Infrastructure Week is off to a hell of a start!
Exclusive: The US extracted one of its top spies from Russia in 2017, worried about exposure and Trump’s handling of intelligence https://t.co/frFteqOq8O pic.twitter.com/aBSDtEbtTF
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 9, 2019
Jim Sciutto has the exclusive at CNN (emphasis mine):
Washington (CNN)In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.
A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.
The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.
The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure, according to the source directly involved in the matter.
The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration. Those concerns were described to CNN by five sources who served in the Trump administration, intelligence agencies and Congress.
Those concerns continued to grow in the period after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov. Weeks after the decision to extract the spy, in July 2017, Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg and took the unusual step of confiscating the interpreter’s notes. Afterward, intelligence officials again expressed concern that the President may have improperly discussed classified intelligence with Russia, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the intelligence community’s response to the Trump-Putin meeting.
The secret removal of the high-level Russian asset has left the US without one of its key sources on the inner workings of the Kremlin and the plans and thinking of the Russian president at a time when tensions between the two nations have been growing. The US intelligence community considers Russia one of the two greatest threats to US national security, along with China.
“The impact would be huge because it is so hard to develop sources like that in any denied area, particularly Russia, because the surveillance and security there is so stringent,” a former senior intelligence official told CNN. “You can’t reacquire a capability like that overnight.”
The decision to pull the asset out of Russia was the culmination of months of mounting fear within the intelligence community.
At the end of the Obama administration, US intelligence officials had already expressed concerns about the safety of this spy and other Russian assets, given the length of their cooperation with the US, according to a former senior intelligence official.
In the first months of his administration, Trump’s handling of classified intelligence further concerned intelligence officials. Ultimately, they decided to launch the difficult operation to remove an asset who had been working for the US for years.
The President was informed in advance of the extraction, along with a small number of senior officials. Details of the extraction itself remain secret and the whereabouts of the asset today are unknown to CNN.
Much, much more at the link, including Sciutto reporting that this happened when Secretary Pompeo was the Director of Central Intelligence. It would not surprise me in the least to find out that Sciutto was originally tipped to this story by Ambassador Bolton, given that he and Secretary Pompeo are increasingly at odds these days. Ambassador Bolton has been largely sidelined on Afghanistan policy* and it has been reported that it is Secretary Pompeo, who is clearly eclipsing all others right now regarding US foreign and national security policy, who has sidelined Bolton. This type of selective leak as a form of bureaucratic knife fighting is a Bolton specialty.
Sciutto’s story is not surprising. I wrote here several times in the first several months of this administration that the Intelligence Community would be tightening up their compartmentalization of information to protect sources and methods from the President and some of his key political appointees like his son in law Jared Kushner. This reporting will, however, only reinforce the President’s paranoia about, fear of, and anger at the Intelligence Community. Sciutto has reported that the President and several key senior officials were read on to the operation, but I’d be willing to wager real money that neither the President, nor his senior officials who were read on to this operation were given the meat of his reporting that the extraction was done over concern that the President might burn the asset. Retired CIA officer Robert Baer’s interview about Sciutto’s reporting on CNN about a 1/2 an hour ago isn’t going to help either. Baer, who is also a CNN contributor and analyst, stated in no uncertain terms that “the CIA has never trusted the President since he visited the Soviet Union in 1987”. There aren’t any clips of that up yet, but I guarantee it is waiting for the President to watch it on his super TIVO.
This is going to be the best Infrastructure Week ever!
* I’ll have more about both the Camp David insanity, which was already starting to be broken down by reporting as of last night, and Secretary Pompeo’s bizarre assertion that we killed 10,000 Taliban in the past ten days later today.
Formatting is messed up. Did you forget to close the blockquote?
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
Holy shit, what a fucking shit show all this winning is turning out to be. Can we go back to losing now? It was so much better.
This was inevitable. Trump and his entourage are a huge security risk.
Adam L Silverman
@schrodingers_cat: No, I did not forget to close the blockquote. CNN lards up its online posts with a bunch of fucked up codes at the beginning and end of each paragraph. For some reason that crap not only gets copied and pasted into WP with the block quotes, but it then takes over WP’s default formatting. So I never know what the post will actually look like, with material quoted from CNN, until after I hit publish. Then I have to go in, switch to the text editor function, and manually remove all of that stuff line by line. It takes a few minutes. I have now completed removing it, so if you reload the page, you’ll find that it should all now be formatted correctly.
Adam L Silverman
@Baud: He doesn’t use email though, so there’s no real operation security concerns with the President.//
@Adam L Silverman: Thanks for the reminder of your old post. Earlier I was trying to remember where I heard about trump’s antics before.
Have we gotten to the point yet, a la Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, where his handlers are putting corks on his fork tines?
Weird that none of this was leaked prior to the election, what with the constant dispatches the FBI were sending to the NYTimes about Hillary Clinton.
Andrea Mitchell must be beside herself with concern over national security breaches.
Oh, well. Better late than never! If you’re Donald Trump that is. Think of all the stuff that we’ll miraculously find out after the 2020 election.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
I’ve always found it interesting that his visit took place in 1987, after Gorbachev came into power and there was a thaw in US-Soviet relations. Were there rogue elements in the Soviet Union, such as the KGB, to carry out this cultivation, or were such activities known to leadership, even after Gorbachev took over as leader of the SU?
Forks? Does Trump use cutlery to eat his hamberders and fried chicken?
@Adam L Silverman:
What happened to the political media 50 person email security team? It is astonishing how NONE of these people care a whit about national security unless a Democrat is in charge of it. They don’t even pretend to care!
We don’t even hear about the wars anymore, or terrorism fighting. They must have completely disbanded whole teams of reporters.
Not shocked in the least. After all, don’t you remember the stories about the IC fretting about their assets suddenly disappearing when this Administration came in. I thought it was a given that he had turned over some of our assets to Vlad.
