With so much happening in our intelligence agencies, the average citizen has no idea of the invasive danger these rogue, secretive, overbearing groups present to our everyday lives. Over the next few weeks I’m going to present insider information from whistleblowing patriots; high level operatives from the FBI, NSA, CIA and DOJ.
The patriot forces that protect us are spread out across the homeland and foreign soil preventing the tragedies we all fear from madmen with untold weapons of mass destruction. Their actions often unknown, yet ever present, make our lives safer, and allow our freedoms to be enjoyed and shared.
But, worthy as some in public service are with their activities, some are alarmingly perfidious, dangerous, while secretly spying and subverting, invading our personal lives for purposes planned, and known only to a few who wish to gain or increase their power over us. We’ve seen it in the past but has the Trump light of scrutiny exposed more and more vermin than a New York sewer on Thanksgiving?
To bring to light the activities, familiar as well as unacknowledged, of these government watchdogs, it’s been a privilege to talk with people from the inside of some of our country’s top agencies. Patriots who dedicated years of service to doing what they thought right, best, honest and appropriate. All of these insiders having become whistleblowers, exposing the wrongdoing at great risk to future personal and career opportnities.
Many of us have taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution, to protect against “all” enemies, foreign and domestic, and yet never imagined that meant against our own administrations. Most of us grew up when the government and its many parts were respected, not feared; depended on, not worried about.
In this series, I introduce special people assembled to express facts and opinions, lay out those facts of agency abuses, and whose valuable time is so appreciated to share what should be an enlightening warning based on their own experiences and observations. You’ll see some answers are short. Reasons being 1) some of my interviewees are traveling internationally at this time and their valuable time limits long discussions. 2) Some subjects require restraint on the information they can give for personal, legal, career reasons or national security reasons.
Part 1 of Ms Rowley’s interview is HERE. This is part 2 of 2:
FBI – Coleen Rowley: B.A. degree in French from Wartburg College, graduated with honors from College of Law at the Univ. of Iowa. In 1981, Rowley was appointed a Special Agent with the FBI, and in 1984 was assigned to the New York Office working Italian organized crime and Sicilian heroin drug investigations. Rowley also served in the Paris, France Embassy and Montreal Consulates. In 1990 Rowley was “Chief Division Counsel” which entailed oversight of the Freedom of Information, Forfeiture, Victim-Witness and Community Outreach Programs as well as providing regular legal and ethics training to FBI Agents of the Division. In May of 2002 Rowley brought forth some of the pre 9-11 lapses and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community.
Rowley’s memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee’s Inquiry led to a two-year long DOJ Inspector General investigation. She was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine in 2002. In April 2003, following an unsuccessful and highly criticized attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her (GS-14) legal position to go back to being a (GS-13) FBI Special Agent. In early March 2003 she warned FBI Director Robert Mueller of further problems, including his going along with the Bush Administration’s deceptive plan to launch war on what would become the counterproductive war on Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. (Sadly enough, despite all facts to the contrary, the Bush Administration was able to fool 70% of the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11.)
RB ~ With all the agencies working inside and outside the country, are we overlooking the presence AND dangerous influence of groups like CAIR and others with ties to foreign entities or governments?
CR ~ I think the most consistently dangerous things the CIA and other US agencies have done has been to aid and arm various Al Qaeda and other associated terrorist groups, trying to use them as our “proxies.” This began with “Charlie Wilson’s War” using the Mujahadin in Afghanistan and Pakistan who morphed into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We should’ve learned our lesson about the consequences of aligning ourselves with foreign terrorists but it has continued with the Chechen terrorists, the Syrian and Libyan jihadists and even the Iranian terrorist dissident Mujahedin al Khalq (MEK) group.
As bad as the increase in international terrorism is, all due to this stupid US foreign policy and perpetual wars, aligned with Wahabi extremist Saudi Arabia, domestic mass shootings have tripled in recent years and actually take more lives inside the U.S.
RB ~ With your background related to the law and ethics, and inside knowledge of our government, is this something that should be personally adhered to by agents or something they need to be taught? And is the FBI and other agencies doing enough to counter illegal activities within?
CR ~ Senator Grassley, long an effective FBI watchdog, released a report compiled in 2000 chronicling misconduct by FBI agents, which he called a “list of horrors.” [Grassley report on FBI misconduct] Unfortunately I doubt that things have much improved since that time. The Department of Justice’s Inspector General and a US Attorney are looking at some of the current FISA Court abuses but I doubt they have either the time or resources to address all of the misconduct that is happening.
Law enforcement ethics training was initiated in 2001 as a result of various reckless (drunk driving) homicides committed by agents and other serious misconduct but this training seems to have gotten neglected after 9-11.
RB ~ For most of us, the Clinton’s have been on the highway of free rides since the 80’s, bypassing every legal stop sign and prosecution toll booth in their path as they speedily wind their way toward fame and riches – mostly infamous riches. Everything they touch seems to be laden with bi-chromatic fingerprint dust and the blood of innocents mixed with confusion. With the questionable death of Seth Rich and other DNC maneuvering, it’s been said you have your own theories and proof that the DNC email hacking was not the Russians, but an inside job.
