My post, At this point, anti-Trump Russia hysteria smells like Ben Rhodes-style echo chamber, has received a pretty good reaction.

The basis thesis was that what is happening to Trump when it comes to Russia is similar to the admitted deception and media echo chamber created by Ben Rhodes, communications point man for the Obama administration’s push for the Iran nuclear deal.

That deception involved the false narrative of nuclear talks sparked by a newly-found moderation in the Iranian regime, and the creation of a self-sustaining echo chamber of naive media and aligned pro-Iranian interest groups. The goal was not just to advance the Iran nuclear deal, but also to provide cover for the overall objective of a Grand Bargain with Iran, giving Iran regional hegemony.

While the anti-Trump Russia echo chamber doesn’t mirror the Iran echo chamber precisely in details, it’s pretty close when it comes to creating a similar effect.

A follower on Twitter, Thomas Villecco, suggested this paradigm:

Gin up false narrative of Russian collusion.

Unmask Trump people who spoke with Russians.

Disseminate info across bureaucracy.

Await leaks.

There are pieces of that puzzle coming into view.

Rhodes has been a particularly aggressive defender of the Obama administration and Rice through his Twitter account, demanding that media stay focused on Russia, and stop covering the Rice story.

Maybe he is righteously indignant, or maybe he doth protest too much.

Then there is this reminder from Lee Smith, writing at The Tablet, that before Obama snooping (allegedly) came for Trump, it came for the Israel supporters opposing the Iran deal, Did the Obama Administration’s Abuse of Foreign-Intelligence Collection Start Before Trump?:

In a December 29, 2015 article, The Wall Street Journal described how the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on Israeli officials to understand how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, like Ambassador Ron Dermer, intended to fight the Iran Deal. The Journal reported that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.” ….

I believe the spying was real and that it was done not in an effort to keep the country safe from threats—but in order to help the White House fight their domestic political opponents.

“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”

This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—terrorize them.

Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.

(As an aside, U.S. spying on Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly was so intense during the Obama years that to evade surveillance Netanyahu had no office computer, email or private phone, and sometimes resorted to “gestures”)

I’ll come back to points I’ve made before: I can’t prove that the innuendo against the Trump campaign over alleged collusion is true, or that it’s false. Because at this point, there are no actual facts in the public record on which to reach an informed decision. But I’ll add, that until there is such proof, Trump and his campaign should be presumed innocent.

On the Susan Rice unmasking scandal, by contrast, there are facts suggesting Rice was not truthful when she first discussed the unmasking issue, and she has a history of deception at best, lying at worst. But she too is presumed innocent.

I predict a dual track investigation:

What this suggests, is that while there may not necessarily have been anything illegal about Susan Rice making those requests, given her background, given how she was put out as the point person to spread the lie about the Benghazi video, that it was an attack based on a video, given her tattered history, I think that it’s very, very suspicious, and it certainly warrants additional information, additional investigation.

So I think what this all but guarantees is that there will be a dual track investigation in Congress.

On the one hand, any alleged collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia, of which there’s been no proof thus far, but also the action of the Obama administration.

I don’t see how the Obama administration does not now become a target of congressional investigation after this revelation.”

As to Ben Rhodes, I’ll take a “long shot” on this: I’ll be shocked if, by the time this is over, he’s not somehow drawn into the Rice unmasking scandal:



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