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21 July 2017

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ked

It fits Trump's MObto throw his lieutenants under the bus. With Sessions, he tried to do it nicely (well, as nice as Trump gets) by telling the world he wouldn't have chosen him AG if he'd known he'd recuse himself. Letting Mueller into the game is unforgiveable. I doubt many of you know JBS the way I do (as if that matters), but there is nothing more important to his career, his self-image, the meaning of his life than attaining the apex of judicial status... the AG and from there to the USSC. He thought he'd positioned himself perfectly via Trump. But Jeff is a bit pure-of-heart, and even naive in the ways of the Game, particularly as played by an amoral egomaniac. No way Sessions would resign upon being castrated publicly - being AG (& pure) is simply transcendent to him. But Trump has gotta get an AG who will not recuse himself, who will fire Mueller in order to protect the boss, and be the next body to jump in front of the next bus (lotta buses in DC).
For DT & his inner circle, la familia, what to do ... what to do?

The Twisted Genius

pl,

It's a shame so many Americans can't see that. I find it embarrassing to compare Russia's elegant and bloodless operation to our horrid five billion dollar (and a bag of cookies) effort to overthrow the government in Kiev. All resulting in a broken country run by kleptocratic nazi thugs. So much death and suffering and it's still going on.

TimmyB

Frankly, I don't think anyone will learn the truth. I'm reluctant to believe anyone in the US government would disclose to the world that our government was intercepting and decoding Russian diplomatic communications. So there is some chance the story is a lie.

Assuming the story is true and the Russian ambassador was reporting his conversations honestly, he could have easily said to Sessions something completely innocuous such as "the sanctions are unfair and good luck with the election." It makes sense to assume the ambassador complained about the Russian sanctions to every US official he met. Wasn't that his job?

turcopolier

TTG
Governor Winthrop's City on a Hill idea is still with us.
Yup. We are special. A lot of people don't see the irony in that given what you said about Kiev., etc. Along the way we arrived at the idea that because the angels are on our side, we can do no wrong.

turcopolier

Timmy B

Whether you are "reluctant" to believe it or not is not important. That is a problem for you personally. The Russian government knows whether or not it is true. They can easily compare the traffic to what has been leaked and know the truth. Have you heard them deny the truth of the substance of the leaks? pl

Harry

Trump has access to good legal advice. Leaking this info is pretty much the same as sending the kremlin a memo warning them that a confidential encryption protocol has been compromised. Whoever did this is confident of avoiding Libby's fate.

Eric Newhill

LeaNder,
All I am saying is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

All of these people that are against Trump have a wide variety of skeletons in their closets; everything from shady financial dealings with unsavory foreigners, to sexual fetishes, to associations with domestic criminals. The IC will have enough of it all in their files.

IMO, aiding and abetting Al Qaeda would be unforgivable in the minds of most Americans.

Trump should strategically declassify that material which is useful against key enemies and release it to the media (esp Fox news) and begin investigations into some where there would appear to be a legal basis to do so.

Eric Newhill

VV,
I think Obama and Clinton are behind this whole show.

Eric Newhill

Cortes,
Why are we so sure that the leaks are coming from current officials?

Is it possible that Obama and Clinton stashed classified material/product in their secret war room after the election was lost. That they plotted to effect a coup d'état and are not now putting that plan into operation? That they and their agents (who are former staffers, people like Power, Rice, etc) are the leakers?

Eric Newhill

TTG,
Given your acknowledgement of the normality of election influence operations and your ability to put such an operation into perspective against what the US has done in places like Kiev, I find your desire for Mueller to investigate Trump as somewhat inconsistent and illogical.

Sure, it makes sense for some quiet professionals to look into how Russia did it, somewhere in the bowels of some secure govt facility and then create internal (and classified) write-up to be discussed by the agency heads and members of the senate intelligence committee.

But the whole very public investigation into Trump - an investigation you support - is not helpful to the security of the country. It is pure partisan political theater with the possibility of leading to an impeachment; an impeachment that would do far more damage to this country than some lousy little Russian influence op.

I really don't understand you sometimes. Sometimes I think you are a Borg agent. You claim to be against Borgism, but then......

sid_finster

I am not sure that it really is civilizational for Americans.

The average frustrated American mostly wants to live his life and doesn't really think or understand just how much chaos and suffering his government is causing.

sid_finster

Sounds like an alternative formulation of my definition of Deep State, although I am not sure that it isn't the de facto official ideology of the government.

turcopolier

sid_finster

No. The term Deep State denotes a grand and secret conspiracy WITHIN the federal government. "Borg" denotes the WHOLE FPE. pl

turcopolier

sid_finster

Your IP is in Fargo, North Dakota. Perhaps you are really in Vientiane, Laos but as a conceit I will imagine that you live in the environs of the greater Fargo metropolitan area. The way you speak of "the average American" is redolent of the air of superiority with which some immigrants and Laotian intellectuals sometimes speak of "average Americans." Perhaps you are an immigrant from Manitoba? Actually I think that "average Americans" are quite well clued in as to their interests. That is why they declined to vote for a Borgist candidate. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Likewise for the average Iranian until the day that Khomeini told him that Islam was in danger and the average farmer, the average shop keeper, the average student, the average husband, the average cab driver, the average mealsmith dropped everything they were doing and joined the war against Iraq.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree with what you have written.

