries like Russia or China clues about NSA targets and methods, said this former official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo’s aggressive tone at CSIS reflected his “brash attitude,” said a former senior intelligence official. “He would want to push the limits as much as he could” during his tenure as CIA director, the former official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Trump administration was sending more signals that it would no longer be bound by the Obama administration’s self-imposed restrictions regarding WikiLeaks. For some U.S. intelligence officials, this was a welcome change. “There was immense hostility to WikiLeaks in the beginning from the intelligence community,” said Litt.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Vault 7 prompted “a brand-new mindset with the administration for rethinking how to look at WikiLeaks as an adversarial actor,” Evanina said. “That was new, and it was refreshing for the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.” Updates on Assange were frequently included in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief, a top-secret document prepared by U.S. intelligence agencies that summarizes the day’s most critical national security issues, according to a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The immediate question facing Pompeo and the CIA was how to hit back against WikiLeaks and Assange. Agency officials found the answer in a legal sleight of hand. Usually, for U.S. intelligence to secretly interfere with the activities of any foreign actor, the president must sign a document called a “finding” that authorizes such covert action, which must also be briefed to the House and Senate intelligence committees. In very sensitive cases, notification is limited to Congress’s so-called Gang of Eight — the four leaders of the House and Senate, plus the chairperson and ranking member of the two committees.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But there is an important carveout. Many of the same actions, if taken against another spy service, are considered “offensive counterintelligence” activities, which the CIA is allowed to conduct without getting a presidential finding or having to brief Congress, according to several former intelligence officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Often, the CIA makes these decisions internally, based on interpretations of so-called “common law” passed down in secret within the agency’s legal corps. “I don’t think people realize how much [the] CIA can do under offensive [counterintelligence] and how there is minimal oversight of it,” said a former official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange discusses the publication of secret U.S. documents about the war in Afghanistan at a 2010 press conference in London. (Julian Simmonds/Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The difficulty in proving that WikiLeaks was operating at the direct behest of the Kremlin was a major factor behind the CIA’s move to designate the group as a hostile intelligence service, according to a former senior counterintelligence official. “There was a lot of legal debate on: Are they operating as a Russian agent?” said the former official. “It wasn’t clear they were, so the question was, can it be reframed on them being a hostile entity.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Intelligence community lawyers decided that it could. When Pompeo declared WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” he was neither speaking off the cuff nor repeating a phrase concocted by a CIA speechwriter. “That phrase was chosen advisedly and reflected the view of the administration,” a former Trump administration official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But Pompeo’s declaration surprised Litt, who had left his position as general counsel of the Office of the Director for National Intelligence less than three months previously. “Based on the information that I had seen, I thought he was out over his skis on that,” Litt said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]For many senior intelligence officials, however, Pompeo’s designation of WikiLeaks was a positive step. “We all agreed that WikiLeaks was a hostile intelligence organization and should be dealt with accordingly,” said a former senior CIA official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Soon after the speech, Pompeo asked a small group of senior CIA officers to figure out “the art of the possible” when it came to WikiLeaks, said another former senior CIA official. “He said, ‘Nothing’s off limits, don’t self-censor yourself. I need operational ideas from you. I’ll worry about the lawyers in Washington.’” CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., sent messages directing CIA stations and bases worldwide to prioritize collection on WikiLeaks, according to the former senior agency official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA’s designation of WikiLeaks as a non-state hostile intelligence service enabled “the doubling down of efforts globally and domestically on collection” against the group, Evanina said. Those efforts included tracking the movements and communications of Assange and other top WikiLeaks figures by “tasking more on the tech side, recruiting more on the human side,” said another former senior counterintelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This was no easy task. WikiLeaks associates were “super-paranoid people,” and the CIA estimated that only a handful of individuals had access to the Vault 7 materials the agency wanted to retrieve, said a former intelligence official. Those individuals employed security measures that made obtaining the information difficult, including keeping it on encrypted drives that they either carried on their persons or locked in safes, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks claimed it had published only a fraction of the Vault 7 documents in its possession. So, what if U.S. intelligence found a tranche of those unpublished materials online? At the White House, officials began planning for that scenario. Could the United States launch a cyberattack on a server being used by WikiLeaks to house these documents?