Trump and the IC “consultants.”


" … how tenable is this for Trump? How long can he go on questioning the information he receives from intelligence briefings, as he seems intent upon doing?"  Washpost


Wait for it!  The answer to the question is – indefinitely.  I would think that the Trump Administration will go through the ranks of the SES/SIS position holders at CIA/DIA/NSA, etc. like a scythe.  These folks, of whom I was one (SES-4) are not career protected like the lower members of the federal civil service.  In return for their elevated rank (equivalent to military flag officers) they lack actual legal job security and can be much more easily removed.  They are usually highly politicized schemers and enablers for their presidential appointee bosses at the very top of the food chain.  But who will run things!?  Well, pilgrims there are lots of eager beaver GS-15s awaiting their turn and eager to prove their loyally to the administration.

Hey, why not ?  Payback is a bitch and people like Clapper and Brennan could not have staged this intelligence "coup" without the cooperation of the SES corps. 

And then there is the little matter of the chain of command in the federal government.  NEWS FLASH!!  The IC agencies work for the president.  He does not work for them.  If he does not accept their analysis – so be it!  They are not semi-divine creatures endowed with some special gift of understanding the world,  Well, some are, but not many. 

Any intelligence is destined to support decision making for policy.  It should NEVER be prescriptive.  The news idiots keep asking old intelligence hands what policy should be…  What a sad joke.

For Trump, the IC is just another consultant group.  pl

This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Current Affairs, government, Intelligence, Policy, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to Trump and the IC “consultants.”

  1. Jack says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Yes, indeed. What all these folks don’t get is that all of them work for POTUS. I find Schumer’s comment that Trump is dumb by taking on the intelligence community as “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back” very instructive.
    Trump as the incoming boss is doing absolutely the right thing by ensuring everyone gets that he is going to be the new boss. A good “pare back” with a reorg and firing a few high up muckety mucks will send the right message IMO.
    The Borg are having conniptions that they can’t roll Trump as easily as they expected. And the people are not buying their scare mongering and hysteria that easily either. This link to John Harwood’s tweet poll results are so hilarious.

  2. aleksandar says:

    ” How is it tenable for Trump ? ” ask Wapo.
    Stupid question ( as usual ).
    Do you hear the ticking ?
    Fourteen days left.

  3. I had lunch with a good friend yesterday who spent the last fifteen years or so with the Klingons. He began his federal career writing Assembler code for nuclear command and control. He’s worked throughout the Agency and with several other government entities. He tells me the spooks are anticipating a massive house cleaning just as Colonel Lang envisions. He also confirmed my view that the IC is rotten with self-serving careerists. A condition that is rapidly getting worse. The problem is that all those eager beaver GG-15s have been educated and mentored by those same self-serving careerists. The old school professionals have long since retired or just moved on to warmer climes. My friend is counting the days until he can retire this September. He talked longingly of the Keys.

  4. kooshy says:

    Colonel, IMO, and from what I understand of Mr. Trump, so far, he acts and sees everything “as a matter of business” and not “as the matter of his or his advisers ideology”, this IMO include his confusing use of twiter and the matter of election stand, which his opposition from all different sides and venues including their media/IC tools/fools never understood.

  5. Lemur says:

    John Schindler writes screeds about ‘why no President can afford to go up against the Intelligence Community.’
    It’s like these neocons are openly proud of their Deep State subversion.

  6. Valissa says:

    In honor of Trump’s long history with the WWE… these fantasy moments 😉
    Famous Firings – WWE Top 10

  7. Lemur says:

    “Trump will/can never do X”
    *Trump does X*
    “Trump will never do Y”
    *Trump does Y*
    I don’t see the media changing this pattern they’ve maintained since Trump announced anytime soon.

  8. Donald says:

    Has anyone been following the latest wikileaks bombshell?
    You can google Kerry ISIS and get more details from various sites, but the story hasn’t really taken off the way I think it should, unless there is something obviously phony about it. Briefly, Kerry spoke to some Syrian rebel spokespeople last fall. An audio tape was given to the NYT and they wrote about it, but apparently (according to this latest leak) they left out the really juicy stuff, where Kerry says the US allowed ISIS to grow, hoping it would put pressure on Assad, but that Russia entered the war to fight ISIS. I listened to that part of the tape myself a few hours ago. No idea if it is genuine. But it surprises me that it isn’t getting more attention either as a bombshell or as a fraud.

