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The above link is to a story from back in July about documents President Trump declassified and ordered the FBI and DOJ to release to the public, but they refused to release them. The documents pertain to the conduct of US intelligence agencies, particularly the FBI, toward candidate, then President Donald Trump during his campaign and later presidency and the investigation of alleged connections to Russia. President Trump ordered the DOJ to release the documents during the final days of his presidency and the agency flat-out refused. It is my educated guess that these are the documents the FBI were after when they raided the president’s Florida home. The Washington Post ran an article in which the author claimed the documents are related to nuclear weapons but I suspect this is a smokescreen to divert attention from the real documents.
Now, it so happens I know a little bit about classified information and a tad about nuclear weapons. As a non-commissioned officer in the US Air Force, I held a Secret then a Top Secret security clearance. My security clearance was downgraded to Secret after I transferred to a unit where there was no need for me to have access to Top Secret information any longer. Most people are probably not aware of it, but most Air Force jobs require at least a Secret security clearance even though most probably never have access to any classified information at all. I can only think of a few occasions when I had access to Secret documents, or even Confidential for that matter. When I enlisted in the Air Force, I had to fill out a document authorizing the Air Force to conduct a background investigation on me. While in basic training, I was selected for training as a jet aircraft mechanic, a skill that required a Secret clearance, not because airplanes themselves are classified but because some missions are. I was trained on B-47s, nuclear bombers that were being phased out and replaced by B-52s. I could be assigned to any airplane with more than two engines. Some flew classified missions.
The US government has been hiding information from the public since George Washington was president. Not all secret information pertains to the military either. Some of it – much of it perhaps – is political. Some is to keep foreign governments from learning information that might be beneficial to them in negotiations but much of it is to keep government actions secret from the American public. Some information is hidden from Congress, which American presidents starting with George Washington came to see as opponents who keep them from carrying out their plans. Just when the United States government specified the three levels of classification is unclear, but it was probably during World War II when the government was secretly working on the atomic bomb (a secret the Soviets were well aware of because someone in the program was feeding them information.) Although documents are classified as Confidential, Secret and Top Secret, some documents were also designated as “Restricted” and some as “NoForn,” meaning no foreigners were allowed to see them, even though they hadn’t been given a security classification. Some were also designated as “For Official Use Only,” meaning they weren’t to be made available to the media or anyone other than those who needed access to them. It’s been a long time, but my recollection is that aircraft operating manuals and other manuals I was issued contained a “For Official Use Only” statement on the cover page.
I was awarded a Secret security clearance either while I was in basic or after I started aircraft mechanic training at Amarillo, Texas. A military member’s security clearance level was posted on transfer and some other orders. A security clearance was required for aircraft maintenance, as well as most other Air Force career fields. Only a few did not require a clearance, one of which was cooks and bakers. I know this because I once encountered a young airman who had been cleared at the highest level but lost his clearance. He was formerly a security technician, meaning he was assigned to the Air Force Security Service, an agency responsible for collecting information by eavesdropping on foreign communications. (They also eavesdrop on US military and government communications.) A call went out Air Force wide for airmen to cross-train into the aircraft loadmaster career field. It was a popular field because it involved flying and relative few Air Force enlisted personnel are on aircrew duty. The loadmaster field required a Secret clearance. He was already cleared at the highest level but for some reason a new background check was run on him. It turned out he had gotten married and his new wife had family in the Soviet Union, which made him a security risk. He lost his security clearance and could no longer be a loadmaster nor could he go back to his previous field, so he went to the chow hall as an apprentice cook.
The young cook had previously held what was known in the Air Force as a “Crypto” clearance. Although the government only identifies three levels of security clearance – Confidential, Secret and Top Secret – there are higher levels of classification within the Top Secret level. The Crypto clearance the cook had held was awarded to men and women involved in coding and decoding of classified messages. There was also another aspect of the field, the decoding of intercepted communications of foreign nations. At the time, the Air Force Security Service was an Air Force major command but it had a relationship with the National Security Agency, a super-secret government agency that wags referred to as “No Such Agency.” The Army and Navy had their own commands that reported information it’s personnel gathered to NSA. AFSS operated classified collection sites at various locations around the world. The command also maintained squadrons operating airplanes equipped with special electronic intercept equipment, including two squadrons with C-130s, one in Japan and the other in Germany. The modified C-130s featured a capsule in the cargo compartment with stations for intercept operators and translators. Their mission was intercepting Soviet, Chinese, North Korean and North Vietnamese radio communications, particularly to determine their air defense methods. The Navy has an identical mission to determine antisubmarine methods using modified P-3s. A number of US airplanes have been shot down in or near hostile territory while on such “sneaky Pete” missions. The AFSS, the Army Security Service and NSA also had a mission of monitoring telephones and other communications of US military and government personnel to prevent the revelation of classified information. In one of my assignments, there were signs above the telephones warning users to be careful what we said, that the phones were monitored. I once worked with an Army veteran who was in the Army’s equivalent to the AFSS. He told me he was once assigned to monitor communications of an Army general in Europe and picked up conversations of the officer with his mistress.
