—–ON THE AGENDA—–
FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR ANDREW MCCABE ON THE HILL
NPR reports, “Members of Congress have not made life easy for the leaders of the Justice Department this month — and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is next in line for some special attention on Tuesday. McCabe is set to testify behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee as part its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” As NPR notes, “McCabe’s appearance follows attacks by President Trump and Republican allies on him specifically, the FBI, the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, including accusations of political bias.”
SOUNDS LIKE TRUMP HAD NO ROLE IN HIS NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
Bloomberg runs an opinion by Admiral James Stavridis, who was vetted as a possible VP pick for Hillary Clinton, under the headline, “Trump’s National Security Strategy Is Shockingly Normal”. In it Stavridis writes, “President Trump’s newly released National Security Strategy is a pleasantly centrist document — essentially a well-written amalgam of mainstream foreign policy principles that could as easily have emerged from a Hillary Clinton White House. Despite a couple of outlying aspects, the ‘four pillars’ of the document reflect traditional ideas of international relations and are hard to argue with: protect the homeland, promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance U.S. influence.” It is really a shame it was not five pillars. Stavridis adds, “At the heart of the new strategy is a resolutely international outlook. This includes a reliance on allies and partners, an adoption of ‘principled realism,’ and concern over what might be termed a ‘tri-polar competition’ the U.S., China and Russia.” Does anyone really believe Trump had anything to do with this? It is literate and informed. However, Stavridis notes, “Strangely lacking, by comparison with the criticisms of China, is any sense of a similar plan for Russia. Here we see the ongoing ambivalence, presumably of the president himself, toward Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular.” According to Reuters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has already dismissed it as “imperialist,” suggesting at least our great friends in the Russian mafia state with an ice pick to our forehead, as friends do, would rather see Trump have more imput as well. Already though it is in practice indistinguishable from Black Hawk Down it is just called America First now. Branding.
FBI WARNED TRUMP RUSSIANS WILL TRY + INFILTRATE CAMPAIGN
NBC News reports, “In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign”. NBC News notes, “The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials”. NBC News adds, “The briefings were led by counterintelligence specialists from the FBI, the sources said. They were timed to occur around the period when the candidates began receiving classified intelligence, the officials said, which put them at greater risk for being targeted by foreign spies.” Call this a shot back across the bow. NBC News reports, “The situation was complicated by the fact that the FBI had already become aware of contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, and was beginning to investigate further. Former CIA Director John Brennan has said he told the FBI about a pattern of contacts the CIA observed between members of the Trump team and Russians, and former FBI Director James Comey said the bureau then began investigating in July 2016.” The FBI knows what the Trumpistani elite did summer before last.
From NBC News.
FORMER DNI JAMES CLAPPER SAYS PUTIN HANDLING TRUMP “LIKE AN ASSET”
The Hill reports, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be handling President Trump like ‘an asset.’ No kidding. Clapper told CNN, “I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president”. Think about that. Let that unsettle in. This is, after all, the president of the United States at least in name and to those willing to believe a lie.
From The Hill.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: T REX SCHOOLED THAT HUMANS HAVE RIGHTS
POLITICO reports, “Three months into his tenure as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson alarmed veteran diplomats with remarks that sounded like a potential shift in American foreign policy: The U.S., he said, should be careful not to let values like human rights create ‘obstacles’ to the pursuit of its interests.” POLITICO adds, “The comment, at a gathering of State Department employees, provoked an outcry among former U.S. officials and human rights activists who feared America was abandoning a vital mission. Two weeks later, a top Tillerson adviser wrote up a short tutorial, in the form of a confidential memo to his boss,” who never dealt with such matters evidently once as CEO of ExxonMobil, his previous gig. As POLITICO describes it, “The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” It seems to ignore that when we ignore human rights in a given country, we lose the support of the man on the street in a given country, but these are the small people whose lives mean nothing to the Trumpistani elites. Read the memo, it’s really first year college stuff.
GREEN PARTY HACK JILL STEIN UNDER INVESTIGATION
BuzzFeed News reports, “The top congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the Green Party and its nominee, Jill Stein. Dennis Trainor Jr., who worked for the Stein campaign from January to August of 2015, says Stein contacted him on Friday saying the Senate Intelligence Committee had requested that the campaign comply with a document search.” Recall Stein was also present at the table with Putin and Michael Flynn, the ousted National Security Advisor and former Defense Intelligence Agency director who recently plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, during a dinner for Russian propaganda outlet RT in Moscow in 2015. BuzzFeed notes, “Trainor, who served as the campaign’s communications director and acting manager during that time, told BuzzFeed News that he was informed of the committee’s request because during his time on the campaign, his personal cell phone was ‘a primary point of contact’ for those looking to reach Stein or the campaign. That included producers from RT News, the Russian state-funded media company, who booked Stein for several appearances, Trainor said.” Unlike Trump, this one is not so sensitive so BuzzFeed News reports, “When asked Monday what the committee was looking for from the Stein campaign, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the committee’s chairman, responded, ‘collusion with the Russians.’”