  9. J says:

    Incoming POTUS Trump I hope and pray will do what has needed done , dice and slice the CIA into a HUMINT COLLECTION ONLY ice sculpture.

  10. ked says:

    “… there are lots of eager beaver GS-15s awaiting their turn and eager to prove their loyally to the administration.”
    Must he replace the entrenched SES class that’s been cleaned out w/ civil servants – is that a legal requirement? Because if there isn’t, I think his interest in selecting among career federal employees on any sound basis (competency & ethics) may be suspect – after all, GS-15s might be happy to tell him what he wants to hear. If he could install outsider loyalists, having allegiance to himself above all, I expect he’d go that way.

  11. SAC Brat says:

    The media was in La-La land before the election. What makes anyone think they got a visa to visit reality?

  12. Judging from the early news accounts, Trump is convinced that the Russians are behind the hacks and leaks after today’s IC briefing. He also said the Russian effort did not affect the election results. Now he’s on reasonable grounds and can get on with the work of NOT going to war with Russia.
    I think it was jld who spoke of the crux of this issue. It is about meme creation and meme destruction. Trump’s goal is to prevent the “Russians elected Trump” movement into becoming the next birther movement. The Borg’s goal is to ensure that new meme becomes part of the American psyche.

  13. Chris Chuba says:

    Since the Col allowed your post on this thread, I’ll add my 2 cents. I listened to it.
    Kerry meeting with opposition representatives:
    regarding the terms of the second ceasefire agreement in 9/16
    The sections below are a mixture of paraphrasing and transcribing. Transcribing all of these sections will take more time and resolve since it is painful to listen to Kerry over and over again (nails on a chalkboard).
    When I embed a url, it is set to go to the actual time offset so that you do not have to find it manually, text in [brackets] is my commentary.
    3:48 – 4:01 1. Kerry admits that opposition and extremists are aligned:
    Kerry: “Nusra and Daesh both make it hard because you have this extreme element and unfortunately some of the opposition has already chosen to work with them”
    22:29 – 23:51 2. Opposition Rep defends Nusra:
    The rebel representative is angry that Sunnis [Al Nusra/ISIS] will be bombed in the ceasefire while Hezbollah and the Iranian/Iraqi militias are not. Kerry has to explain that Nusra/Daesh have attacked the U.S. and are our enemies while Hezbollah has not and has not even been active against Israel for a while.
    [Hmm… then why is Syria listed as a terrorist state and Iran the #1 sponsor of terrorism. This moderate is basically pleading for Nusra. So why are we supporting these people?]
    27:46 until the end, 3. Opposition rejects elections:
    Kerry: “Why can’t you have accountability at the ballot box?”
    Female opposition rep: [paraphrasing] She basically has a hissy fit. It’s worth listening to.
    [The interaction between Kerry and the opposition is interesting. Kerry starts off genuinely hopeful and I find it intriguing how the lady shoots him down and takes control. Then Kerry tries to recover with a ‘well, I was in favor of bombing Assad’ almost as if he is giving into a desire to please the person he is speaking to. She’s a Harpy.]

  14. VietnamVet says:

    Simply put the Democratic Party turned its back on working America and is scapegoating Russia to continue to get corporate contributions and stay in power. I accept your and TTG’s expertise on the upcoming turmoil. A lot of rice bowls will be broken to form a western alliance with Russia and China to eliminate the Islamic State. Turkey appears to be headed in this direction. We shall see who will win; the American people and sovereign democracies or wealthy Globalists and endless wars.

  15. Lars says:

    A very long time ago, I was also writing Assembler code and the first thing we had to deal with was GIGO.
    Maybe everybody should take a look at Paul Bremer and his merry band that was going to make Iraq great again.

