by Sharon Rondeau

Photo credit: bohed at Pixabay

(Jun. 27, 2019) — Part 1 of this title focused on a June 7, 2019 interview conducted between former NSA officials William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe and “Operation Freedom,” hosted by Dr. Dave Janda, in which the two whistleblowers said that former NSA and CIA contractor Dennis Montgomery may possess information about government surveillance worthy of investigation.

The interview was notable in that Wiebe and a former colleague, Thomas Drake, signed a November 13, 2014 analysis summary directed to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) with the finding that Montgomery was “a complete and total FRAUD” as a result of their having analyzed data on nearly four dozen hard drives provided through Sheriff’s Office liaisons Mike Zullo and Det. Brian Mackiewicz.

In an attempt to verify whether or not the data Montgomery provided to the MCSO while working as a confidential informant was valuable, Zullo, who continued to serve as lead investigator of the Obama birth certificate probe, contacted Wiebe, Drake and Binney to request an analysis.  As a former detective and volunteer for then-Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse,” Zullo was also supervising Montgomery’s work for the MCSO, which spanned approximately a year.

In November 2014, Zullo and Mackiewicz traveled from Arizona to Maryland with the hard drives and were present for a majority of the time while the three former NSA employees analyzed the contents of the drives, Zullo told The Post & Email on Tuesday.

In addition to determining that the drives contained nothing usable, in their summary Wiebe and Drake stated that the amalgamation of information represented “evidence of an outright and fraudulent con perpetrated on the government for personal gain and cover.”

While Binney to Janda made a passing reference to “Arpaio’s detectives” as the conduit of the hard drives, neither he nor Wiebe explained how those “detectives” came to be involved in their receipt and analysis of the data nor the fact that the findings at the time were highly discrediting to Montgomery.

Rather, Binney said, he recalled seeing images of “bank checks” which could have been procured only by observation or breaching. “You either have to surveil a transfer of data between banks or you have to hack in to the bank to get it,” Binney told Janda.

Janda led the broadcast by referring to Montgomery as “a lightning rod” in informing the public of “parallel platforms” which the federal government uses to collect Americans’ personal data. Moreover, Janda arguably attempted to defend Montgomery against claims that he was a chronic gambler and drinker and that “parallel platforms” do not exist.

As with the Obama birth certificate investigation, The Post & Email has sourced all of its reporting on Montgomery to Zullo, who conceived of the idea of an independent analysis of the hard drives and was responsible for physically transporting Montgomery, who was indisposed at the time, to a federal judge in Washington, DC to testify as to any classified information in his possession which he believed required action on the government’s part.

The Post & Email’s exceptions to that sourcing include summaries of Zullo’s interviews with “Freedom Friday” host Carl Gallups and two congressional transcripts in which Montgomery’s provision of information to the FBI was a subject of testimony.

Montgomery was averse to approaching the FBI with the information he claimed to have, Zullo said, because of a 2006 FBI raid on his home which a federal judge ultimately ruled was a violation of Montgomery’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Montgomery has had enormous negative press coverage.  Despite the “devastating” letter from the former NSA employees, Zullo told The Post & Email, Montgomery did provide data on thumb drives which proved to be “verifiable” and “verified” by Zullo himself.

In connection with a 2015 lawsuit filed against James Risen, formerly of The New York Times, Atty. Larry Klayman, who came to represent Montgomery in that and several other legal matters, described Montgomery as “a courageous whistleblower.”

Drake, Wiebe, and others involved in whistleblowing have also experienced FBI raids, they have said in various interviews in the years since leaving government service. In 2010, Drake was charged with violating the Espionage Act after speaking to a reporter from The Baltimore Sun.  Drake eventually accepted a misdemeanor plea agreement, The New York Times reported on June 9, 2011.  “The deal represented the almost complete collapse of the government’s effort to make an example of Mr. Drake, who was charged last year in a 10-count indictment that accused him of obstructing justice and lying to investigators. It is uncertain whether the outcome will influence the handling of three pending leak cases or others still under investigation,” The Times wrote.  “The case against Mr. Drake is among five such prosecutions for disclosures to the news media brought since President Obama took office in 2009: one each against defendants from the National Security Agency, the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the military and the State Department. In the past, such prosecutions have been extremely rare — three or four in history, depending on how they are counted, and never more than one under any other president.”

