If I were advising Trump …


"Executive Order 13526 was issued on December 29, 2009 by United States President Barack Obama.[1] It is the latest in a series of executive orders from US Presidents outlining how classified information should be handled. It revokes and replaces the previous Executive Orders in effect for this, which were EO 12958 (text) and EO 13292 (text)."  wiki


Listen up, pilgrims!  The system of classifying most US government information originates in an Executive Order, not in federal law. 

If you watched the senate hearing yesterday presided over by Lindsay Graham it quickly became evident that he was to some extent channeling Roy Cohn in the long ago Army-McCarthy hearings (1954).  I was a boy then but, freaky kid that I was, I was glued to our tiny black and white TV set to watch.  "Have you no sense of decency left? " Lawyer Welch asked Senator Joe McCarthy.   I had the feeling yesterday watching Senators Feinstein and Whitehouse try to torture responses into new meanings that this was a "star chamber" proceeding in the fullest meaning of the term.  A clear example was Feinstein's attempt to twist the former AG's statement that Flynn "could have been compromised" into "Flynn compromised the national security of the US."  It seems evident to me that a certain element in the Democratic Party is intent on portraying both Flynn and Trump as traitorous agents of Russis.  

Well, pilgrims, life is not just a bowl of cherries and fire should be fought with fire.  The president is the ultimate declassification authority.  As noted above, the classification and security clearance structure and procedures are created thought Executive Orders (with the exception of atomic energy information).  In other words, with that exception, the president can declassify anything that is presently classified.

It is not a crime to talk to Russian officials. Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador on circuits that were commercial and unencrypted telephones.  Presumably they spoke in English.  The whole world knows that these conversations took place.  The New York Times revealed this to the world after someone in the government told them.  The whole world knows that all capable governments eavesdrop on foreign government officials.  This is a secret without effective secrecy.  Was the information collected by a cooperating foreign service?  Well, that is just too bad!  The political situation in the US is so toxic that exceptional disclosures by the US government are justified. 

IMO, the president should declassify the transcripts of the intercepted Flynn/Russian ambassador conversations and the present DNI should release them himself at a presser with release of hard copies of the documents to the press.

If Flynn was guilty of something more than chatting with this Russian diplomat or any others, the transcripts will show that.  pl


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65 Responses to If I were advising Trump …

  1. eakens says:

    If you were advising the President, we would all be better for it. However logical your suggestion may be, I believe our US government has a far too enigmatic approach to how we define – and deliver – transparency for that to happen.

  2. Jack says:

    Your advise would be the most sensible action. It seems both Yates and Clapper were hiding behind classification.
    Is Flynn being railroaded? Robert Parry believes so.
    Why is Trump not de-classifying the call transcript?

  3. Laura says:

    Col. – Thank you for this information. You have perhaps hit on exactly why those transcripts will not be declassified.
    Ms. Yates did not strike me as a “pants of fire” type of public servant. If anything, her testimony led me to the conclusion that there is something on those transcripts that this administration does not want to release.
    I wonder if we will ever know?

  4. turcopolier says:

    you are just guessing and from a partisan point of view. In fact, neither she nor Clapper could reveal the contents of the transcripts so long as they are classified because of sources and methods no matter how empty of incriminating information they may or may not be. In any event, the president should declassify them. pl

  5. TV says:

    I really doubt that Trump, or the people around him (the dumbest guys in the room) know that he has this power.
    If he knowa he has this power, why isn’t he kicking the FBI’s ass to discover the leakers?

  6. turcopolier says:

    It may be that they do not know. In any event the FBI already has the transcripts, so it is up to Trump to de-classify them. They cannot. They do not have the authority. pl

  7. Blrturner says:

    He will not release. It has now been reported both sons talked about Russia funding Trump Organization for some time. Trump is hiding something or he would reclassify and release.

  8. b says:

    I don’t understand why Trump isn’t simply saying “So Flynn talked to Russian ambo. That’s okay. That was his job. I told him to do so.”
    Nobody could say anything about the (incoming) president doing foreign policy work in the interest of the United States. If he sends a trusted advisor to do a talking part of the job that is fine. Doesn’t he have at east on in his team could show him that obvious way out?

  9. Fredw says:

    “If Flynn were guilty of something more than chatting with this Russian diplomat or any others, the transcripts will show that.” Agreed. I don’t expect to see the transcripts, but I doubt it is Flynn that they are shielding. White House reactions so far indicate a mix of fear of the potential effects and acceptance of the substance of whatever happened. I know of no reason to suppose that Flynn was a rogue operator acting on his own.
    All of which is not to accuse anyone of “treason”. But at least purposes and affinities that they don’t want becoming public.

