Monthly Archives: May 2017

Kushner Investigation

I don’t know what is wrong with Jared Kushner talking to Soviet diplomats about opening a secret channel of communications between the US and Russia. You might question the political wisdom of such an arrangement, but I don’t see what is illegal about it.

I see the potential criminality of Gen. Michael Flynn’s taking payments from the Russians, especially his not reporting the payments to the Pentagon. I see a lot of smoke indicating the possibility of criminal activity surrounding Paul Manafort, who has been a paid consultant to a number of unsavory individuals and organizations connected to the Russians and the Ukrainians. However, both of these potentially criminal actions are outside of those individuals’ activities directly connected to the Trump campaign. It is as if Trump had hired a thief to work in his campaign. If that thief did not steal while he was working for Trump, then Trump might be guilty of poor judgment for hiring him, but that’s all. There is no criminal liability attached to the campaign itself.

I think the liberal press is trying to create some kind of guilt by association, by talking about the innuendo involving people in the campaign. It is as if they were talking about someone going to a bar, and thereby trying to create the impression that he is a drunkard, just because he went to a bar after work.

Your business is not criminally liable because one of your employees set his neighbor’s house on fire. Again, you can be criticized for employing an unsavory character, but that does not make you a criminal or your business a criminal activity. As usual in Washington, if there was some criminal act involved in trying to cover up the associate’s criminality in order to avoid bad publicity, then that coverup might be criminal, but not the original act itself. But that coverup would have to be criminal in itself, not just poor judgment.

In fact, I think much of the ado about Russia is an attempt by the liberal press to create some kind of implicit guilt for something that is not a crime. Liking the Russians may be a poor political judgment, but it does not appear to me to be a crime. The Democrats are trying to revive the hatred of the old Soviet Union from the bad old Cold War days. Russia is not the Soviet Union. The Democrats make the Russians look like some huge threat, but from the stories in the New York Times and Washington Post, the Russians look pretty incompetent. We seem to see every cable that the Russian ambassador sends to Moscow. Civilian Russian hackers may be pretty good, but the FSB security people seem like rank amateurs. Their codes can be broken easily. It’s like American breaking the German’s Enigma code in World War II, but in that case the intelligence services managed to keep it a secret. It was not headlined on the front pages of newspapers. America’s intelligence services can break codes, but they can’t keep a secret.

I worry that some elements of the intelligence community have gone rogue and are more loyal to the Democratic Party than to the US Constitution, which they took an oath to uphold.

NYT and Wash Post Leaks

The New York Times ran a front page article defending its decision to print leaked intelligence about the Manchester bombing from the British, which aided the terrorists by giving details of the British investigation.   The NYT put getting a scoop ahead of protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. The NYT put getting a scoop ahead of protecting the nation from terrorist attacks.

The Washington Post printed leaked intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador in Washington and the Kremlin in Moscow.  I don’t know how the ambassador communicated with Moscow, but the ambassador does, and he will know not to use the same channel again unless he wants to give the information to the US. The article may have revealed that we have broken Russian codes that they did not know we had broken.

Neither newspaper seems concerned about damaging US national security either vis-a-vis the terrorists or Russia.  It appears that whoever is leaking information to the press is less concerned about US national security than about other issues, like getting rid of Trump.  

The inability of the Russian government to keep a secret makes the Russian spy agency, the FSB, look like a joke.  The Russian ambassador, Kislyak, looks like a fool, an incompetent nincompoop. If Putin had some plan to get an inside track with the new administration, his team botched it horribly.  The Russians look like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.  

Trump Shares Intel with Russians, Jeff Bezos Sides with Terrorists against Trump

The commentariat has gone crazy screaming about Trump’s disclosing some intelligence information to the Russians at a meeting in the oval office, first reported by the Washington Post. Trump may have inadvertently disclosed this information, whatever it was about ISIS bombs, but whoever leaked his faux pas to the Washington Post did much more damage than Trump did. There is no indication that Trump told the Russians his same intel source was reporting on Syria, but the Washington Post did. The Washington Post headline could have read, “America has a source in ISIS and Syria, kill it.” Whoever leaked it clearly was more interested in damaging Trump than protecting the source. It’s sad that this unpatriotic source is so deeply involved in intelligence matters. It’s time for major firings in the intelligence community, which has gone rogue. From the Post story, it seems likely that the source is connected to Tom Bossert, who called CIA and NSA after the meeting.

America frequently shares intelligence information with other countries. It has now come out that the source of the intelligence was Israel. Since it seems unlikely that there is a Jewish mole inside ISIS, it seems more like that the information is acquired by some technical means. It may be that CIA or NSA, or whoever was responsible this source in the US, did not give permission to disclose the information to the Russians, but putting it on the front page of the Post did much more damage than Trump’s disclosure. First, the Russians may not have been aware that this was sensitive information, and may not have paid much attention to it. They may have thought that the Americans have many sources in ISIS, and thus would not have thought this information pointed to only one source. Finally, the Russians may have honored the confidentiality of the discussion they had with Trump and may not have ordered Russian agents to destroy this now-marked ISUS source. But thanks to Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post, everybody, including ISIS knows about it. However, the real villain is whoever leaked the information to the Post. It is someone who is willing to sacrifice an intelligence source in order to help bring down Donald Trump.

The Post’s intelligence community source probably thinks he is doing God’s work, but I don’t think rebellion within the government is the way to go. The effort to bring Trump down should stick to legal methods. It’s basically up to Congress to bring articles of impeachment, or the administration’s cabinet to declare him mentally or physically unable to perform his job as President. In addition, this open rebellion and disloyalty by the intelligence community adds to public confusion about what’s going on in Washington.

Watching CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interview Amb. Tom Pickering about this was amusing. She said to Pickering (who was Ambassador to Russia) something like, “You’ve been a room with Russians before,” as if that were something extremely dangerous. Pickering laughed and replied something like, “I’ve spent days in rooms with Russians.” Baldwin’s fear of Russians was palpable, as if you could die by touching one. This baseless fear seems to have infected much of the media. I hope the American military is not as afraid of the Russians as much as the media is. Russians are not mentally and physically indestructible giants, but American cowardice. Like Baldwin’s, will make them look like that.