[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange presents U.S. military documents on the Iraq War at press conference in London on Oct. 23, 2010. (Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Officials weren’t sure if the Defense Department had the authority to do so at the time, absent the president’s signature. Alternatively, they suggested, perhaps the CIA could carry out the same action under the agency’s offensive counterintelligence powers. After all, officials reasoned, the CIA would be erasing its own documents. However, U.S. spies never located a copy of the unpublished Vault 7 materials online, so the discussion was ultimately moot, according to a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Nonetheless, the CIA had some successes. By mid-2017, U.S. spies had excellent intelligence on numerous WikiLeaks members and associates, not just on Assange, said former officials. This included what these individuals were saying and who they were saying it to, where they were traveling or going to be at a given date and time, and what platforms these individuals were communicating on, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]U.S. spy agencies developed good intelligence on WikiLeaks associates’ “patterns of life,” particularly their travels within Europe, said a former national security official. U.S. intelligence was particularly keen on information documenting travel by WikiLeaks associates to Russia or countries in Russia’s orbit, according to the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]At the CIA, the new designation meant Assange and WikiLeaks would go from “a target of collection to a target of disruption,” said a former senior CIA official. Proposals began percolating upward within the CIA and the NSC to undertake various disruptive activities — the core of “offensive counterintelligence” — against WikiLeaks. These included paralyzing its digital infrastructure, disrupting its communications, provoking internal disputes within the organization by planting damaging information, and stealing WikiLeaks members’ electronic devices, according to three former officials.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Infiltrating the group, either with a real person or by inventing a cyber persona to gain the group’s confidence, was quickly dismissed as unlikely to succeed because the senior WikiLeaks figures were so security-conscious, according to former intelligence officials. Sowing discord within the group seemed an easier route to success, in part because “those guys hated each other and fought all the time,” a former intelligence official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But many of the other ideas were “not ready for prime time,” said the former intelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“Some dude affiliated with WikiLeaks was moving around the world, and they wanted to go steal his computer because they thought he might have” Vault 7 files, said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The official was unable to identify that individual. But some of these proposals may have been eventually approved. In December 2020, a German hacker closely affiliated with WikiLeaks who assisted with the Vault 7 publications claimed that there had been an attempt to break into his apartment, which he had secured with an elaborate locking system. The hacker, Andy Müller-Maguhn, also said he had been tailed by mysterious figures and that his encrypted telephone had been bugged.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Andy Müller-Maguhn speaks at the Cyber Security Summit in Bonn, Germany, in 2014. (Ollendorf/Itterman (Telekom))[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Asked whether the CIA had broken into WikiLeaks’ associates’ homes and stolen or wiped their hard drives, a former intelligence official declined to go into detail but said that “some actions were taken.”[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]By the summer of 2017, the CIA’s proposals were setting off alarm bells at the National Security Council. “WikiLeaks was a complete obsession of Pompeo’s,” said a former Trump administration national security official. “After Vault 7, Pompeo and [Deputy CIA Director Gina] Haspel wanted vengeance on Assange.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]At meetings between senior Trump administration officials after WikiLeaks started publishing the Vault 7 materials, Pompeo began discussing kidnapping Assange, according to four former officials. While the notion of kidnapping Assange preceded Pompeo’s arrival at Langley, the new director championed the proposals, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition. The idea was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want,” said a former intelligence official. A less extreme version of the proposal involved U.S. operatives snatching Assange from the embassy and turning him over to British authorities.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Such actions were sure to create a diplomatic and political firestorm, as they would have involved violating the sanctity of the Ecuadorian Embassy before kidnapping the citizen of a critical U.S. partner — Australia — in the capital of the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally. Trying to seize Assange from an embassy in the British capital struck some as “ridiculous,” said the former intelligence official. “This isn’t Pakistan or Egypt — we’re talking about London.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]British acquiescence was far from assured. Former officials differ on how much the U.K. government knew about the CIA’s rendition plans for Assange, but at some point, American officials did raise the issue with their British counterparts.