From BuzzFeed News.
NAVALNY SAYS HE WOULD BEAT PUTIN IN A FAIR ELECTION
Can you imagine? A fair election in Russia! The AP reports, “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny tells The Associated Press he would beat Putin in a fair election.” It is as if he has dreams of life in a less shitty authoritarian country.
From the AP.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
SANTA CLAUSE IS COMING TO TOWN
Business Insider reports, “Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign who was arrested in October as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, asked a judge on Monday to let him go to the Hamptons for Christmas.” Business Insider notes, “US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the request.” Bloomberg adds, “The Bridgehampton estate—complete with tennis court, pool, and golf green—has been of keen interest to prosecutors.”
HOUSE INTEL REPUBLICANS WANT INVESTIGATION OF HOUSE INTEL LEAKS
POLITICO reports, “Three House Republicans are demanding an investigation of what they say are leaks coming out of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. In a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that was released on Monday, Reps. Lee Zeldin of New York, Mia Love of Utah and John Ratcliffe of Texas demanded an inquiry into what they described as ‘improper release of information to the media by committee members or staff.’” POLITICO adds, “The three lawmakers said they were particularly concerned that details of an eight-hour closed-door interview with President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., were revealed to reporters before he had finished testifying.” The concerns of course seem to be partisan and focused on Rep. Adam Schiff, not on the lying interference-running scoundrel DARKNESS AT NUNES who allegedly recused himself after a midnight sojourn to the White House to conspire with then National Security Council intelligence coordinator Ezra Cohen-Watnick, since purged. Remember “unmasking”?
REP. CUMMINGS REQUESTS MICHAEL FLYNN JR. DOCS
The Washington Examiner reports, “House Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Monday asked Vice President Mike Pence to authorize the FBI to turn over documents relating to the security clearance application of Michael Flynn Jr., the son of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who worked on Trump’s transition team. According to Cummings, Pence can authorize the FBI to do so because he was head of Trump’s transition team.”
From The Washington Examiner.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
DEFENDING OURSELVES AGAINST STRATEGIC DECEPTION FROM RUSSIA
Just Security features a piece from ex-CIA station chief in Moscow and elsewhere John Sipher, who writes, “we should also be on the lookout for another classic Russian trick: strategic deception.” Sipher notes, “Strategic deception is a secret, offensive effort to create an alternative narrative that serves Moscow’s interests. Unlike Russia’s fake news and disinformation efforts designed to confuse or meet tactical ends, strategic deception is designed to build a believable and consistent narrative forcing the recipient to take a specific action,” adding, “Efforts to deceive are most effective when they play to preconceived notions, and tell an adversary something it is desperate to know.” Sipher adds, “Deep knowledge of your adversary is critical in crafting an effective deception effort. The tendency to accept what you want to hear and dismiss what you don’t is a hazard to policymakers and intelligence analysts (and laypersons) alike.” Of course, “Russia benefits from our naivete. What we need to do first is open eyes to the consistent, decades-long pattern of Russian attacks,” Sipher writes. He adds he believes the narrative of collusion is and will be under the most direct siege using such tactics. Possibilities may include providing “a false lead suggesting collusion with the Trump campaign, only to pull the rug later to try to discredit the whole investigatory enterprise. Or they may allow the release of a false and weak form of kompromat on the President to suggest they don’t have anything stronger.” Sipher concludes, “Moscow will most likely seek to muddy the waters and make it hard to know what information is real, and what’s not. A basic awareness of strategic deception can help us avoid these traps, and pry ourselves loose when we’re found in one
From Just Security.
TWITTER UNDERGOING A NAZI PURGE
Teen Vogue reports, “According to a blog post published Monday, the new rules state that any groups that ‘use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes’ will be removed from Twitter. This applies to groups that promote violence ‘both on and off the platform,’ meaning that some groups may be barred from gaining access to Twitter based on past behavior.” That should include Russian mafia state trolls in theory but the first order seems to focus on far right nationalists, e.g. neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The Hill adds, “Twitter began to act on the new policy Monday morning, suspending several prominent accounts involved in white nationalism or the August white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va. The site also cracked down on a far-right British activist who had been retweeted by President Trump,” Jayda Fransen, “as well as several other accounts associated with her ultranationalist group.” This means Twitter, at least on paper, is officially treating our fake Russian bullshit president’s “very fine people” like ISIS. Two years ago this could have really changed things, especially if it included the Russian troll accounts, but Twitter was too busy trying to broker an ad deal with their friends in the Russian mafia state’s propaganda arm and taking Russian dirty money then, do not forget.
FAKEBOOK ADS WITH IMAGES OR VIDEO NOW MUST SAY WHO PAYS FOR IT
Slate reports, “The Federal Election Commission determined that political ads with images or videos posted on Facebook now have to include disclaimers about who paid for them. It was the first time the FEC had clarified its federal rules for posting political ads on Facebook in six years.” The loophole here is text ads require no such thing.
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