  16. turcopolier says:

    There are legal limits but IMO as many careerist civil servants as possible should be retired and replaced. pl

  17. b says:

    There is also this from Kerry (26:30)
    “And we know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened” Kerry told the Syrians.
    “(We) thought, however,” he continued. “we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate. But instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

  18. b says:

    Just as important as cleaning up the IC is the cleaning up of the corps of perfumed princes in the Pentagon. Unfortunately Trump seems to have no interest in that.
    The IC report is now out:
    To me it looks like a Kremlin disinformation plot to destroy all public confidence in US intelligence.
    A full third of the report is about Russia Today. It shows RT internet statistic from 2012 and mentions RT TV shows that were canceled in 2014 and 2015.
    Facts that could be seen as relevant to “Russian hacking” in the report? Exactly zero.

  19. gowithit says:

    Interesting post by Juan Cole
    Actually fairly favorable to Trump!

  20. Karl Kolchack says:

    As a retired fed myself, I compliment you for nailing the issue right on its miserable little head. It seems to me that the IC got so complacent about having an empty suit in the White House, soon to be replaced they thought by a corrupt pantsuit, that they completely forgot who the boss is. I don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him, but I hope he does exactly what you are suggesting, and then follows it up with a demand that the new SES/SIS’ers strip away the many layers of unnecessary bloat and audit those black budgets to find out how badly the taxpayers are being screwed.

  21. Bandolero says:

    I’m quite sure in the coming weeks and months the IC will come to the conclusion that:
    1.) the Russians were quite happy to see Trump win because Clinton was hostile to them,
    2.) there is evidence that Russian media had a more positive view on Trump than many US media, and
    3.) there is no conclusive evidence that the Russians hacked the Dems, and
    4.) there is neither an overwhelming reasonable basis to conclude only the Russians would hack the Dems because there were many people, groups and states who didn’t like Clinton.
    I think it would be a straight win for Trump, and all that Trump has to do to get this is to appoint IC chiefs who will say this.
    What do you think of this scenario?

  22. JMH says:

    Trump on WWE was clever way to implant himself into the collective id of the volk.

  23. Clonal Antibody says:

    You should read (or hear) the book “Disciplined Minds”

    Who are you going to be? That is the question.
    In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict “ideological discipline.”
    The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional’s lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy.
    Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker and to pursue one’s own social vision in today’s corporate society. He shows how an honest reassessment of what it really means to be a professional employee can be remarkably liberating. After reading this brutally frank book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job.

  24. hans says:

    Yesterday the House reinstated the Holman Rule and that allows Congress to cut the salaries of individual civil servants to $1.

  25. TV says:

    So the IC is just another brain dead bureaucracy inhabited by self-important drones with access to really SECRET stuff – according to them.
    Given their overall “performance”, that seems about right.

  26. Valissa says:

    Yup, that’s well choreographed. Vince McMahon is the husband of Linda McMahon… Trump’s appt to head the Small Business Administration.
    The short video piece here is worth a viewing for some context on Trump’s political persona…
    Donald Trump’s connection with Vince McMahon and WWE spans decades

  27. Stu Wood says:

    Careerist and civil servant are the same thing. What Trump needs are civil servants who don’t bs him and hopefully he can make an appropriate decision from their input. I don’t see any trust between the intelligence community and him. Trump is the boss but you don’t want “yes men” giving you advice.

  28. Valissa says:

    Well TTG, that’s not exactly how I would interpret his statement. It looks very carefully worded and more politically savvy than many would expect from Trump. And from the tweets in the article below, I’m not the only one. Trump is playing along with the game is how I read it.
    Trump Confirms “No Effect On The Outcome Of The Election” Following Intelligence Briefing
    Statement by President-Elect Donald J. Trump
    (New York, NY) President–elect Donald J. Trump released the following statement at the conclusion of the meeting with Intelligence Community leaders:
    “I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.
    “While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.
    “Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.”
    [full text also here on his official site