Wiebe’s explanation to The Post & Email for the observations he made to Janda as compared to the 2014 letter is, in part, “in terms of current developments surrounding the potential illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign, we now believe the whole Montgomery issue needs to be thoroughly investigated, including the classified facts surrounding his claims.”

In a response to our question, “Does your response mean you were incorrect in your assessment of Montgomery when he issued the report to the sheriff’s office?” Wiebe stated, in part:  “What has changed is my and Binney’s view regarding the veracity of Dennis Montgomery’s claims in light of the Negroponte action under the State Secrets Act, essentially placing a gag order on Montgomery due to the sensitivity of what he did. We now say it is possible that Montgomery has been truthful about the operations he carried out and that the only way to find out is to have the matter thoroughly investigated.”

Negroponte’s background is attested to in a lawsuit filed against then-President George W. Bush, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and other agency directors, including Negroponte when he served as Director of National Intelligence.

A biography of Negroponte, who joined The Miller Center at the University of Virginia last year, reads, in part, “Negroponte, who commenced government service in 1960, was the first director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush and later served as deputy secretary of state, where he was the State Department’s chief operating officer. He has been ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Nations, and Iraq. In Washington, he served twice on the National Security Council staff, first as director for Vietnam in the Nixon Administration and then as deputy national security advisor under President Ronald Reagan.”

In a dated article about the State Secrets Privilege, as it is known, the ACLU wrote, “The state secrets privilege, when properly invoked, permits the government to block the release of any information in a lawsuit that, if disclosed, would cause harm to national security. However, the Bush administration is increasingly using the privilege to dismiss entire lawsuits at the onset. The government has invoked the privilege to evade accountability for torture, to silence national security whistleblowers, and even to dismiss a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination. This once-rare tool is being used not to protect the nation from harm, but to cover up the government’s illegal actions and prevent further embarrassment.”

The SSP is not to be confused with a proposed bill, the State Secrets Protection Act, which did not pass through Congress.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

The Supreme Court recognized the ‘state secrets’ privilege in the 1953 case United States v. Reynolds. The 1953 privilege was much more limited than how the government interprets it today.

Invoking the Privilege: As the Supreme Court said at the time, it can only be invoked where “‘there is a reasonable danger’ that disclosure [of evidence] will ‘expose military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged.’ The invocation must come from “the head of the department which has control over the matter, after actual personal consideration of that office.”

Impact of the Privilege: Under Reynolds, the government could exempt individual pieces of evidence from discovery—evidence that only the government possessed—if their release would harm national security. The case could still go forward with other evidence. The Supreme Court recently confirmed this interpretation, saying “The privileged information is excluded and the trial goes on without it.”

A 2006 lawsuit Montgomery filed against his former business partner and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) details Negroponte’s “support” of “a claim of military and state secrets privilege.”

In response to Binney and Wiebe’s appearance on Janda’s show, Zullo told The Post & Email exclusively:

This is manufactured.   This is my observation after viewing the YouTube videos of the encounter.  [Editor’s Note:  The original interview is here, while a follow-up on June 23 with a Paul Rosenberg, Wiebe and Binney is here.]

First of all, it’s my opinion that this was contrived – that this – whatever you want to call this thing – this show was done with one purpose and one purpose only:  to paint Dennis Montgomery as creditable, and I know from first-hand experience that credibility is something Montgomery has been seeking since we met him back in 2013.  Part of the problem with Dennis Montgomery is he’s his own worst enemy, and he does things, conducts himself in a manner that actually diminishes his own credibility.

In watching Kirk and Bill, people who I respect, people who I believe are true patriots and who paid a big price for this country, it is painfully obvious to me, and perhaps unknowingly to them, they have been used in a contrived attempt to make Montgomery appear creditable on all counts, when in fact he just simply can’t be.  By his interactions with the sheriff’s office, he simply can’t be.

Case in point:  you have a scathing two-page report issued by Wiebe and Thomas Drake (who is noticeably absent, not even mentioned in the Janda interview) who reviewed numerous hard drives provided by Montgomery and as a result, for all intents and purposes, referred to Dennis Montgomery as a “fraud” and a “con” and accused him of being such for the purpose of taking money from the government.