In addition to turtles all the way down, it’s traitors all the way up.
Sporks. He invented Sporks, doncha know … doesn’t get enough credit for it per him …
Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk?
This is so dangerous when you know that Russian and China are our biggest adversaries. Mike Rogers is on CNN now discussing it.
The president isn’t going to happy to learn that the former House Intel Chairman who is also a republican is discussing this.
including treason, destruction of a functioning government, grifting on as massive a a scale as can be conceived, and so forth
Liberty University is a cesspool of corruption, self-dealing and a nepotism hire who compounds that error by enriching his cronies.
Perfect for the Trump Era. These are bad people. It doesn’t matter what industry or sector they’re in- they’re all low quality nepotism hires and they steal.
@Adam L Silverman: Use “Paste as plain text” vs “Paste as HTML” and see if that helps.
@The Dangerman: @The Dangerman:
Many people are saying that. Apparently, he had some guy come up to him — big, burly guy, a truck driver or coal miner or something — with tears in his eyes, said “Thank YOU, Sir, for creating the only implement I am capable of using to eat my meals”
Adam L Silverman
@Kay: Because all of this was being done as a formal counterintelligence investigation run out of DOJ and FBI HQs in DC. The stuff leaking about Secretary Clinton was coming from the FBI’s NY Field Office. And was not part of a highly compartmented counterintelligence investigation.
Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) Tweeted:
The Trump administration unveiled a plan to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which could bring a windfall for hedge funds and other investors that bought their stocks.
@Amir Khalid: I can see Trump recoiling from touching a chicken leg with his bare fingers. Does anyone know where that chicken part has been?
@Adam L Silverman: Thanks!
HILLARY WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING.
@polyorchnid octopunch: Good suggestion.
Adam L Silverman
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: My professional speculation, so basically an educated and informed guess, is the cultivation started well before 1987. And it came from several angles and for several reasons. At this point what we now call the Russian mob, which then as was tightly interconnected with the Soviet Intelligence Community as it is now with the Russian Intel Community, was beginning to establish itself in New York and were beginning their long, brutal, and violent move to replace the Italian mob. They needed people to launder their money through. They needed people who didn’t care what took place on their properties as long as the money they were being paid was green and not counterfeit. And they, as always, were playing the long game of looking for formal and unformal, witting and unwitting assets that might be useful down the line.
The President’s 1987 trip was arranged for by Roger Stone and he was one of the people recommending it. Stone would go on to do business in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union – he and Manafort had a Moscow office when they were business partners. I think it is highly likely that Stone has long been under the control of first Soviet and then Russian intelligence through the Soviet and then successor Russian mob because of his lifestyle – he and his wife are well known swingers. And I think it is likely that the Soviets and the Russians got to him via his, and the President’s, former mentor Roy Cohn who was long closeted and then semi-closeted before he was out or outed as gay. And when Cohn was closeted he was ripe for blackmail because of the positions he held and the people he knew.
I’m honestly not sure if we’ll ever get a clear, comprehensive accounting of all of these connections.
@MattF: Remember when he famously ate pizza with a fork?
I swear not OT, I just saw the best use of a sharpie ever
Adam L Silverman
@Kay: Depends on which journalists you’re talking about. But you also have to remember that the journalists were, themselves, the targets of an information operation intended to actually influence Secretary Clinton and the State Department. As I’ve written about here before, at least once on the front page, only 3 of the emails that Secretary Clinton sent and/or received (and they were all received) contained classified information at the time they were actually sent or received. And this information was classified as confidential, which is basically “try not to talk about this at the coffee shop”. And that material was not annotated properly to let anyone actually know it was classified. This is all from Comey’s testimony under questioning from Elijah Cummings.
All the other material that is classified in those emails was classified as a result of the pre FOIA release review. The FOIA requests were all made by Judicial Watch, which has been trying and succeeding in smearing both Clintons for over 20 years. But their FOIA requests, and the subsequent litigation, provided the Intelligence Community their own chance to do some inside the beltway, sharp elbows and sharper knives, bureaucratic infighting. Secretary Clinton appeared to be on her way to not just being the first woman president, but the first former Secretary of State – at least in the modern period. And this opportunity was the Intel Community’s way of sending a very, very, very, very clear message to anyone who was tuned to their frequency: “We, the Intel Community, are the real national security power in DC and the US government, not the State Department. The State Department needs to mind its place and Secretary Clinton will need to heed us if she’s elected president”.
Everything else flows from this. The journalists were basically functioning as useful idiots. They were unwitting, though very willing, assets in this influence operation that only makes sense to those of us who have worked in national security.
Adam L Silverman
@rikyrah: I think it is a pretty safe bet that this asset was pulled shortly after the reporting that two senior Russian cyber intelligence/cyber operations/cyber security personnel were scarfed up shortly after the President’s inauguration. And the fact that these guys were scarfed up added a lot of urgency to get our asset out.
Adam L Silverman
@JPL: Congressman Rogers is also a former FBI special agent.
@Adam L Silverman: Assuming the country survives, maybe it’ll all be declassified after everyone currently alive is long dead. Gotta protect those assets.
In a deep fryer? I myself am hopelessly awkward at using cutlery to eat fried chicken.
It’s how the Italians do it, so I understand; but I wouldn’t use cutlery to eat pizza anywhere else.
Trump is clearly a danger to us all currently, but what about when he is out of office. Finally out of the lime light. Is there any one who thinks he won’t sell our secrets to the highest bidder, or just blab them at a cocktail party?
Did he now? I’d love to go to his house just to see one of his sterling silver sporks.
And maybe in all your spare time [snark] you could say something [not snark] about the USAF staying at Turnberry and refuelling at Prestwick.
Glad to see you back posting again, Adam.
@oclday: If he doesn’t win re-election, he can be indicted.
They have cocktail parties in Florence?
[Not that I think it’s likely he’ll end up there, but a kid can dream, can’t I?]