English Outsider

Colonel,

Re-reading your article I don't think it's so much that most are uninterested in the protection of US SIGINT products. It's that we now accept it's becoming the norm to see such considerations, or considerations of security generally, being less stringently observed than they were when politics is involved. I recall also that there were leaks relating to the Manchester bombing that wouldn't have been expected a few years ago. Different level, same problem.

A year or so ago, over here, the Christoper Steele episode seemed unusual. How is it that an ex UK intelligence officer's allowed to fumble around in the middle of a US election campaign? The automatic response then was that it had either been misreported or that something had gone wrong that would be put right. It became clear that it hadn't been misreported and there was little to show that it had been put right. So now the response is just to accept that such breaches happen and are condoned.

So also one can now read, as one does above "It has been claimed that GCHQ was asked to find material in its files that could be used against Trump" and while that would have been shocking a while back it looks routine now.

None of this is therefore unusual any more. It's still alarming. What if someone, on either side of the Atlantic, were to release information relating to the security of Armed Forces serving abroad in order to score or to help score a partisan political point?

Might I ask, is this is a temporary phase, with political appointees at present being careless of such considerations as they pursue their various agendas, or does it indicate a slackening of security relating to defence matters generally?

The Twisted Genius

Eric Newhill,

The new level of influence ops in politics is not normal. It is the new normal. And I think the more the public knows about this, the better prepared it will be to resist the new normal. Just like I'm glad the public is now aware of the IC and LE use of mass surveillance, even though it was the result of an illegal leak of classified information. For these things that affect our privacy and the integrity of our vote, sunshine is the best disinfectant. That's why I support the Mueller investigation and want the results released and discussed publicly. It will do us no good if it is kept classified and secret.

If all this leads to impeachment, so be it. That is a Constitutional procedure, not a coup. I think that is damned near an impossibility as long as the Republicans control Congress. Even if the investigation discovers Trump knew of the full extent of the Russian IO or even aided the Russian effort, I don't see impeachment happening in a Republican Congress. I see absolutely no evidence and doubt we will discover any evidence that Trump personally knew of, went along with or aided the Russians. I don't see that in his nature. Whether a few around him did so is another question. I have to ask you the same question Colonel Lang asked me. "You judge him [Trump] guilty of criminal conspiracy? Without that, what basis is there for impeachment?

Babak Makkinejad

You are positing that Impeachment is some sort of neutral judicial process. It has not ben so in the United States and in my opinion.

Twice a US President has been impeached; one was Johnson because he resisted US Congress attempts at inflicting revenge on the former CSA (The Reconstruction)- trying to implement the sort of Peace that Lincoln would and the other in case of Clinton - whom they hated to the edge of insensibility.

In the case of Jackson and Reagan - one of whom was not upholding the Law which he had sworn to uphold and the other was breaking the Law - US Congress did exactly nothing; in effect endorsing lawlessness.

US Congress successfully drove Nixon out of office because he was obstructing Justice - not because he had broken the Law - in order to protect his own people (exhibiting loyalty). And he resigned due to his loyalty to the Republican Party.

"High Crime and Misdemeanor" means whatever a sitting US Congress decides it means - it has no basis in any US Statutes as far as I know.

Eric Newhill

TTG,
I do not judge Trump guilty. There is no evidence.

My primary objection to the Mueller investigation is that it is linked to getting Trump for collusion. I would support if it was merely to understand what, if anything, the Russians did.

The Twisted Genius

Eric Newhill,

An impartial investigation cannot stay away from the collusion question. Unfortunately the collusion angle is attracting all the attention while the tedious details of a meticulous IO just doesn't sound that exciting. Also from I've read the collusion question is more aimed at others around Trump rather than Trump himself. For once, he ought to not insist that he be the center of attention. As I said at the beginning, the collusion accusations and denials are coming from competing bands of howler monkeys. Mueller hasn't said a thing... yet.

The Twisted Genius

Babak,

You're right. Impeachment is not a neutral judicial process, but it is a Constitutional process and I still have faith in that Constitution.

dilbert dogbert

I wandered around Google and found an oath attributed to NSA. Yup, Keep your mouth shut forever. I wonder though about "Chain of Custody" in this case. Do you think the FBI has the capability and resources to track the chain of custody on this document/information?

Chris Chuba

From the article

"including Trump’s positions on key policy matters of significance to Moscow"

I bet that this is the extent of the 'campaign related matters'. In other words, Kislyak discussed substantive issues that related to Russia and the goons who leaked the information are stretching to call it 'campaign related'. This reminds me of the leak that said that the IC confirmed 'parts of the dossier' which was another half truth meant to make associations to the more salacious portions without actually saying so.

This is what makes the Information War so dangerous. It becomes a mission in and of itself where other things like Intelligence gathering is sacrificed.

The other casualty of the Information War is that eventually we will lose all of our credibility and it will be very hard to get it back. I noticed that NO ONE believed our FBI assessment that it was the Russians who hacked Al Jazeera and planted the fake story that started the Qatar crisis (except the U.S. MSM).

Fred

Iowa Steve,

Please, the Washington post has no reporters or editors who might actually know the source of the leaks?

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