  29. Ghostship says:

    Has the IC has been caught sexing up another dossier?
    Sputnik News, a “fake news” site, thinks so:
    “Shocker: ‘Proof’ of Russia’s Trump Support Was Compiled During Obama’s Election”
    A highly-anticipated declassified US intelligence report, aimed to prove that Russia supported Donald Trump, has turned out to be a huge embarrassment. The annex that contained factual material that was thought to provide evidence of RT influencing the American public was compiled in December 2012, right after the reelection of Barack Obama.
    The report focuses on television shows and interviews that took place four years before Trump was elected, and well before he was even a politician. In Annex A of the report, intelligence agencies claim that “Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.” Buried at the bottom of that page is a note stating, “This annex was originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center, now the Open Source Enterprise.”
    The American taxpayer coughs up about $55 billion a year for this.

  30. turcopolier says:

    Stu Wood
    OK, what I meant was those who can be identified as solely motivated by self. pl

  31. Freudenschade says:

    Unfortunately it is too soon to talk about this. The comments in this thread make it clear that most participants are still sharpening their knives for “the Democrats” or the mendacious IC drones. Maybe in a few months we can have a sober discussion about Russian hacking and disinformation without it becoming a Rorschach’s test of our personal political predilections.

  32. Bandolero,
    If Trump remains tenacious in a misguided pathological need to destroy this meme, he will set up a new Office of Special Plans that will find definitive proof that the Russians are totally incapable of conducting this kind of influence operation and wish only benign thoughts for ALL Americans. They’ll probably also establish that Obama was secretly an Imam of Mombasa for the last twenty years and that the moon landing never took place. That’s my smart-assed answer.
    OTOH, Trump may uncharacteristically let this issue go and establish a working relationship with Putin to dissolve that unholy mess Clinton and her coven created in Kiev, and contain/hobble the jihadist threat in the Middle East. If he does that, this whole unpleasantness about Russian hacking and leaking will be largely forgotten.

  33. Valissa says:

    Zero Hedge provides and overview and key extracts from the report, for anyone who doesn’t want to bother to read the whole thing.
    Here Is The US Intel Report Accusing Putin Of Helping Trump Win The Election By “Discrediting” Hillary Clinton
    Personally, no one I know in real life reads RT, and most have never even heard of it. I follow news headlines regularly but somehow missed all the favorable Trump IO that Russia snuck in there amongst all the anti-Trump articles. Other than in Republican/conservative oriented news sources and blogs (and some independent blogs, including this one) I did not see any pro-Trump statements or commentary, just lots of hating on Trump.
    Also all my friends are liberals and none of them believed any of the negative Clinton stuff that the Republicans charged Clinton with (under order from the Kremlin?). It appears Russia wasted a lot of money paying trolls and hackers to influence American opinion. Or did they… the international street cred they now have after changing the course of US history is probably well worth whatever efforts they made.
    Given how poor the DNC’s computer security was, I wonder how many different state and non-state actors successfully hacked or spied on the info they held.

  34. Valissa,
    No, that’s exactly how I interpret his statement, a very well written statement, I might add. He denied nothing presented by the IC and specifically agreed with several points. His bottom line that this did not affect the outcome of the election is more emphatic, but still in line with the IC stated position that they cannot determine whether this affected the election or not. It was a well crafted and effective spin piece. If his tweets stay on message, he’ll breeze through this.

  35. Henshaw says:

    ked- I fear you’re right. I don’t know how the US civil servant promotion system works, but the risk is always that when you have senior people selecting those lower down for promotion, there is an inherent tendency to select ‘people like us’. Red meat economists will rate younger red meat economists highly, but have concerns about anyone who suggests that the profession might be able to learn something from behavioral economics. DoS interviwees who suggested that after 35+ years of sanctions, it might be time to look again at policy towards Iran would likely get short shrift from older interviewers for whom Iran-bashing was an article of faith.
    The risk is that the upper levels of the GS may already be populated with Borg acolytes.