I have very little trust that he will be indicted for anything. He has been shredding the constitution since January 2017 with that a boys from the Republicans no consequences from the Democrats.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: The USAF stuff is going to come down to what is in the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) signed agreement with Prestwick to provide refueling, as well as the supporting materials that justify using it rather that RAF Lakenheath, which the US military leases access to.
Adam L Silverman
@JPL: If he doesn’t win reelection, as soon as he finishes trying to foment a rebellion against whoever beats him, and depending on how successful that endeavor is, he’ll immediately announce he’s running for 2024 and then he, his surrogates, and his attorneys will start screaming that any investigations and/or prosecutions are all an attempt to interfere in the 2024 election. And they’ll do this starting in DEC 2020.
@Amir Khalid: The French use utensils to eat pizza. They also use utensils to eat hamburgers. I tried it when I was there in August. It’s not a good idea. You have to deconstruct the hamburger, or at least take the top of the bun off and eat it separately.
Which is why a bunch of them, including Kushner, couldn’t get security clearances at first until Trump basically ordered them to be cleared. Which is totally, totally normal.
You’re right, it doesn’t make sense. A hamburger is a type of sandwich, and the whole point of a sandwich is to be eaten with the hands. You’re not supposed to taste its parts in isolation. One would expect the French, of all people, to get that.
Adding a bit to what Adam said:
This story should not have come out either. It makes the extracted asset’s life a little more dangerous and possibly the lives of those who extracted them. Plus former friends and associates of that person, although when they disappeared, there probably was some questioning.
I would also like to know why this came out now. I’m not convinced that Bolton is this reckless, although things are coming apart so badly in the White House, people may be pressing the limits.
Fixed that for you (and Adam). Which is not to say we won’t have to work the hardest ever in the 2020 election.
Adam L Silverman
@Elizabelle: Incumbent presidents tend to be reelected in the modern period. His being defeated next year is an if. It is not a when. Proceed accordingly.
And where is Gina Haspel in all this? She certainly is one to keep her head below the barricades.
Adam L Silverman
@Cheryl Rofer: Bolton is, in fact, this reckless. His entire career has been characterized by a belligerent, militant, recklessness. He’s got a nobody for Secretary of Defense. He’s got nobodies for the Service secretaries. He’s got an acting DHS secretary. He’s got an acting DNI. He’s got a career CIA officer as DCI who is uncomfortable doing or saying anything in public. He’s got everything lined up to turn the Interagency into his own private playground so he can run amok. The one thing he doesn’t have is control over the Secretary of State. So shivving him makes perfect sense from Bolton’s point of view.
@Kay: I hope Falwell Sr. Is howling and frothing within whatever pit Hell has consigned him to. Seeing his idiot sprog slowly destroying everything that he worked so diligently to build.
Here’s something that should be emphasized in this story: Because we had to extract the asset, we lost the asset, and all of the future intelligence that asset would have provided. It was the right thing to do, obviously, but if the asset was important enough to extract, the cost of having to do so was really, really high.
Is Trump shaking down Ukraine for 2020 election assistance?
09/09/19 09:20 AM—UPDATED 09/09/19 09:20 AM
By Steve Benen
After Vladimir Putin’s Russian government invaded Ukraine in 2014, the United States took a series of specific steps. We established a new defense initiative for parts of Europe; we kicked Russia out of the G-8; and we imposed harsh new economic sanctions on Moscow.
After Donald Trump became president, he defunded the defense initiative (raiding the budget to pay for border barriers), called for Russia’s re-entry into what is now the G-7, and held off on implementing Russian sanctions.
But as Rachel explained on the show last week, there’s something else the United States did after Russia invaded one of its neighbors: we increased our military aid to Ukraine. Trump, true to form, has delayed following through on that commitment, ignoring the advice of Pentagon officials.
It’s against this backdrop that the editorial board of the Washington Post published a rather extraordinary piece the other day, making the case that the Republican president is trying to leverage that support for reasons that are almost hard to believe.
So let me get this straight. We committed aid to Ukraine. The Pentagon urged Trump to follow through on that commitment. According to the reliably centrist editorial board of the Washington Post, Trump said he’d consider honoring that commitment, but only if a foreign government agreed to take steps to help influence the American presidential election in 2020.
Bercow to stand down as UK House Speaker. He has seemed to have done a very good job.
@Adam L Silverman: Why is Bolton’s title Ambassador? I thought he was NatSec advisor. Or is this a holdover from his not so excellent tenure at the UN? Is that one of the BS life-time titles? Does this mean Newt’s wife will be Ambassador Gingrich for the rest of her life? What a country.
@Another Scott: That is really sad to hear. Bercow has been amazing at keeping the Brexiteers at bay, making sure Parliament has its say, and stalling BoJo’s current smash-&-grab ops. Tories have been trying to get rid of him for months, and it’s extremely unfortunate they’ve succeeded.
Adam L Silverman
@EthylEster: It is. The custom is you use someone’s highest achieved appellation/title to refer to them.
@CaseyL: It sounds like he’s picked his time and did it in such a way as to stick it to them on his way out the door. He served a year longer than he originally intended (10 instead of 9 years).
We’re up to 2 pool boys with multi-million dollar payouts, Kay. This SO-CALLED Christian
@Eric U.: Um, it’s a really good idea if you can’t be arsed to wash the hands you’d otherwise be using. Not sure about the French but that’s certainly the Italian philosophy. Two examples from my travels many moons ago:
(1) Separate cashiers in sandwich/pizza shops. The dirtiest thing you touch in the average day is money, this way the hands that prepare the food would never handle the cash so no one had to depend on the food-prep staff bothering to wash their hands.
(2) Buy a can of soda from a street vendor & the old-style totally removable pop-top would be totally removed & a long straw inserted for drinking – because the vendors couldn’t be bothered to wash (or even wipe) off the tops of the cans.
