House Intel Hearing On Russia-Ukraine Provides Rare Oversight Of Our Intel Agencies

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Intel Chiefs from Left to right–Chris Wray(FBI), General Nakasone(NSA), Gina Haspel(former CIA Director), William Burns(CIA Director) and Lt. Gen Scott Berrier(DIA)

A House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Russia-Ukraine war provided a rare opportunity for members of Congress to conduct a backhanded oversight of our intelligence agencies. The hearing, which assembled all the alphabet agency chiefs(FBI, NSA, CIA & DIA) in one room(a very rare occurrence), afforded members of Congress a unique opportunity to raise other domestic issues of public concern regarding our intel agencies. Oversight of our intelligence agencies, as you may know, is an issue Congress has dragged its feet on, ever since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, so this was a breath of fresh air.

Rep Chris Stewart(R-UT) questioned FBI Director Wray about the controversial NSO Spyware Pegasus , which several media reports indicated last year, was being used by dictators worldwide, to illegally track/spy on political dissidents and even journalists. Rep Stewart wanted to know whether Pegasus was being used on U.S. persons for investigative purposes. Director Wray assured Rep Stewart that the FBI purchased Pegasus in 2019 only for “testing and evaluation purposes“, adding that it has never been used on any U.S. person for investigative purposes.

Rep Stewart then asked why the FBI would test a spying software if it didn’t intend to use it? Director Wray, acknowledging that this was a good question, maintained that Pegasus has never been used for investigative purposes on U.S. persons, and that FBI routinely tests products out there, that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Rep Joaquin Castro(D-TX) followed up on Rep Stewart’s questioning re Pegasus software. He wanted to know whether foreign governments have used Pegasus to target U.S. persons. Director Wray indicated that such a question would be better answered in a classified setting, so we are left hanging on that issue. Yay!!

Another interesting line of questioning came from Rep Elise Stefanik(R-NY) who brought up a very troubling case of an FBI counterterrorism informant, who was not only known to have violated the law multiple times, but whose Limo company led to the deaths of some 20 innocent New Yorkers, ruining the lives of their surviving family members. The crux of Rep Stefanik’s question, an excellent one that quite frankly isn’t asked often enough, was whether informants used in counterterrorism cases, are vetted to make sure they are not criminals. Director Wray assured Rep Stefanik that there are strict rules in place regarding the conduct of FBI informants, even when it comes to counterterrorism cases. This was a very important question because there is a widely held belief out there that in counterterrorism cases, “anything goes”, including the use of criminals/criminal gangs to go after/harass terrorism suspects–people who often times, have not been convicted of anything. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, the hearing today showed just how important it is to have proper oversight of our intelligence agencies, something Yours Truly has been screaming about. There is absolutely no reason why questions about Pegasus spyware and other intelligence-related questions cannot be aired in a public forum like it happened today. Simply put, not every intelligence-related hearing has to be in a private setting. There are enough topics of public interest that can be safely discussed in public. Hopefully when U.S. Senators get their go-around with these intelligence chiefs, somebody will pop the $1 million question–the plight of targeted individuals in the U.S., which maybe, just maybe, may solve the Havana Syndrome mystery.

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Saudi Crown Prince Told Ambassador To “Silence” Khashoggi

President Trump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

There was a stunning revelation today on MSNBC’s AM Joy show by University of Miami Visiting Professor and Foreign Policy Analyst Rula Jebreal that CIA Boss Gina Haspel told her counterparts in Turkey the U.S. has a recording of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman(MBS) telling his brother who is the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. to “silence” Khashoggi.


This stunning revelation by Rula Jebreal, raises a lot of questions about President Trump’s continued defense of the Saudi Crown Prince because if CIA Boss Gina Haspel shared this information with her Turkish counterparts, Trump is also aware of this information. The question then becomes, why would Trump still go out of his way to defend MBS? Jebreal’s answer? “Follow the money.”

Rula Jebreal said on AM Joy show; “The President[Trump] said he[MBS] might have done it, maybe he didn’t do it. Actually we know for a fact that Gina Haspel the head of CIA told her counterparts in Turkey that they have a recording of Mohammed Bin Salman the Crown Prince telling his brother who is the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. to get rid and to silence Jamal Khashoggi. We have evidence that MBS is behind the savage murder of Jamal Khashoggi. However the President decides and I think for clear reason…Why would Saudi Arabia be his first foreign trip after he bashed them during the election campaign? Why would he go out of his way to defend the Saudis? Because there’s money involved, follow the money, and that’s what we need to investigate.”

For the record, Trump’s financial entanglements with the Saudis is no secret and has been sufficiently reported on by the mainstream media. The question now is whether he is too compromised by his financial entanglements with the Saudis to the point where he is making foreign policy decisions that are against best interests of the U.S.

Trump’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia

Bottom line, House Democrats have their work cut out for them. They must get to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi scandal, not just for his grieving family’s sake, but also for the growing concerns well articulated by Rula Jebreal and others, that Trump’s financial entanglements with the Saudis may be behind his strange and patently un-American defense of the regime. Serious questions also remain regarding Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner’s ties to MBS specifically, whether he leaked classified information to MBS as was reported in some sections of the mainstream media. House Dems must also get to the bottom of Kushner’s ties to the Saudis.

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