I know what was asked of them; we asked them to review the information Montgomery supplied us, not to determine anything about the man’s character and/or his credibility; it was to tell us if there was anything of value or anything of a privileged nature on these hard drives.

So they went to an extreme, and I remember that when I got that report, I was troubled, because they went to an area where there was no way, based on the information we provided to them, they could have reached that conclusion unless they started doing research on the internet and reading what everyone has written about Montgomery.

The other issue is that this whole idea of Bill and Kirk having to come out publicly and say, “We now believe Montgomery to be creditable,” there never was an issue; there never was a dispute between them.  And I do not recall either of them ever making a public statement about Montgomery in the past, so why now? Why make such a contradictory declaration?  There never was a dispute from the viewpoint of the MCSO, and I should know, because I’m the one who went to Sheriff Arpaio and said, “We need to look into this, and here are the reasons why.”  One of them was because of the State Secrets Privilege-invoking on Montgomery during a civil proceeding he was involved in.  Simple logic and deduction tells you that the government wouldn’t go to a civil trial and do that unless you were in possession of certain knowledge or you knew something that they knew they needed to protect.  That fact does lend Montgomery credibility on one level.

I know the position of Bill and Kirk is that they didn’t know about that.  But I can tell you – perhaps they have forgotten – but that was raised in the very first meeting when we sat down with Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe.  This was our dilemma:  he had this happen to him, and the government wouldn’t come and do it unless there was a reason to, and they all agreed.  So whether they forgot about it over time, I don’t know.  But in any case it should have zero bearing on the examination of numerous hard drive evidence.

As far as the court document with Negroponte signing it, putting the Privilege on him, that’s the document that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office knew everything about, and that’s the document we referred to when we met with the three of them.  It was in court records, and I have repeatedly said that since 2015, when I was first permitted to discuss this.

The other thing that’s striking to me is this “bombshell” that seemed to come out of nowhere where Janda, who I do not know and don’t follow, seems to go down a line of bullet-point questions with the purpose of creating the illusion that what Bill and Kirk are about to say is that Montgomery is to be believed.  Those bullet-point questions eerily remind me of how a crooked prosecutor would want to get a witness to stipulate to certain things in order to paint a picture that doesn’t really exist.  So I question the origin of those bullet points.

In addition, he also points to Mary Fanning and Alan Jones and credits them with having the bravery, the courage to come forward.  But that’s completely false, because you, Sharon, were writing about this since 2011 on the birth certificate; since 2013 and 2014 when I told everyone that this was getting very dark; since 2013 until it came out in the Melendres trial. You and I have had numerous conversations about that, and you released it. On top of that, I made this public through you, Carl Gallups, Alex Jones, Bill Martinez; there’s a host of outlets.  So to say that this is new news, it is not.  It is the regurgitation of old events, and apparently, instead of it being a news story, in my opinion, I believe this is a Mary Fanning/Alan Jones Production Company effort. I believe they tried to produce a narrative, at the behest of Montgomery, to build a story around Montgomery’s credibility.  Create the illusion and create a news event that is nonexistent.

I believe this to be the classic MO of Montgomery. He writes reporters all the time trying to get positive stories written about him.  He was doing this as we were working with him in 2013. And now he apparently has found a couple, Fanning and Jones, who I believe are all too willing to buy it all, hook, line and sinker. Additionally, Fanning and Jones completely disregarded Montgomery’s indiscretions; this type of omission is a disservice to the public.

All I can tell you is that this thing was completely contrived, and now my biggest concern is that three individuals — Wiebe, Binney and Janda — are now roped into something and possibly don’t realize that they have been put in positions that will surely impugn their own credibility.

I can tell you firsthand that being a proponent of some of Dennis Montgomery’s information and someone who has always said — it’s even in court documents — “He did give us some verifiable information; he has a story to tell,” I can tell you your character will be called into question.

The biggest problem I think for Kirk Wiebe is the signing of that document: you can’t have it both ways. You can’t call someone a fraud in one breath and call him credible in the next. It just doesn’t happen.

Editor’s Note:  Please watch for Part 3 of this series in the near future.


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