One of many reasons I go out of my way to avoid the homeland of my ancestors when visiting Europe.
@SiubhanDuinne: I’ll chime in on this one to add my enlisted 2 cents: we have two major US bases which most military transport aircraft flow though. 1) Ramstein AFB (Germany) and 2) RAF Mildenhall (UK). Both facilities regularly have flights flowing through them to/from CONUS to the mid-East bases. Both have specific on-site hotels that cater, exclusively, to aviators and their sleep/rest cycle needs. The hotel/base exchange complex at Ramstein was completed a few years ago and is equivalent to anything Trumpov offers at his flea ridden roach motels (I’ve stayed there several times for training classes; they’re super nice). The Ramstein hotel is literally right across the street from the flight line. 5 minute drive, max. Mildenhall’s accommodations are bit older, bit further away (approx 10 mins at most), but still better suited for aviators.
My theory on this is still it’s a Trumpov grift operation. There’s no valid reason why should be moving through Scotland instead of the England base, or the German base. Also we’ve had prior issues with flight crews abusing their power. A number of years ago we had a C-5 crew that basically followed either the NCAA tournament around, or it was an NBA finals team. I can’t remember. They would land near where the game was being played, claimed the plane broke when landing (plausible reason because the C-5 is a nightmare of a plane), use the SUV they transported with them to go to the games, next morning plane was “fixed”, and off they went. I can’t remember exactly how they were caught (I believe it had to do with the travel vouchers they filed) but yeah, that was a shit storm. This is worse though. Again, break down of the Core Values wrt the USAF personnel and just outright grift/corruption by Trumpov and the Republicans who go along with it.
Sure hope that extracted asset didn’t seek asylum in the U.S.A. ICE agents would have slapped his butt onto the first plane headed to Russia.
@Adam L Silverman: So he’ll always be known as The Chosen One Trump?
Adam L Silverman
@Leto: Thanks, I wrote RAF Lakenheath, because I couldn’t remember Mildenhall. Though I do think, if I’m remembering correctly, that we have a lease for use at Lakenheath as well.
Gin & Tonic
@rikyrah: Your analysis in the last paragraph of your comment is correct.
HOW DARE YOU REMIND ME THAT STAYING HOME IN NOVEMBER WAS A CIVILIZATION-DESTROYINGLY BAD DECISION REEEEEEEE
Gin & Tonic
@randy khan: Not only lost the future intelligence we could have gotten from that asset, but Russian counterintelligence has, I’m sure, analyzed what that asset had access to over the years he was working and what intelligence could have been passed to the US. The story doesn’t say who this was, but the Russians certainly know.
@Adam L Silverman: We do; Lakenheath is the fighter base (F-15s) though the C-17s could still land there and be taken care of in a pinch. They’re separated by about 2 miles. Rolling into the future (next 5-10 years), Mildenhall is closing down so Lakenheath can accept the F-35s. This was part of the 2015 European Infrastructure Consolidation project approved by Congress. Mildenhall’s assets would be distributed around USAF Europe (Lakenheath, Ramstein, Aviano, and elsewhere). BUT we might be reopening RAF Fairford (longest runway in Europe) and putting stuff there too. The EIC is also where our good friend Dunces Nunes was dicking around with the Azores and IC move… /facepalm
Adam L Silverman
@Leto: Yep, I’m aware of the EIC shenanigans.
@Adam L Silverman:
I thought that was only when said person does not have a current title/position. For example, were Joe Biden to get elected Senator again, I assume he’d be referred to as “Senator,” not “Vice-President,” after he took office.
Thanks, that’s very clear, and adds some detail new to me. It’s also my understanding (I think from Rachel the other night?) that fuel is cheaper at US military bases than it is at Prestwick; that Prestwick is/was failing to the point that the Scottish government bought it for £1 (not a typo — one pound); and that keeping Prestwick operational is vital to Turnberry’s financial health. The whole thing just stinks to high heaven, and I’m kind of baffled (not really) that the MSM hasn’t paid more attention to it. I’m tired of Trump’s outrageous grifting and abuse/corruption of our institutions being so normalised as to merit hardly a mention.
Adam L Silverman
@SFAW: National Security Advisor isn’t really a title. The formal position is entitled Assistant to the President-National Security Advisor (APNSA), but almost no one knows that. The appellation for the position isn’t National Security Advisor, Advisor, or Assistant, so the default is to whatever the standard appellation is for the person in the position. For LTG McMaster, it was lieutenant general, and would have remained that if he’d retired before taking the assignment. So for Bolton, we use ambassador.
@oclday: I’m hoping we hang or jail him for treason
By coincidence, as soon as I posted my comment I headed over to Wonkette, and the Prestwick story is top of the feed right now:
@Adam L Silverman:
That’s exactly how he thinks.
A few threads ago, I predicted he would launch TRUMP TV after losing, poach Hannity from Fox, and install some members of his old cabinet as on-air talent.
Your scenario is actually more disturbing.
Do you know, I had completely forgotten her very existence.
@Gin & Tonic:
Yep. The extraction – still the right thing to do – really caused a lot of problems.
Adam L Silverman
@germy: I think he’s actually laying the groundwork to start TrumpTV during the election. His remarks attacking Fox, his talking up of OANN, the fact that his campaign in 2016 called their live Facebook streams TrumpTV. My guess is the Trump Organization or the Trump Campaign is in the process of trying to buy OANN, which they’d rebrand. And it’ll be marketed to the President’s supporters, Republicans, and conservatives as the only real news, direct from the President. They’ll use it and leverage it during the campaign. If he loses reelection, it’ll be used to foment chaos and rebellion. And then to undermine whoever wins and gin up faux scandals about them.
The immediate 2024 campaign actually would be kind of a nightmare for the Republican Party, which in its usual fashion would want to drop him down the memory hole if he lost, and probably wouldn’t be able to do that.
