Congress annually passes intelligence policy authorization bills. The measure for FY 2017 represents a huge leap backwards, reminiscent of the 1950 Internal Security (McCarran) Act – enacted over Harry Truman’s veto.
It required communist organizations to register with the attorney general. A Subversive Activities Control Board was established to investigate alleged subversive activities.
An emergency detention provision authorized the president to arrest and detain “each person as to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage.”
Deplorable McCarthy witch hunts followed. To this day, the term McCarthyism signifies baseless slander, unscrupulous fear-mongering and political lynchings.
Harvard Law School dean Erwin Griswold called McCarthy “judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one.” He targeted innocent victims, ruining careers for political advantage.
He manufactured nonexistent threats, targeting anyone he called a Soviet spy or sympathizer. Guilt by accusation was his standard.
On November 30, House members overwhelmingly passed HR 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 – 390 in favor, 30 against, 14 not voting. Expect easy Senate passage followed by Obama signing the measure into law.
Despite no Russian threat to America or any other country, it establishes an interagency committee to counter its nonexistent meddling in the internal affairs of other countries – including by (nonexistent) media manipulation, disinformation and other forms of fake news, a US and media scoundrel specialty.
The law authorizes the newly established committee to counter nonexistent “measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies.”
Moscow was falsely accused of hacking DNC emails and interfering with America’s electoral process – despite no evidence proving it, just baseless accusations, part of longstanding Russia bashing.
Sergey Lavrov called targeting Russia irresponsibly “myth-making with a goal to solve the short-term political objectives. No promised ‘evidence’ of interference in the electoral process has been presented neither to the American (or) international public.”
During his October address to the annual Valdai Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin debunked the notion of Russia interfering in America’s political process, saying:
“Does anyone seriously think that Russia can somehow influence the choice of the American people? Is America a banana republic or what? America is a great power.”
“It is much easier to distract people with the Russian so-called hackers, spies, agents of influence” than deal with important domestic and geopolitical issues responsibly, he explained.
The measure also prohibits Russian diplomats from traveling more than 50 miles from its Washington embassy and consulates in other US cities without FBI permission, a disgraceful insult.
Russia is a world power, targeted for its sovereign independence, not for any alleged threat it poses. Key after Trump’s inauguration is whether Moscow/Washington bilateral relations will improve.
Candidate Trump suggested it, expressing respect for Putin,” praising his “intelligence (and) no-nonsense way,” saying “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”
“I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”
Were the above comments empty campaign rhetoric or resolve for improved bilateral ties once he takes office? Trump has a lot of proving to do. World peace and stability hang in the balance.