  10. turcopolier says:

    I seem to remember that Trump tried that early on and then gave up on it. pl

  11. Dr.Puck says:

    I’m partisan, yet I agree 100%.
    Presumably, one doesn’t release the transcripts because such a release has already been subjected to cost and benefit analysis. At the same time it is impossible to make true assumptions about Flynn’s actions/intent, as if one knows what the transcripts contain, unless one knows what the released transcripts contain.
    I will hazard a prediction that the (currently mostly hidden) shape of the pre-election relations between the Trump campaign and the Russian government will eventually see the daylight. I have no idea whether this spells trouble.

  12. Fred says:

    is it illegal for Russian nationals to invest in US companies? When did that happen?

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    There is perhaps another reason the transcripts remain classified, even if they are clean. Trump’s team must be realists about the Dems sticking with the secret Russia links ‘story’ whatever happens to Flynn. Letting his name fill the allotted media space may actually be judged to be better than having another name there – or another story.
    Flynn twisting in the wind with impossible to prove allegations swirling keeps the attack dogs busy. If this premise is correct, expect to see Flynn dangled for a while yet.

  14. TV says:

    Perfectly legal – as long as a significant contribution is also made to the Clinton crime family AKA Clinton Global Initiative.

  15. TV says:

    Any one know?
    How did Flynn ever get ANY stars, much less three?
    Not the brighterst bulb on the porch.

  16. Markf says:

    Certainly not! If Boris Badenof (see Wikipedia) buys the American corporation/person named “Billy Bob’s Burgers” and then spends all of its profits on contributions to American politicians, that’s just Freedom of Speech (see Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision).

  17. IMO the National Security Act of 1947 vests exclusive classification authority in the President. Many disagree with me!

  18. Kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang, IMO no matter what these conversation’ transcripts say, the media pundits, democrats and certain republicans will spin it against the administration and Flynn,
    As you said make them look like traitors. I have old Russian American client( she left and immigrated back in early 90s) who she is in a successful business of artistic high end greeting cards, and lives and works in LA and NY, the other she told me, ever since the election and heavy democratic losses, alegedly due to Russian interference, Russians Americans are even afraid of calling Russia and check on thier parents and relatives, It reminded me of Iranians back in 80’s. Now days calling or talking to Russians is an un American act?

  19. Allen Thomson says:

    Just an exercise in hopefully informed speculation, but what in the Flynn -> Kislyak conversations would have crossed a line that created the FBI/IC concerns? We’re all agreed, I hope, that just talking about mutual national interests and views and hopes for the future would have been a perfectly legitimate thing for Trump’s national security guy to have done.
    Beyond that, what might it have been? Some sort of explicit quid pro quo, where the quid was active Russian help in getting Trump elected seems a possibility for line-crossing. What else?

  20. turcopolier says:

    Yes, except for atomic info which is created by a special law. But there also the president is the supreme classifying authority. Pat
    Sent from my iPhone

  21. turcopolier says:

    Protege of McChrystal in the great post 9/11 CT world pat
    Sent from my iPhone

  22. Tel says:

    The sources and methods for collecting an unencrypted telephone conversation over commercial carrier are well known. I can explain it here if anyone is interested.
    Government agents go to each major public carrier and say, “Here’s some black boxes, we want one of these inserted into each of your major links so we can tap off whatever we feel like.”
    The telco gives the traditional response of any person with a gun at their head, “Yes sir! No problem.”
    After that, they just tap off any data or phone call at any time. There you go… all sources and methods. Nothing to worry about.
    As for the phone call itself, Flynn was merely scheduling a meeting, or that’s the official story at any rate. Are you expecting me to believe the Russians have some super special way to fill in a diary? I’d say the concept of meeting invites is pretty widespread by now. Even if the North Koreans do discover how to book a room, they probably can’t do a whole lot of harm with that knowledge.

  23. turcopolier says:

    The only thing I am expecting you to understand is that the product is classified because the government does not want to admit that it phone taps foreign ambassadors. This gives Yates and Clapper a perfect excuse not to discuss the matter in public. Have you ever been in government? pl

  24. scott s. says:

    Well I guess we now know. Comey is s-canned.

  25. turcopolier says:

    Yes, but for what?  Ok
    Sent from my iPhone

  26. robt willmann says:

    Off topic … but then again, maybe on topic. President Trump has removed James Comey from employment as the Director of the FBI, after a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The brief article includes a copy of Sessions’s letter–
    I have not yet found the memo written by the new deputy attorney general.

  27. walrus says:

    Does the Logan act apply to a President – elect before inauguration? Could Flynn have been passing a communication from Trump to Putin? Would that explain a reluctance to declassify?