@SiubhanDuinne: She is tricksy
Mark Halperin, whose career imploded when former colleagues and subordinates accused him of groping and unwanted sexual advances, “threatened” MSNBC Chief Phil Griffin in a phone call for nixing his comeback https://t.co/k2KbydDg1j
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) September 9, 2019
You know, what if Obama…. Oh, fuck it.
@Adam L Silverman:
Not in all countries, though. When I worked for the Canadians, I used to go to a lot of international/multilateral/hemispheric meetings at The Carter Center, and Joe Clark — who had been Prime Minister of Canada for a few months in 1979-80 — was a frequent participant. During the Q&A at one session, I had a question for him and began by addressing him as “Prime Minister.” He laughed, interrupted me, and said “See, this is why I love to come to the United States! I always get called ‘Prime Minister’ here. Nobody calls me ‘Prime Minister’ in Canada!” President Carter broke into one of his trademark grins at that.
Tell the truth, Stacey
NEW from me: @staceyabrams tells Democrats that 2020 victory comes through unlikely voters, mostly minorities, not chasing nearly all-white universe of swing voters and white former Democrats. My story: https://t.co/yyCjMVm83K
— Bill Barrow (@BillBarrowAP) September 9, 2019
Good for him
Update on the 6 year-old who gave up his disney birthday trip money he raised to buy food and water for Hurricane Dorian evacuees.
My heart is so FULL ❤️
Thank you to everyone who brought this story to the attention of Disney and thank you to Disney for making it happen! pic.twitter.com/ToD22HmLbY
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) September 9, 2019
They did the amnesia thing with Dubya…..
@??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??: Rogue elements? Cultivation of foreign assets was standard operating procedure, then as now, and the Soviets knew a mark when they saw one. You can read up about how they (putting the best light on it) manipulated Trump by talking about building a Trump Tower in Moscow, and how, when he came back from that first trip, Donnie took out full page ads in the Washington Post and the New York Times questioning our alliances with Japan and (more implicitly, if I recall) NATO.
I was actually thinking there was a good side to this story coming out, that we actually did take action to save a spies life. I have been disturbed for years, since Bush was President, that we didn’t routinely allow Iraqi’s and Afghanii’s who helped us and became endangered, to immigrate to the US as we would have in the past. American’t were evidently too timid to put up with any immigration. then we didn’t take a good share of refugees from the various crisis since then. Even Obama couldn’t get us to behave in a civilized way, maybe even especially Obama as the paranoids were really upset about his election. I guess I should have seen something like Trump coming but I am not suited to understanding illogical mean baby whining. We are also not automatically granting citizenship to soldiers who serve. To me, that is diminishing our future power but Mister senile racist and supporters can’t understand anything but playground bully antics.
To me, this story is actually kind of reassuring that some agencies haven’t lost all purpose.
I gather is causes intelligence problems, however I think in order to reassure the populace that the government actually serves them, more stories like this will be necessary. Otherwise voter participation will keep going down and elections will be extremes only.
@rikyrah: Shows exactly how ‘diversity’ has concrete benefits.
@rikyrah: Not so much during no drama Obama’s term. Chaotic evil’s election is what did it. Remember the miss me yet, billboards? Well by early 2017, I did, but I still think Bush should go to jail for authorizing torture, it’s just…..
@Adam L Silverman:
Hell yes, all investigations will go forth.
hells littlest angel
No, only until he dumps her. Then she’ll become Ambassador Bisek.
OT: The public should ask themselves how the Taliban get money. My working hypothesis is that the Taliban are funded by our “friends” in the Gulf and Pakistan. I don’t hear discussion of this, probably because that would make our “friends” belligerents who are waging war against us. That is inconvenient for our governing class.
Americans should be fighting the kleptocracies in the Gulf and treating Pakistan like the bad actor it is.
@rikyrah: Now I’m teary eyed but in a good way.
@Adam L Silverman:
My (probably incorrect) recollection is that they referred to Condi (until she fucked up the interagency coordination pre-9/11) as “National Security Numbnuts [sic] Condoleezza Rice.”
Be that as it may: you made a blanket statement, which I thought was not strictly accurate, so I ratcheted my pedantry amp to 11. I hope it brightened your otherwise dreary day.
By the way: any truth to the rumor that the Traitor-in-Chief is planning to award the Medal of Freedom to Aldrich Ames, Bob Hanssen, and Jonathan Pollard? [No, I haven’t heard any such rumor, but considering how he keeps exceeding even the worst “he wouldn’t dare”s that we can conceive, it would not amaze me were he to do so.]
ETA: Actually, had I any kind of social media presence, I would start that rumor myself, and as LBJ might say “Make him deny it.”
There’s so much, metaphorically, in this story,and none good.
Tristan Baurick (@tristanbaurick) Tweeted:
Crabs are mistaking the chemicals released from Deepwater Horizon oil for sex hormones. They wander the polluted well site in search of mates as their shells blacken and their claws fall off. https://t.co/eijXPjdDjA https://twitter.com/tristanbaurick/status/1171086032068108288?s=17
@SiubhanDuinne: yes, it is cheaper. Even with a DLA contract it will be cheaper. On top of that, the per diem rates for staying on base vs off base will be cheaper. Everything about going to a military base will be cheaper (fuel, lodging, food). Add to that the perception of impropriety and it’s irritating beyond all belief. We (DoD/military) are the stewards of public money. While not exactly being miserly (quit buying 1-ply toilet paper, assholes!) we can’t be wasteful. This is beyond wasteful and it’s corrupt. It’s the appearance and perception of corruption that will come back to everyone involved in this, from the flight crew up to their commander. FFS AF, ya gotta do better ?
Rachel broke it Friday night on her show, but I’m seeing it in more places now. Good. Shine the light on these assholes.
@Sam: ” My working hypothesis is that the Taliban are funded by our “friends” in the Gulf and Pakistan. ”
I’ve heard that for years, but only from subject matter specialists on the Middle East and South Asia. I heard a professor in international relations and a beat reporter who has long worked in the area say just that in local news interviews this weekend.
