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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Hackers and G-Men, happy together

by digby

Image result for digby hullabaloo wikileaks

. This has been a shocking election in a thousand different ways. But this is what's giving me nightmares. If Trump wins he has a private police force doing his political bidding. If Clinton wins she's facing Trump's private police force which believes she is an illegitimate president and deserves to be jailed. Jesus.

Joy Reid has a good piece up at the Daily Beast about this called "Why we should all fear the rot inside the FBI"

Most Americans presume that members of law enforcement tend to be ideologically conservative. But many Americans have watched in alarm as police officers across the country pose with the Republican candidate, even donning red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps with their police uniforms. Those acts, often criticized by the officers’ superiors, convey a clear message to people of color that the cops stand with Trump—the promoter of nationwide “stop and frisk,” whose “New Deal for Black America” is more police in our communities, unleashed to bring old fashioned, Nixonian “law and order.”. These officers clearly don’t mind if those they police know that they concur with Trump’s divisive, racially abusive message, which excludes and threatens black, Hispanic and Muslim Americans; not to mention women and members of the media. That doesn’t surprise many people of color. But it’s no less chilling, knowing that people sworn to “protect and serve” share Trump’s worldview.

FBI agents are, presumably, drawn from much the same pool as law enforcement generally: mostly white, mostly male, mostly right of center. If the agency is indeed, “Trumpland,” as The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reports, God help Hillary Clinton. But God help the rest of us well. We want to believe that the agents investigating that church burning in Mississippi have more sympathy for the black parishioners than for the ideology of the man whose name was scrawled on the wall. The FBI, to be credible with the American public, needs us to.

We have entered an unprecedented new age when federal law enforcement demonstrates a willingness to go beyond each agent exercising his or her individual right to vote to massing its investigative powers against an individual for political purposes. That the FBI could become a tool in the arsenal of one party’s presidential candidate, perhaps even coordinating with that candidate through their mutual allies, is the most frightening development in a truly unnerving presidential cycle. It should be unnerving to their fellow FBI agents as well, and to anyone who cares about the agency’s reputation.

It compounds the calamity of last week’s “October Surprise” from FBI director James Comey, who threw a grenade into the middle of the presidential race eleven days out, with a vague letter casting aspersions on Hillary Clinton without evidence of wrongdoing. Clinton, after all, is not only Trump’s opponent; she’s the longtime nemesis of one of his key surrogates, Rudolph Giuliani, whom Clinton initially faced as an opponent for the U.S. Senate.

Back then, in 2000, Mrs. Clinton inveighed against the extrajudicial killings of 22-year-old Amadou Diallo and 26-year-old Patrick Dorismond by undercover police, and Giuliani’s reflexive defense of the officers who killed them. She did so in terms that echo the calls of #BlackLivesMatter today, telling black New Yorkers that Diallo, a West African immigrant shot 41 times as he reached for his wallet in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment, would have been alive had he been white; and excoriating Giuliani for maligning Dorismond in death by releasing his juvenile record.

Giuliani’s allies in the NYPD hated her back then. Based on the reports from multiple journalists, including Wayne Barrett, some of Giuliani’s friends in the FBI hate her still. But should they be able to use the badges the public pins on them to try and prevent her from winning a presidential election?
There's more at the link.

I was on the other side of Reid when the Snowden story came down. She was very antagonistic toward him and I was sympathetic. My main reasoning, which I stated at the time, was because I knew that authoritarianism is carried out by people with badges and uniforms and ... access to confidential information. The idea that the NSA could be probing personal correspondence of every citizen and keeping it on file was abhorrent for a number of reasons. But my greatest fear about that is that this ability of government and others to invade the privacy of individuals, average or powerful, would be used for political purposes. It's been done in the past and it's being done right now.

What we're seeing with the Wikileaks selective leaks of private campaign emails of only one side, obviously timed for the purpose of helping Donald Trump, and now the FBI leaking information to the Trump camp completely validates my fears in this respect. These hackers are not legitimate whistleblowers like Snowden and their motivations are not benign. In tandem with right wing members of the government they are helping to put a fascist demagogue in the White House. And the media is happy to help them do it --- not that they could stop it even if they wanted to.

This is a big problem. Radical transparency isn't the answer, obviously, because it isn't really "transparent" is it, if only one side of the issue is revealed and weird megalomaniacs are the ones deciding the agenda?  And God knows the government can't be trusted --- just look at what the FBI is doing. I don't have the vaguest clue what to do about this. It's uncharted territory.