Monday, March 06, 2017


You watch the news and it's like this famous scene from Orson Welles's classic, "The Lady from Shanghai":

Is Trump crazy? Are people telling you the truth? Why is everything reported in the news filtered through "senior American officials?"
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.

Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
So did Comey do this or not? We haven't heard from Comey, just from unnamed "senior American officials?" And if he had, are we certain Comey have direct knowledge of what Barack Obama ordered, or didn't order?

We don't know any of it, really. I'm writing this at my dining room table in my home in a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I don't know how you define who a "senior American official" is. Is it Comey himself? Or is it this guy?
When Todd asked him whether he could confirm or deny if a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act) order for this existed, [Former DNI James] Clapper declared, "I can deny it."

Asked again whether there was a FISA Court order to monitor Trump Tower, Clapper said, "Not to my knowledge."

Clapper said that if any wiretap like that occurred, he would "certainly hope" that he would be aware of it.

"I can't speak for other authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity," he added.
So do you know what's happening? Do you trust the New York Times? Do you trust NBC? Do you trust Clapper? Should you?
Some lawmakers reacted to the long-expected resignation announcement from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday by wishing him an eventful retirement, featuring prosecution and possible prison time.

The passage of more than three years hasn’t cooled the insistence in certain quarters that Clapper face charges for an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir" and "not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.

About three months after making that claim, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the answer was untruthful and that the NSA was in fact collecting in bulk domestic call records, along with various internet communications.
I can't tell you what to think about any of it. I would say this -- whether you choose to believe Donald Trump or not, he is more likely to know what happened than you are. Whether he's telling the truth? Who knows? We're into full-on epistemology here.


W.B. Picklesworth said...

Agree with you that epistemology is becoming a particularly big thing. I'm tempted to say that it's been transformed into "anepistemology." We search (perhaps subconsciously) for ways NOT to know. We live in an age of almost infinite information and it's been corrupted.

Gino said...

the waters are muddied, to be sure. but none of this will decrease support for Trump by those who voted for him.

this muddying is, in my view, an attempt to get enough GOP senators/congress critters to abandon him and nullify the election.
evil is afoot, if you ask me, and the republic will soon fall if it is allowed to prevail.

Bike Bubba said...

I like Clapper's comment " I certainly hope I would be aware of it." Uh-huh, because when an administration is doing something horribly illegal, they always want as many people to know about it as possible. Especially people that perhaps ought to be facing jail time for perjury before Congress--certainly you want to give them something they can tell the prosecutors in exchange for a favorable plea bargain.

Bike Bubba said...

I liked Comey's comment about being "incredulous" at the allegation that the FBI would be doing something illegal or immoral. Um, looked at your "exonerations" of Mrs. Clinton lately, James? Or those of the IRS staffers, or the BATFE guys involved in "Fast & Furious"? It's not like the past eight years have been shining in brilliance for the FBI, to put it mildly. Not all Comey's fault, but since 2013, he owns it.