I don’t recall ever hearing that said in the corporate national affairs press or the Sunday news talkies, but they seem to put on only politicians, hack political operatives and professional corporate media pundits, who don’t see their jobs as imparting actual information.
Edit: not that I like everything I hear from people who actually know stuff. The professor and reporter said that if the Trump negotiations did not include Pakistan, then they were not really serious and wouldn’t have accomplished much. OK. They also said that Afghanistan national leadership expected the US to have some presence in the country long term and any talks not premised on that would not have much Afghan national government buy in. Not OK, but maybe true.
And yet these concerns are dismissed by the GOP leadership and also by a considerable portion of the general public, Trump division.
So what are we left with? Intelligence agencies having to work around the incompetence or malfeasance of the person who is responsible for protecting the country.
This is insane. And yet, here we are.
@Spanky: I knew there was some other Trump/pizza association. Don’t watch it of you’re about to have lunch.
@rikyrah: Isn’t that how thing were in last days of Studio 54?
@Adam L Silverman:
Sometimes that is a problem. I might be “asshole” for life. … and never get to ‘enormous swollen anus’ – sad.
@Gelfling 545: I know you warned us, but that does not change the fact that I now wish you harm.
@rikyrah: Dubya had the good grace to fade away (in the public sense) after leaving office. Trump will do no such thing, aside from the possibility of leaving office in a body bag due to some acute medical event. If he’s still breathing come 1/20/21, he’ll be an extremely loud and persistent thorn in the sides of all of us, least of all the Republican party that would dearly love to forget he ever happened to them.
Pompeo said we killed a thousand taliban
I’m getting sick and tired of this truly awful Tom Clancy Novel we find ourselves living in.
Now I have even less idea of what the ground rules were for the Afghan negotiations. My understanding was that we had already pushed out/ignored the Afghan elected government because the Taliban viewed them as US stooges.
Dorothy A. Winsor
I use a knife and fork for pizza because I like to eat slowly and it’s hard to do that when I’m holding the slice all the time.
A lot of tall sandwiches are impossible to eat by hand. They look nice, but seriously.
@Adam L Silverman:
A fine reason to burn everyone in a leadership position in the NIC at the stake. And not metaphorically.
Your first mistake was expecting rules to apply.
@Gravenstone: I liked GW’s painting when he was in his Hockney phase. GW also had a book of portraits of veterans that I think he put out to raise charity funds. GW claimed he was inspired by Lucian Freud for his portraits, but I don’t see the connection.
GW also shows up at his pres library center conferences to defend the conservative point of view on things, particularly privatization and low taxes. I’ve watched youtubes of some of those, and they can actually be pretty good, they’ve invited good researchers who do good presentations. GW comes on with the politicians when they give their presentations. From the ones I’ve seen GW presents weakest stuff and often gets destroyed. But he seems to genuinely believe the GOP snake oil and keeps showing up to get kicked around.
So, GW is, in those ways, doing a good job as an ex-president, given the circumstances of his disastrous administration.
Not really. His political exile only lasted 6 years.
Countries don’t just have “friends,” they have allies of convenience. The US has consistently courted Pakistan in the post WW2 era, in part because they interpreted Indian neutrality as being pro-communist, among a ton of other reasons. The US also perceived Pakistan as being able to control or at least influence the Taliban.
The conundrum, of course, is that Pakistan has its own interests and goals independent of pleasing the US. Some of the money and attention that we give to Pakistan let’s them continue to stir up trouble in Kashmir and fuel their self-defeating antagonism with respect to India.
Problem is, there is no easy answer. Pakistan and other countries will still pursue their own national Interest. Should the US try to have some influence, or try to stay strictly neutral?
A government in shambles. There is literally not one department in the federal government in any branch that can be trusted any more.
Three years. That’s all it took to ruin over 200 years of foundations.
I did not know Melania had crab ancestry in her background.
@catclub: ” My understanding was that we had already pushed out/ignored the Afghan elected government because the Taliban viewed them as US stooges. ”
In the interviews I heard this weekend of people who seem to actually know stuff, a linchpin of US strategy is to have an Afghan national government strong enough to tie the nation together enough to keep it from being taken over by Taliban again, and being used again as a terrorist base. So, if what you say is true, the I think some cognitive dissonance in the US’s policy.
@Brachiator: I’ve also read and heard from area experts that Pakistan sees control of large chunks of Afghanistan as a critical part of its national security policy. So, it is a problem and one reason Pakistan needs to be part of any deal to reduce influence of Taliban.
I assume the agencies involved are now fatally compromised and that Trump’s people are getting access to things that were previously hidden from them before.
$11 million has gone to that phucking airport.
@SiubhanDuinne: Amazingly, here in the UK, a country obsessed with titles, once someone stops being Prime Minister, any sort of Minister or even an MP, it is normal for everyone to stop addressing them as such. They are jobs, not ranks or titles and once you are no longer doing the job you go back to being Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms.
Currently watching the House of Commons where Independent (formerly Conservative) MP Dominic Grieve has successfully introduced an Emergency Motion to try to get copies of Government documents about their real motives for proroguation of Parliament and the Operation Yellowhammer papers, which relate to preparations for a No Deal Brexit (leaks indicate they expect widespread disruption).
All the Brexiteers can do is yammer on about using proper channels, which, as Grieve points out will take too long as Parliament is shutting down tonight or that the information being asked for is held by political advisers on private computers. Grieve and others have pointed out that if work is done for the Government, it should be available for scrutiny by MP’s unless there are national security implications.
This will be followed later by another emergency debate obtained by Jeremy Corbyn on whether the Government will obey the law just passed requiring them to seek a further delay to Brexit unless they get a deal that Parliament agrees to.
And all this is before BoJo once again tries to get the House to agree to an election.
Fun and games!