I spent twelve years in the Air Force in the sixties and seventies. I was on flying status as an aircrew member on transport airplanes for almost eleven of those years. Three of my assignments were in squadrons with a mission transporting nuclear weapons in addition to other, more routine, missions. Two were overseas where our nuke mission was for nuclear war. Although the mission itself was Secret, it was Top Secret because of where we would go if the unthinkable happened and we were launched. It was because of that mission that I was awarded a Top Secret clearance. We spent a week on alert in a restricted area on an established airbase. By restricted, I mean the area was fenced in and guarded. Our C-130 was parked alongside two tactical fighters loaded with nuclear weapons. We were loaded with nuclear weapons that we would fly to a Top Secret base where the two fighters would return to be loaded for a second mission after dropping their bombs on a hostile target. Although all of us held Top Secret clearances, I was told that the only thing actually classified Top Secret was a sealed envelope in the mission folder our navigator had been given. The navigator was designated as the classifieds officer on the crew. We spent a week on ten-minute alert, meaning we had ten minutes from the time the alert sounded to get to the restricted area, get to our airplane, start the engines and be ready to taxi. It was a stressful week because we were tied to the alert sirens and flashing red lights around the base and because we knew that if we were actually ordered to taxi out and take off, the world would never be the same again. I was on the same mission three years later at the same location when I was assigned to another C-130 wing at another base. Our wing sent crews to the location to support the same mission I had been involved in previously.
Between my two overseas assignments with the Top Secret mission, I was assigned to a C-141 squadron in the United States. Our squadron was unique because we were designated as a special missions squadron, meaning we were responsible for moving nuclear weapons and nuclear components around the world. However, we didn’t have a wartime mission as the squadrons I was in overseas had – our mission was logistical. Although I held a Top Secret clearance, I don’t think I was ever assigned to a mission that was classified Top Secret. Rather, they were classified Secret. One mission involved moving small nuclear warheads from an overseas location to a base in the United States with a restricted area where nuclear warheads were stored. We loaded the 75-pound “birdcages” using a classified manual, probably Secret, that was part of our mission kit. When we finished, we put the manual back in the mission kit then locked the airplane and it was put under guard until we departed the following day.
After my second overseas assignment, I was assigned to a squadron with a brand new transport type and we didn’t have a nuclear mission. A year or so after I joined the squadron, the Air Force decided there were too many people with Top Secret clearances. Consequently, many clearances were downgraded to Secret, including mine. I can count on my hands the number of times I attended a classified briefing during my 12 years of military service and most of those were the daily intelligence briefings during my time on alert. I attended a classified briefing in my first squadron in the States when we briefed on a brand new mission the squadron had been selected to train for. The second was when I attended an orientation briefing in my new unit at my first overseas assignment. Orientation briefings acquaint new personnel with their new unit. This one was classified. Whenever I attended a classified briefing, I was required to present my military ID card and sign a roster.
I say all this to provide some background. I’m prompted to write this because the Washington Post recently claimed that the raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-Lago resort and home was due to him having nuclear-related documents. I seriously doubt that this is true. The only possible documents he might possibly have had access to would have been those designating the targets for US nuclear weapons in the event of war. If any such documents were in the White House, they would have been in the briefcase carried by the officer assigned to the president to carry the “Football.”
Since the 1960s when the nuclear mission started including missile-firing submarines, the US nuclear mission has been a “triad” of air, land and sea launching platforms – bombers, fighter-bombers, missile silos, submarines and some ships. Each component has its own targets. While a president probably approves the targets, I doubt that they would be involved in selecting them and I doubt that a list of targets would have been kept in the White House. If they were, they would not have been where they could have been packed up when Donald Trump was moving out of the White House, they would have been kept in a secure location accessible only by those “with a need to know.” Contrary to popular belief, nuclear weapons are not Top Secret, they’re Secret. Nuclear weapons have been part of the US military arsenal since 1945. It’s their locations (some of them) and targets that are Top Secret. In spite of what the Washington Post claimed, I seriously doubt that there were any nuclear-related documents at Mar-Lago. For that matter, I doubt that there were any classified documents there at all. On the other hand, there could have been declassified documents related to Donald Trump’s presidency.
When I decided to write a book about the C-130 tactical airlift mission, I contacted the Air Force to gain access to the historical records. Air Force historical records are routinely classified for thirty years, or they were at that time. I was informed that such records are classified for that period in order to (1) protect military secrets, (2) protect classified military equipment that might still be in use, (3) protect relationships with foreign countries and (4) to protect reputations. Some records, such as records related to the use of the atomic bomb, were classified for fifty years as were other records that might possibly be embarrassing to officials from that time, namely President Harry Truman. The report of interviews of the Japanese generals who would have commanded the Japanese forces opposing an Allied invasion of Kyushu were classified for fifty years. Here is the report if anyone is interested - JapaneseGenerals.pdf (sammcgowan.com).