  28. turcopolier says:

    That could be but there has never been a prosecution under the act. Pl 
    Sent from my iPhone

  29. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel Lang said:

    It seems evident to me that
    a certain element in the Democratic Party
    is intent on portraying both Flynn and Trump
    as traitorous agents of Russia.

    I would only add: and the media,
    certainly including both the Washington Post and New York Times.

  30. Ash TheLightningFan says:

    Mr. Lang,
    Given that background…do you buy into the “Team Petraeus vs. Flynn-Stones” framing?

  31. kooshy says:

    Comey just got fired,he had it coming

  32. turcopolier says:

    Not sure yet. Pl
    Sent from my iPhone

  33. Fred says:

    And if Slick Willie gets $500,000 for a speech in Moscow it’s got good ole American jawboning.

  34. turcopolier says:

    IMO the radical Dems seek to invalidate the election. Pl
    Sent from my iPhone

  35. John LeDell says:

    On a related subject what do people think of Trump firing Comey today?

  36. phodges says:

    Lots of removed comments. I feel like I am reading a redacted document 🙂

  37. Shnozzola says:

    If I were advising Trump …
    Would you advise him to fire the FBI director at this time?

  38. Lefty says:

    Yep, what it has all been about is it not? Bizarre that they’ve taken to calling themselves the “resistance”.

  39. John_Frank says:

    Suggest people go back and listen to what the President said sometime ago during a press conference.
    Mr. Trump did not say that he told General Flynn to talk with the Russian ambassador, but rather that was Flynn’s job and Trump had no problem with what Flynn did.
    This whole issue is a manufactured crisis, in an effort to continue to undermine the Trump administration.
    P.S. According to reports, after meeting with Secretary Tillerson, FM Lavarov will have a meeting with the President.

  40. John_Frank says:

    In somewhat related news:
    Text of President’s letter to FBI Director Comey telling him he is fired, along with enclosures
    I write somewhat, because those seeking to overturn the election results will seek to use this, along with the President’s meeting with FM Lavarov as more evidence of a ‘conspiracy.’

  41. VietnamVet says:

    Hopeful the deletion of the last three comments by the moderator was a minor snafu not the unleashing of NSA against dissident blogs.
    With the firing of James Comey, there is a full blown constitutional crisis underway; but unlike Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, the Democrats cannot do a damn thing about it.
    This is all tied up with Michael Flynn and classified secrets. Warfare has broken out between the globalists and nationalists within the government. This is all about what was on Carlos Danger’s laptop besides pictures of his dick. NYPD said it was explosive. James Comney said it was thousands of Hillary Clinton e-mails and around ten that were classified. (Note; a seaman was jailed for tossing in the trash his cellphone with selfies taken inside a nuclear submarine.) The media now says “just several” e-mails were on the laptop.
    With all the backstabbing, no one knows what is the official story line. This doesn’t inspire confidence that re-surge into Afghanistan or the new Cold War with Russia will turn out well.
    Reality has been tossed in the dumpster.

  42. John_Frank says:

    fyi Federal Prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn
    The investigation has nothing to do with Flynn’s discussions with the Russian Ambassador, but rather his business dealings and whether he failed to properly report them.

  43. John_Frank says:

    Not just Democrats. IMV there is also a contingent on the right that seeks to overturn the election results.

  44. Paul Mooney says:

    I’m not sure I would de-classify in any case.
    Doing so kind of establishes the idea that if de-classification can exonerate me I will de-classify but if it can’t I won’t. This might be problematic some time in the future when I decide for whatever reason something must stay classified.
    In addition I believe one thing the aggressors want are more documents. It is almost certain that more documents will lead to more questions then then to clamoring for more documents. I don’t think this particular beast can ever be sated.

  45. Laura says:

    turcopolier — IHO, the radical Dems are getting all the help they need from the Administration itself.
    Yes, I am partisan…but, first and foremost, I am an American who reveres the Constitution and the rule of law and the national interest (both foreign and domestic).

  46. Walrus says:

    Comedy has been fired!

  47. Green Zone Café says:

    I didn’t think Flynn did anything wrong, talking to the Russian ambassador. Seems like a normal thing an incoming NSA would do. Yes, his lobbying for Turkey and taking money from RT smells, but hardly something to hold a retired Lt. Gen. in thrall to a foreign power.
    But after this Comey firing, my prediction is that Flynn will be made into a scapegoat and have to bear the load of all the “Russia” stuff. Facts be damned. They will lock him in a place with “special administrative measures” to ensure his silence.
    This is based on my experience in Iraq, where petty thieves and pirates were prosecuted while major systemic corruption and those politically connected got a pass.