It takes weeks to build a barn, minutes to burn it down. Trump admin and by extension, the last several Republican administrations have been waging asymmetrical war on our government. As St. Ronny quipped, government is the problem.
“So why not let us run it?”
I can think of several reasons.
“What’ve you got to lose?”
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
@rikyrah: Yup. I know $11M is an accounting/rounding error in the DoD/US budget but we could do a lot of good with $11M that doesn’t involve propping up two failing foreign businesses.
@trollhattan: Other people are mysterious. What ever they do, “it seemed like a good idea at the time” is probably an accurate description of their state of mind.
Since I complained earlier (a couple of hours ago?) about the dearth of MSM coverage, I’ve seen pieces in NYT and WaPo, as well as any amount of bloggery. Good. I want this story to have legs to rival the legs of elite marathoners.
Its Minority Report meets 1984 meets Idiocracy.
@rikyrah: And $30 billion in welfare to the fucking farmers.
@SiubhanDuinne: Same. Apparently the AF is trying to claim that it was cheaper to stay at Shitberry. Yeah? Produce those dreaded DTS (Defense Travel Site) documents. Show the math, show your proof. Show how staying at Shitberry is cheaper than Gateway Inns (on base AF Inn). Show per diem for offbase good versus eating at the DFAC/food court. Show taxi receipts to get to Shitberry versus the aircrew van (free).
I mean, if you’re going to lie you need to at least have a plausible lie. FFS!
Parliament’s most amusing MP has announced he’s stepping down no later than October 31. You’ll be missed sir, believe me. Even if we have zero clue what’s going on you have been the source of all the most memorable clips.
“Or-dur, or-dur. Now be a good boy!”
Russia and Great Britain fought over the region in the 19th century as part of the Great Game. And now Pakistan sees Afghanistan and Kashmir as within their sphere of influence. And of course India, and China to some degree, also vie for influence in Kashmir. Some games never end. They just go on with new players.
Man, I didn’t believe Romney when he named Russia as our biggest national security concern.
Then again, he probably only knew this because he had insight to the inner workings of his political party.
Census Bureau releases technical details on release of citizenship data to states. Presentation in link below. The presentation is by John Abowd, who is a very respected economist and statistician. it is difficult for me to believe that Abowd has become a political hack, given his previous record of research and impartiality. But I don’t know his whole story. I guess the good news is that the Census Bureau wonks are very slow walking this project, and say they haven’t reached a decision on whether to proceed, despite Trumpster assurances that the data would be released to aid GOP state level gerrymandering, and probably set up a SCOTUS case to change precedent on how Congressional seats are apportioned. (rom basis of ‘persons’ to basis of ‘citizens’). Abowd said a provisional deadline of March 2020 was set for decision.
The bad news is that if the project does go ahead, the Census Bureau has world class talent to do a very good job.
Census Bureau Offers New Clues About Plan To Collect Data For GOP Power Grab
By Tierney Sneed. TPM
In a couple of the stories, there were anecdotal reports that the flight crews couldn’t afford Turnberry’s food and drink prices on their standard per diems. (OTOH, there were those sweet, sweet greens fee discounts.)
Bercow was a Conservative MP before he became Speaker, and some Conservatives were upset that he didn’t consistently tilt towards their interests. In these last months, the Tories were getting even nastier. By tradition, the various political parties do not run a candidate as a member of Parliament against the Speaker while he or she serves. But word is that Boris Johnson was going to break with this tradition.
Also, I think that retiring Speakers are made a Lord or Lady, and again there is some buzz that Conservatives will try to withhold this honor from Bercow.
It’s crazy. We went from an era in which the GOP used total obstruction against Obama to an era in which the GOP applies absolute and total protection in favor of Trump. And they do so openly and brazenly, without any concern about issues of trust, or any care about the damage caused to the country.
The dynasty is going to end in the few years with every one of Trump’s spawn dangling from a rope on a lamppost.
@Brachiator: 2016 feels like it was 20 years ago. Back when the laws of casuality were still in effect.
Guilty as fuck.
This is where we are in 2019. JFC.
No white shoes after Labor Day.
Hello Depression, my old friend.
Is Slate just trolling us with a low rent penthouse forum?
@SiubhanDuinne: The crews will have to do DTS reports to get paid. Those reports can be FOIA’d/subpoenaed. Then investigators can compare rates between Shitberry and onbase facilities. The numbers won’t lie.
Regarding golf: so wing commanders of fighter/heavy lift bases routinely need to stay flight certified. Not only for competency but for that sweet, sweet monthly aviator pay. Some of the commanders at Shaw AFB (F16) vase would put a storage pod under the wing, fly down to Florida with change of clothes/clubs on a Friday, come back Sunday afternoon. All of it would be registered as “training”. Idk if they still do it, haven’t been there in almost 12 years, but it was a sweet gig if you could get it.
@TenguPhule: Monetizing Trump’s cognitive decline. And they’re not even the first in line… Wanna buy a very special sharpie?
Those two tweets make a nice matched set, don’t they?
Entirely O/T, but how goes the recovery? Are you still doing regular PT? Hope you continue to heal well.
@SiubhanDuinne: And its only Monday.
Is this a rhetorical question?
The Moar You Know
@Poptartacus: You think this matters? Still a lie. The man would lie about what he ate for breakfast.
@Leto: And isn’t the US Air Force notorious for shoving evangelical “Christianity” down the throats of their Academy cadets, and having officers forcing enlisteds to attend “prayer” sessions?
@SiubhanDuinne: “I’m in charge of everything! Except for those things that I’m not, but which incidentally make me money”
About sum things up?
Census Bureau Offers New Clues About Plan To Collect Data For GOP Power Grab
Trump uses the old “Let’s you and him fight” policy. He wants to make as much money and get as much personal attention and glory as possible and has used the presidency as a grifter’s paradise. He was like that long before he was president and he’s bullying his way through it all.