CR ~ It’s true that both of the Clintons have constantly displayed deceptive and corrupt, self-enriching and ruthless activity in the course of their prior “leadership” of the U.S.
I haven’t weighed in on the Seth Rich case because it’s not possible to intelligently opine without hard evidence i.e. what’s called a “smoking gun.” But it’s possible he or some other insider leaked DNC information. I don’t think anyone really knows.
Hacking and hackers are now ubiquitous and everywhere. There are certainly hackers in Russia and China but also in the U.S. and Western countries. It looks like more than a few separate hackers were targeting and exfiltrating info from the DNC and DNC officials for months. I don’t think the full truth has come out. The “Intelligence Community Assessments” (which the FBI, CIA, NSA and DNI’s handpicked analysts produced), were mere allegations and did not provide any real evidence showing the Russian government was responsible for the hacking. The ICA was thus a good example of the opposite of “intelligence,” similar to what was ginned up for Colin Powell’s false presentation to the United Nations in order to launch war on Iraq. President Obama even admitted that it could not be shown that Russians hackers were the source for “Wikileaked” DNC info. Yet our mainstream media constantly spews this war propaganda.
RB ~ And for whose benefit and for what purpose? Was Rich to receive the blame for the hacking but wanted to prove otherwise?
CR ~ It’s hard for anyone right now to adequately know. For good overviews on the overall situation, its general purpose and to whose benefit—a horrible and extremely dangerous predicament for the American people brought on by corrupt government leaders, your readers should see these two exhaustive reviews: The first review is on Russianmania at the boiling point, and the second is on Mass Deception and the prelude to war.
RB ~ Is the FBI capable of independently pursuing “political crimes” to bring about justice to those involved in all this current Clinton/DNC/State Dept./intelligence corruption, or should they be more an investigative, enforcement force against more traditional crimes? Or is there really a difference?
CR ~ I really doubt the FBI is up to the task of impartially investigating the President and these highest levels of corrupt government leaders. In a way, it’s easy to sympathize with Comey and McCabe trying to walk a political tightrope given that unprecedented fact that BOTH presidential campaigns were under FBI investigation in the months and even weeks right up to (and after) the 2016 election. It’s hard to see how any law enforcement/justice entity could conduct an independent investigation and hold the highest level accountable. Those pragmatic reasons are why Nixon (and many other presidents) have always thought they were above the law.
RB ~ Is enough finally being done to investigate and dig into these email scandals and schemes?
CR ~ I don’t know what’s going on with regard to any further investigation of the Clinton email server and the Clinton Family Foundation corruption, but I doubt any official will get to the bottom of it any time soon. I do see the Dept of Justice’s Inspector General is expected to produce a report on some aspects of alleged FBI misconduct involving “Russiagate” so there is some source of hope that some independent investigation can be conducted.
RB ~ And as a follow up, are the lines of communication between the FBI, CIA and NSA now more open than before, or is interagency pride and elitism keeping them from working together efficiently?
CR ~ No doubt some turf battles persist, but I think the great enlarging of all their budgets after 9-11 to fight the “war on terror” has reduced interagency rivalry to a large extent. The agencies also seem to have equal access to the big intelligence databases (which include billions of pieces of non-relevant data) but as I mentioned before, that entails as many problems as it solves involving creating a bigger and bigger “haystack” as well as potential illegal and improper use of the data.
RB ~ Did you in your wildest intelligence dreams ever think that a major political party could invade the sanctity of our election process by creating false documents, use them to smear an opposition candidate before an election, then use them to assault the privacy of his closest confidants, using them to corrupt the privacy process of the FISA system, all while the long term goal of removing a duly elected president loomed in the back of their destructive playbook?
CR ~ That is an excellent description of what appears to have transpired with the “Steele” dossier. Although I and other whistleblowers warned the surveillance abuse would happen—I wrote an article back when Congress was initially intimidated into passing the “FISA Amendments Act” in August 2007 that the powers they were giving to the Executive Branch’s “national security” agencies would be turned on themselves, I am still somewhat surprised at how this all transpired so quickly. Officials sell their grabbing for more and more abusive and illegal powers as only being used to target foreigners but it was a slippery slope, and a rather quick slippery slope. The “war powers” quickly migrated home. That’s frankly why the CIA was supposed to be prohibited from acting domestically, because of their history of abuses since they are so used to having free reign abroad, without having to follow any laws.
RB ~ Was Snowden a traitor or a hero?
CR ~ I don’t believe in heroes and have written many times why it’s foolish to put anyone on a pedestal. Everyone is a mixed bag. But there are heroic actions and all whistleblowers who tell the truth about government fraud, waste, abuse, illegality and serious risk to public safety despite the personal risks and misfortunes and despite group think pressures are to be praised and emulated.