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resided for seven years. (Will Oliver/EPA/Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“There was a discussion with the Brits about turning the other cheek or looking the other way when a team of guys went inside and did a rendition,” said a former senior counterintelligence official. “But the British said, ‘No way, you’re not doing that on our territory, that ain’t happening.’” The British Embassy in Washington did not return a request for comment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In addition to diplomatic concerns about rendition, some NSC officials believed that abducting Assange would be clearly illegal. “You can’t throw people in a car and kidnap them,” said a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In fact, said this former official, for some NSC personnel, “This was the key question: Was it possible to render Assange under [the CIA’s] offensive counterintelligence” authorities? In this former official’s thinking, those powers were meant to enable traditional spy-versus-spy activities, “not the same kind of crap we pulled in the war on terror.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some discussions even went beyond kidnapping. U.S. officials had also considered killing Assange, according to three former officials. One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him “options” for how to do so.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“It was viewed as unhinged and ridiculous,” recalled this former senior CIA official of the suggestion.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It’s unclear how serious the proposals to kill Assange really were. “I was told they were just spitballing,” said a former senior counterintelligence official briefed on the discussions about “kinetic options” regarding the WikiLeaks founder. “It was just Trump being Trump."[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Nonetheless, at roughly the same time, agency executives requested and received “sketches” of plans for killing Assange and other Europe-based WikiLeaks members who had access to Vault 7 materials, said a former intelligence official. There were discussions “on whether killing Assange was possible and whether it was legal,” the former official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Yahoo News could not confirm if these proposals made it to the White House. Some officials with knowledge of the rendition proposals said they had heard no discussions about assassinating Assange.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In a statement to Yahoo News, Trump denied that he ever considered having Assange assassinated. “It’s totally false, it never happened,” he said. Trump seemed to express some sympathy for Assange’s plight. “In fact, I think he’s been treated very badly,” he added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Whatever Trump’s view of the matter at the time, his NSC lawyers were bulwarks against the CIA’s potentially illegal proposals, according to former officials. “While people think the Trump administration didn’t believe in the rule of law, they had good lawyers who were paying attention to it,” said a former senior intelligence official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Then-President Donald Trump at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The rendition talk deeply alarmed some senior administration officials. John Eisenberg, the top NSC lawyer, and Michael Ellis, his deputy, worried that “Pompeo is advocating things that are not likely to be legal,” including “rendition-type activity,” said a former national security official. Eisenberg wrote to CIA General Counsel Courtney Simmons Elwood expressing his concerns about the agency’s WikiLeaks-related proposals, according to another Trump national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It’s unclear how much Elwood knew about the proposals. “When Pompeo took over, he cut the lawyers out of a lot of things,” said a former senior intelligence community attorney.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo’s ready access to the Oval Office, where he would meet with Trump alone, exacerbated the lawyers’ fears. Eisenberg fretted that the CIA director was leaving those meetings with authorities or approvals signed by the president that Eisenberg knew nothing about, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]NSC officials also worried about the timing of the potential Assange kidnapping. Discussions about rendering Assange occurred before the Justice Department filed any criminal charges against him, even under seal — meaning that the CIA could have kidnapped Assange from the embassy without any legal basis to try him in the United States.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Eisenberg urged Justice Department officials to accelerate their drafting of charges against Assange, in case the CIA’s rendition plans moved forward, according to former officials. The White House told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that if prosecutors had grounds to indict Assange they should hurry up and do so, according to a former senior administration official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Things got more complicated in May 2017, when the Swedes dropped their rape investigation into Assange, who had always denied the allegations. White House officials developed a backup plan: The British would hold Assange on a bail jumping charge, giving Justice Department prosecutors a 48-hour delay to rush through an indictment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Eisenberg was concerned about the legal implications of rendering Assange without criminal charges in place, according to a former national security official. Absent an indictment, where would the agency bring him, said another former official who attended NSC meetings on the topic. “Were we going to go back to ‘black sites’?”[/font]
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