  48. Dabbler says:

    With due respect, it’s Hillary dems rather than radical dems who seek to invalidate the election. Radical dems, for better or worse, are focused more on issues and general opposition.
    Off-topic (if there’s any interest), things appear quite calm in the immediate vicinity of the Hanford site. The PUREX tunnels, source of today’s heavily publicized soil collapse, contain a concentration of unique and intensely radioactive material, but the material is not mobile and effects/consequences are not likely to be widespread, except for politics and cleanup funding.

  49. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    “The political situation in the US is so toxic that exceptional disclosures by the US government are justified. ”
    Unfortunately, two key factors exacerbate the toxicity:
    1. Trump’s firing of Comey, apparently so abrupt that Comey learned of it from televisions in LA
    2. Grand jury subpoenas issued to associates of Flynn in the hours prior to Comey’s firing.
    Irrespective of anyone’s personal political views, the timing and juxtaposition of events are concerning.
    It’s going to take extraordinary efforts to reduce the political toxicity.

  50. Bill H says:

    I recall that as well. It never got any traction as the media sort of implied that even if the president told him to do it, it was still illegal.

  51. Bill H says:

    Part of the hyperventilation, particularly from Sally Yates, is that Flynn had put himself in a position where he could be blackmailed by the Russians. Does that remind anyone other than me of Cold War rhetoric? The Soviet Union was certainly a threat. To what degree is Russia, even with its nuclear arsenal, a similar threat, given that we are not provoking them?

  52. Barbara Ann says:

    So there’s nothing like events to get you to re-evaluate your premises!
    Even if Trump doesn’t know he can declassify the transcripts already, his willingness to use executive power so far suggests he would find a way, if he wanted to. Gonna have to go with Occam’s razor on this one now: Transcripts compromise Flynn, probably Trump & won’t see the light of day under what is left of POTUS45.

  53. turcopolier says:

    No. IMO this is suicidal. pl

  54. Eric Newhill says:

    When you reply from your I-phone, the comment that you are replying to disappears and there is a pre-canned messaged that reads “This comment has been removed by the moderator…..” – or something close to that.
    It happened to a comment I posted a little while ago and that you replied to from your i-phone. I thought I had offended you somehow, though it was a pretty innocent comment. Later the same day the comment was back up. On this thread there were three comments where the same thing occurred. One was a comment by Walrus.
    We know you replied from an I-phone because your response is stamped with something that says so.

  55. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    Ah! OK I will stop responding by iphone. pl

  56. BillWade says:

    Clinton’s base will have to process some hefty “doublethink” ideas today, it has me LMAO. President Trump is a very brave man. I still think he should be impeached for the Syria missile salvo – again lmao, as if that’s ever going to happen, perhaps he got some bad advice from a Borg darling, yeah, probably. I think McMaster is next up to the plate, home run or strike out?

  57. BillWade says:

    Your IPhone comments initially process in a weird manner, rather than posting a reply it deletes the comments posted by the likes of Walrus, they are a “bug” and not a “feature” of this site and likely not something you intended to happen,

  58. LeaNder says:

    Yes, no doubt, to the more casual observer it feels a bit like a soap opera scenario for public consumption.
    Gonna have to go with Occam’s razor on this one now: Transcripts compromise Flynn, probably Trump & won’t see the light of day under what is left of POTUS45.
    If you say secret and classified over and over again this no doubt stimulates our imagination.
    Personally, I would be more interested in how the now three agencies–versus all seventeen collectively as HC claimed–came to the conclusion that the Russians, especially its own agencies versus let’s say some type of Russian-Anonymous-hacktivists, who didn’t cover their trail well enough, interfered with the American election.

  59. jld says:

    given that we are not provoking them

    Are you sure that this is the Russian assessement of the situation?

  60. P.L. correct that Secret Restricted Data a product of the Atomic Energy Act.

  61. IMO the current “Russia” meddling is mislabeled in that FP set by oligarchs on both sides not nation-state interests. The true interest of Russian oligarchs is to see that money laundering can continue in the West largely through real estate, a largely unregulated sector of Western economies.

  62. Bill H says:

    Well, good point. I worded that awkwardly. The thought hit me as I was posting and I tried to tack something on to avoid looking like an idiot. Wound up looking like an idiot. Of course we are provoking them.
    What I meant is, would they be a threat if we were not constantly poking them in the eye with a stick?

  63. Fred says:

    Real estate is unregulated? You must not have tried to build anything in any of our cities.

  64. Fred! Definition of “property” one of state law. You are talking building and zoning law while I am speaking to funding of real estate ventures.

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