Lazy and unqualified to be president, Trump has yet managed to destroy laws, rules, and moral lines without paying a price. He doesn’t “order” anyone to do anything, but suggests that his people must be loyal and they do his dirty work. It’s a pitiful reward process, a ripoff Ponzi scheme that leaves lots of low level grifters holding the bag and keeping Trump above the fray, leaving no fingerprints or a paper trail with his name on it.
He always manages to shrug off the penalites for his wrongdoing. His people pay.
@Adam L Silverman: We do have a lease at RAF Lakenheath, the kid was there for 2 years.
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Sounds like someone’s sick of all the winning! Would a pajama boy Obama apology tour make you feel better?
What an absolute shitshow.*
*Applies to Nov. 9, 2016-present.
@rikyrah: i posted a link to Abowd’s presentation above. As I noted, while i don’t know his whole story, he is a very respected economists and statistician, and have no reason to believe he’s gone hack. IIRC, the Census Bureau set March 2020 as proposed deadline for a decision.
I hope the wonks at the Census Bureau are very slow walking this corrupt project.
@zhena gogolia: I know Dump has ‘resting butthole mouth’ but ewww.
@SiubhanDuinne: Doing well, thanks for asking! Currently sitting on a exercise bike at my physical therapists, spinning round and round. This is week three of being able to do this. I’ve regained enough flexibility in my knees to do that. Working on hip/leg strength and flexibility. Walking more, for longer stretches at a time without form collapse.
Considering where I was last October, I’ve definitely come a long ways. I still have a ways to go but it’s all progress ?
@Tehanu: Yeah, the Academy Christianity connection is a thing. As far as officers forcing enlisted to go to prayer events, I haven’t seen that in my 22 years. Not saying it hasn’t happened, but most of those are not mandatory events, nor “mandatory fun” events. Within the Communications community, atheism is a growing thing. Also a lot of the Airmen would rather stay at work than attend religious functions, even with the promise of free food. If you can’t get them with free food…
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Most of the European leases were signed for 99 year terms. I can’t wait to see the renegotiations for those… ?
A couple of things about Prestwick airport…
1. It is famously the only place in Britain Elvis Presley ever set foot on. He was returning to the US back in the 60s after being discharged from the US Army. Prestwick was at that time a US MAC facility and his plane from Germany landed there to refuel before crossing the Atlantic. It is a few hundred kms closer to the CONUS than the more southerly RAF bases that the USAF uses today.
2. It has a very long runway, about 2900 metres long which is useful for assorted purposes. British Airways used to use it to test Concorde aircraft, in part to avoid using up takeoff and landing slots at a busier airport. It is also used for flight training by various airlines today for the same reasons.
3. The Prestwick area has an odd microclimate which makes fog very rare. This used to be important for aircraft operations, not so much now that Instrument Landing Systems allow effectively blind landings.
The bad news for Prestwick is that it isn’t near any large conurbations. Glasgow Turnhouse is a lot closer to Glasgow with good road connections (the proposed Glasgow Airport Rail connection was never built, sadly) and it can handle all the local air travel requirements of West Scotland. What’s left at Prestwick is some cargo operations, aircraft testing and flight training and occasional air charter flights. The US DoD payments keep a toehold on the runway and local facilities in case some kind of operations surge is required.
Adam L Silverman
@Sam: @jl: The Saudis and the Russians fund them. There may be some others as well.
Adam L Silverman
@ SFAW: They referred to her as Dr. Rice, National Security Advisor.
I hadn’t realised it had changed so much. I flew BOAC out of Prestwick in 1959, at the end of my first UK trip. It was a reasonably active passenger airport, as I recall. Didn’t remember that it was so far from Glasgow, but then it WAS 60 years ago! (Nearly to the day, now I come to think about it.)
J R in WV
Well, generally, I agree. Some pizza is too flexible and goopy to just pick a whole slice up, while some stacked hamburgers are too thick/tall to get your mouth around. Then a knife and a hard plate is a good way to attack the situation. I prefer not to get that much stuff on a burger.
J R in WV
Trump has already forgotten about being Commander in Chief??
J R in WV
Yes. While I was in USN boot camp in 1970, the first Sunday they marched the company of boots down to one of the giant halls for training activity in foul weather (Great Lakes, IL) where we were inflicted with a “Church” service right out of Southern Baptist Holiness Revival handbook.
Monday I told the Company Commander that I wasn’t going to attend any church services like that in the future. I wish I had a video/audio recording of that session, which lasted all day, first yelled at by the CO Chief, then by the Battalion Commander.
But in the end, I did not go to the praise worship revival, come forward to be saved by the blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ church services. I went to watch videos about morality and ethics which were less religiously oriented, and stupifyingly stupid, being created by government contractors.
I really wanted to keep my head down and be low profile, but that only lasted about 10 days. Sad, huh?
@J R in WV:
The buck stops somewhere else unless its being paid to him.
@TenguPhule: good one.
Need to shorten it to fit on a desk plaque. How about ‘The stops when I get it!’
Edit: ‘The buck stops with me!’ could be a nice double entendre. Then Trump could claim that Truman stole it from him.
@jl: i think my hypothesis is well accepted in the government. I wish to hell someone would call out Pakistan and the Gulf Arabs. The public is asked to believe that the Talibs conduct an 18 year campaign using lots of weapons and ammo, professional fighters, by what, passing the hat in the tribal areas? The sponsors of the Taliban have indirectly killed a lot of Americans.
@Adam L Silverman: Adam the Paks give them sanctuary, and if someone said isi gives them training and weapons I wouldn’t be shocked. Pakistan wants the Talibs in power as clients. I can see the Russians because why not, but that is also a link that should be exposed.
Germans too, typically.
A reminder that the region produces a shitload of Opium and Heroin.
This is an offensive national slur.
Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho
@Amir Khalid: Thank you.
I’m pretty sure that Ryanair still use Prestwick.