RB ~ You’re a strong proponent of critical thinking vs the standard partisan rants that are so pervasive. What can be done from the government side or the personal side to get back to reasonable thinking using truth and facts and not ideology?
CR ~ That’s a good question and I have asked prominent psychologists the same question, and unfortunately without any good answer. I have given many presentations on “ethical decision-making” and also on “Psychopathy, Propaganda and Group Think” but just letting people know how this works, how easily human vulnerabilities to emotional manipulation work, doesn’t seem to be very effective in reducing the phenomenon. After all, Nazi leader Goering’s warnings during the Nuremberg trials about how easy it is to manipulate people, to turn otherwise good people into monsters, even in a democracy, are well known. Perhaps a concerted effort to reduce group think by instilling critical thinking at an earlier effort in the education process would have an impact but our country’s educational and media apparatus do just the opposite.
RB ~ Did the decision to become a whistleblower come easy given your patriotism and seeing the need for truth, or was it a life changing moment with thoughts of reprisals and long term career and personal ramifications?
CR ~ Other than Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden and perhaps a handful of others, very few people deliberately decide to sacrifice everything to tell the truth. The majority of whistleblowers that I’ve met and I now know dozens, begin more naively, believing that it’s possible to get the truth out without martyring oneself. In my own case, I was realistic enough to know that my truth telling about FBI Headquarters having dropped the ball, that 9-11 could have been prevented, would anger these FBI officials and hurt my career but even I was somewhat surprised when I heard they were immediately discussing firing me. The only reason that probably didn’t happen was due to media pressure and four Senators writing to Mueller and Ashcroft recommending that I not be fired.
RB ~ What can day to day citizens – who before now had nothing to fear – do to be aware, and to ensure they are not caught up in some unintentional web of government lies from an alphabet agency set on invading our lives and destroying our futures?
CR ~ Well I think average citizens need to do a better job of watchdogging their own government and not abdicate their own responsibility to government “leaders” who don’t have their interests in mind. This means they have to read more, beyond mainstream news, speak up and write their opinions, contact their elected representatives, engage in protests and political action, basically exercise their First Amendment rights. Perhaps if more people would have voiced their opposition a few months ago to the reinstatement/enlargement of the FISA Amendments Act, it wouldn’t have passed when the alphabet agencies claimed they needed these vast spying powers, that allow monitoring and collection of Americans’ communications.
RB ~ With Alexis, Echo, TVs with cameras, home security Wifi cameras, Google phones tracking our every move and refrigerators knowing what we buy and how we shop, are we living totally exposed and non-private lives open to any invasion from someone is willing to review, sell or track?
CR ~ You also need to include the recent example of Facebook (and other social media) using and selling the data they collect on those who join social networks or use the internet. There’s no doubt that almost all technological advances and new communication devices that people see a need for also are privacy-defeating. Cameras are everywhere now and while they serve some good purposes, they also infringe on privacy and exercise of rights. I don’t see any of this being ever rolled back. So laws and policies need to keep pace with developments in technology.
RB ~ With so many problems and scandals related to political corruption, spying on citizens, immigration, local communities and states opting out of abiding by federal law….are we losing America?
CR ~ Things are always changing. When the 13 colonies became states, the federal government had very little power. Even when the FBI was formed in 1920’s, there were almost no federal laws creating federal crimes that it could investigate. But the federal government has been aggregating and centralizing power since the U.S. came into being under the Constitution and perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea if power went back to being more decentralized and citizens could have more input on lower levels than they can have on the national government. I don’t see that happening however.
I do think our democratic form of government is in danger for a lot of reasons: corruption; war powers abuses; lack of ability of voters to hold leaders accountable, etc.
RB ~ And with all the action and complications of a government intelligence / law enforcement position, what was that one fun, rewarding, passionate moment you remember from your whole career?
CR ~ I’m not sure there was one such moment but I did a lot of painstaking transcribing of intercepted conversations among Italian organized crime members in New York City in the early 1980’s by which we were able to piece together elaborate labor racketeering schemes that were eventually successfully proven at trial and used to convict a number of mob bosses.
RB ~ In closing, does the America public have something to fear about the growing unknown? Are we headed down a path of intrusion that warrants the Utah facility be turned into a veteran’s homeless shelter while money and resources are directed to the outside world instead of inside our borders?
CR ~ I do believe we face a “Brave New World” to put it euphemistically with all the data gathering going on—and without a shred of evidence that it has reduced terrorism. Even worse, I also think we could be headed for a nuclear WWIII .
RB ~ Are there any other areas you think important to cover here or highlight?
CR ~ I’ve included a number of links to articles for you as I feel Americans need to be aware of where we’re coming from, where we are and where we’re headed..
As I’ve interviewed and written about these intelligence professionals and whistleblowers, I’m reminded…
“Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.”
My next article will highlight a former NSA intelligence official. His input will add much to this series of government insiders.
Our gratitude and appreciate to Ms. Rowley for her service to our country and her time in sharing these important inside views. Part 1 of Ms Rowley’s interview is HERE.