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Hullabaloo


Monday, October 19, 2015

 
G-men agenda

by digby


I wondered if this would go unnoticed:

MSNBC's Morning Joe failed to disclose the right-wing ties of Ron Hosko when pointing to his criticism of President Obama. In an October 16 report, The New York Times allowed retired F.B.I. senior official Ron Hosko to criticize President Obama over his recent comments concerning the F.B.I. investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server without explaining that Hosko is the president of a right-wing organization. On the October 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Mika Brzezinski quoted Hosko's criticism of Obama in The Times without disclosing that Hosko is the president of The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a right-wing organization whose funding has primarily gone to leadership salaries and to "prop[ing] up" conservative groups.

This refers to front page New York Times story about anonymous FBI agents being fit to be tied that President Obama "interfered" with an investigation by declared that he had seen no evidence that Clinton's email server had endangered National Security. My immediate reaction to this was a sense of deja vu from a time when the media took lots and lots of selective leaks from wingnuts in federal agencies (and there are tons of them --- it's law enforcement) to smear Bill and Hillary Clinton. Apparently, the old boys trained the new boys, in both the FBI and the NY Times, in the way this game is played.

When I read this story, the first thing that came to mind was this:

Was Hanssen a Spy for the Right Wing, Too?

By Joe Conason | 08/06/01 12:00am

Should the national media ever manage to transcend the current preoccupation with the personal affairs of a certain Congressman, perhaps the time will come when attention turns again to an equally intriguing topic: the twisted politics of confessed F.B.I. traitor Robert P. Hanssen.

Emerging almost unnoticed in recent weeks were three strange but significant stories about the Hanssen case. What they suggest-along with other information unearthed previously about the longtime Soviet spy-is that he may have simultaneously functioned as a right-wing operative at the highest level of American law enforcement. If that sounds outlandish, consider the evidence.

The question of Mr. Hanssen’s political affiliations first arose following his arrest, when it became clear that his treason had been motivated by money rather than ideology. He was no leftist but instead, as Newsweek reported in early March, a devout member of the secret, controversial and ultraconservative Catholic lay order known as Opus Dei. Liberal Catholics have frequently accused Opus Dei, which answers directly to the Vatican, of pursuing secular political influence and quashing modern reforms in the Church.

Now it appears that Mr. Hanssen once held a key bureaucratic position from which he may have promoted these objectives. On July 29, the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy investigation of his role as a top F.B.I. overseer of domestic counterintelligence operations. From documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, many of which bear his handwritten initials, the Times discovered that Mr. Hanssen spent several years directing the bureau’s notorious Reagan-era probes of American liberal and peace organizations. Such groups were deemed inimical to the objectives of the conservatives then in power, who tended to regard dissent over the nuclear-arms race and war in Central America as Soviet-influenced and subversive.

According to the paper, those redacted files refer repeatedly to the bureau’s Soviet Analytical Unit, where Mr. Hanssen served as deputy chief. Among the unit’s responsibilities was “to digest raw intelligence reports regarding alleged subversion.” Its analysis would then be provided to “the White House, Congress, and occasionally, the public.”

As later Congressional investigations would show, what this often meant in practice was the harassment and sometimes the smearing of Americans engaged in lawful political activity. Among the many groups under surveillance by the F.B.I. in those days were the Gray Panthers, nuclear-freeze advocates associated with SANE-and the left-leaning Catholic adversaries of Opus Dei who opposed the American-backed repression in Central America.

What the L.A. Times story doesn’t explore is how the raw intelligence data reviewed by Mr. Hanssen may have been misused-and whether he was ever in direct contact with anyone at the White House, in Congress or in the news media regarding alleged liberal subversion.

That certainly seems possible in light of another revelation, under the venerable byline of Robert Novak. The conservative columnist admitted on July 12 that Mr. Hanssen had served as his main source for a 1997 column attacking Janet Reno, then the U.S. Attorney General, for supposedly covering up 1996 campaign-finance scandals. Although Mr. Novak still believes that the information offered by Mr. Hanssen was valid, even he cannot help wondering whether Mr. Hanssen was “merely using me to undermine Reno.”

(Adding another dimension to this curious confession is Mr. Novak’s reportedly close relationship with a prominent Washington cleric who works in Opus Dei’s offices near the White House.)

Apparently Mr. Hanssen would have been eager to use Mr Novak against the Clinton administration, if a June 16 cover story published by Insight magazine is to be believed. The author, Paul Rodriguez, obtained numerous e-mails allegedly written by the spy in recent years, some of which include venomous invective against President Clinton and his appointees. The messages are full of speculation about subjects ranging from Mr. Clinton’s personal behavior to the Elián González and China fund-raising affairs. One of the Hanssen e-mails concludes sardonically, “I guess from this you can determine that I am not a big fan of Clinton.” The article omits the names of the recipients of those messages. Perhaps the magazine was protecting the privacy of innocent persons-or its own sources. It ought to be noted, however, that Insight is a conservative publication, put out by the same outfit that publishes the Washington Times .

All these stories, taken together, are merely pieces of a much larger jigsaw puzzle that may or may not ever be completed in public view.

There is considerable irony, of course, in the news that a confessed Soviet agent was responsible for spying on innocent American citizens in the name of patriotic vigilance. But Mr. Hanssen, who avoided the death penalty by agreeing to reveal everything he knows and did, may have some truly troubling stories to tell about the American side of his double life.

He may have been the only dual spy for Russia and right wing crank in the FBI during that period, but he wasn't the only right wing crank.

.