I strongly suspect that the Mar-Logo raid was conducted because of the information referred to in the link preceding this article – to protect the reputation of the FBI and certain political figures, including Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden. During the final year of his presidency, right down to the final day, President Trump declassified numerous documents related to FBI and NSA actions taken against him, particularly those related to Operation CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, an FBI operation attempting to somehow link him to Russia. The FBI planted an informant inside the Trump campaign and attempted to persuade others to inform for them. The DOJ inspector general later determined that the DOJ, particularly the FBI, had acted improperly in obtaining warrants to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a former Naval officer who had spent time in Russia (and provided intelligence to the CIA) and had become a petroleum consultant. The FBI also took questionable actions involving George Papadopoulos. Although he insists he did nothing wrong, the FBI coerced him into pleading guilty to “lying to the FBI,” a catch-all regulation the FBI put forth as a means of obtaining a conviction of some kind when they lack evidence of anything else. They routinely use it after bankrupting individuals they have under investigation. Another example is Lt. General Mike Flynn, who got crosswise with the Obama administration, who then sought to discredit him after Donald Trump named him to his cabinet. After Donald Trump was elected president, Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA, paid a visit to the president-elect and allegedly informed him that the Obama Whitehouse was spying on him. Trump moved his headquarters out of Trump Tower to New Jersey the next day. President Trump later claimed Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower. The media poo-pooed the claim but it was later revealed that it was true. The FBI or NSA were monitoring a computer system in the building for sure. Admiral Rogers had not gone along with actions taken by other senior intelligence officials and took a less aggressive stand in a report Obama released just before Trump’s inauguration. The admiral DID NOT advise Obama of his visit beforehand. In retaliation, Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, claimed he had recommended that the admiral be fired.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are both extra-constitutional organizations. There was no Department of Justice in the Federal government prior to 1870 when the Grant Administration established it, ostensibly to “prosecute Klan members.” However, there is a problem with this claim – the Klan, which was confined mostly to Tennessee, had already disbanded. The original Klan was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee as a fraternal organization of former Confederates modeled on college fraternities and other men’s organizations of the time. The founders came up with some silly rituals and costumes – not the peaked white hat and robe of the Twentieth Century Klan. They started meeting in a large mansion outside of town that had been damaged by a tornado. They established “guards” at the entrance to the drive who told passers by that they were the ghosts of soldiers that had been killed in the war. This had a frightening effect on local Negroes, who were superstitious. There had been a lot of problems from the recently freed slaves but the news of the “ghosts” caused them to moderate their behavior. The Tennessee governor, William G. “Parson” Brownlow was a Radical Republican and he had disenfranchised former Confederates and was causing other problems. Tennessee Confederate veterans realized the Klan could be used as a weapon. Their activities escalated to violence. However, the Klan disbanded when Brownlow left the governorship in 1869 and went to Washington as a US senator. His successor, Dewitt Clinton Senter, who had been a Radical, changed his mind about treatment of former Confederates and abolished most of Brownlow’s policies. With Brownlow out of the way, the Klan leadership decided there was no longer a need for the organization and disbanded. Senter disbanded the “militia” Brownlow had formed and re-enfranchised former Confederates. (To his detriment, they voted him out of office the next election.) Historians claim the new DOJ prosecuted hundreds of “Klan” members prior to the end of Reconstruction seven years after it was formed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations came into being almost forty years after the DOJ was formed, and without Congressional approval. The Constitution left most matters to the States and no organization had been created to investigate Federal crimes. The only Federal law enforcement/investigative organization was the Secret Service, which was part of the Treasury Department and was primarily responsible for the investigation of financial crimes. Washington established the US Marshals whose primary role was serving Federal warrants. They later enforced laws on Federal lands, including US territories in the West. President Theodore Roosevelt established an investigative unit within the DOJ by executive order. The DOJ had been lobbying Congress for it’s own investigative unit but had been opposed on the basis that such a unit wasn’t necessary. When Congress returned from recess, they let the new organization stand. The new Bureau of Investigations set out garnering more power for itself. During World War I, it took for itself the responsibility for finding enemy agents. When J. Edgar Hoover became head, he continued the effort to expand the bureau and garner more power for it and himself. The FBI achieved fame as it battled various gangs of criminals involved in Federal crimes, primarily robbing banks.
Until recent years, the FBI was led by men with strong conservative bent. That has changed as more and more college graduates joined the Agency whose political views are leftwing. The same thing has happened in the Central Intelligence Agency, starting during the Carter Administration. Although the FBI is supposed to be apolitical, the agency seems to have become politicized with certain presidents using it as their personal police force. The investigation of Donald Trump as a candidate then as President of the United States is without precedent. Although the DOJ IG investigation of DOJ actions regarding the investigation of President Trump did not find that the actions of particular agents were politically motivated, neither did it rule it out. The timing of the raid on Donald Trump’s home – three months before a Congressional election and as candidates are starting to declare for the 2024 presidential election, and with a current president whose standing in the polls is at rock bottom – is very suspicious.
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