  36. Tel says:

    The biggest, most audacious and most destructive hack of America’s security was done from the inside:
    * Copying classified data onto insecure servers.
    * Insecure and non-auditable backups of those servers.
    * Insecure transport of classified information.
    * Deliberately not using official government email servers for important government business.
    * Not following correct archival procedure.
    * Deletion of evidence in order to hide from congressional oversight.
    We all know who this hacker was, and we have a pretty good idea how she was able to get away with it. Against a determined and powerful insider (group really), there is utterly no point in messing around trying to stop cyberattacks or having a team with a plan, or anything else.
    No use having a top notch gold plated security system if people just shrug and can’t be bothered using it. Is there?

  37. Postkey says:

    Thanks for for your ‘2 cents’.
    “Hmm… then why is Syria listed as a terrorist state and Iran the #1 sponsor of terrorism.”
    I think it is because of their perceived past actions?

  38. Old Microbiologist says:

    To do it cleanly there needs to be some kind of vetting. That is extremely difficult, particularly within the IC, who are often political animals and survivalists. One would need to rely on an insider with real knowledge of the who’s and where’s of all the people in key positions. We have experienced at least 15 years of relative rapid rise in power of neocon aligned and later RTP neoliberals calling the shots and filtering the missions. It will probably require removing a lot of GS14’s and GS-15’s (whatever they are now since pay bands replaced GS gradings). This is also going to have to extend into all other Federal agencies as well. His choices of very wealthy people into key positions is brilliant as these people are already “rich enough” and not influenced by greed (in relative terms). They are also not “owned” by anyone other than Trump so their loyalties are relatively clear. However, it will be essential to remove obstacles (people) as quickly as possible yet still retain essential services. Having retired military commanders lends credence to the forethought about how to approach this in a real sense as typically the military is the emergency backup for federal services if dissembled quickly leaving a leadership vacuum (think Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers mass firings). Trump needs to keep an eye on the ball so as to avoid another 9/11 debacle which occurred during the transition period of Bush. So, they are not making this easy for him setting up yet another reason for war. On the other hand anyone buying into the Russia is evil sales pitch is low hanging fruit. Then they must begin to look downwards into social networking and can then easily identify civil servants posting anti-Trump rhetoric and will be the next level of low hanging fruit. He will, after all, control all of the US IC and will have open access to everything. The NSA has this capability and I notice they have distanced themselves from the Russia hacking fable. Obviously there are smarter guys over there than at the CIA or FBI. Resistance to provide Trump with requested information at any level will be met with dismissal which is legal under OPM rules which is yet another agency controlled by the President. I think it is going to be fun to watch. I have a lot of ex-coworkers who posted tons of nasty anti-Trump stuff and I warned them what might happen should Trump win but like all of them they cannot believe he won. Now they will face the consequences. It is best when working inside the federal government to remain publicly uncommitted. The winds of power change eventually.

  39. turcopolier says:

    There will be no shortage of Judas Goats. pl

  40. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “The problem is that all those eager beaver GG-15s have been educated and mentored by those same self-serving careerists.”
    I have been supporting one of the big-three intel agencies that past seven years as a contractor. I’ve worked on three programs for three different organizations and I think the agency is incredibly incestuous. The vast majority of new hires are veterans who learned their trade on active duty and fresh faced college grads (mostly on intern programs) who just landed their first real job. As far as I’m concerned they learn all the wrong lessons from their seniors, passing on the dysfunction as standard operating procedure. Some see the dysfunction and jump ship, leaving the less competent behind to run things. The agency higher-ups are totally perplexed about “retention.” Those of us who cut our teeth many decades ago and also have commercial experience just shake our heads and bite our lips. The customer’s always right! Ugh.
    Another problem is their relationship with contractors like me. This agency does not treat contractors as partners, but just the hired help. So my more seasoned colleagues and I end up supporting young, inexperienced govies who are making all the same mistakes we made 25 years ago. But we cannot put our hard earned wisdom to work since we are held at arms length. We’re “just contractors.” So we bite our lips and watch them screw up. It’s their railroad.
    Govies in my cohort see the same problems, but have just hunkered down until they retire in 2-3 years. They have given up.

  41. turcopolier says:

    We don’t do that here. We aim to stay ahead of the news. I am told that the senior civil servants at CIA are expecting a massive purge and re-organization. BTW, which are you? pl

  42. Larry Kart says:

    Colonel — Sorry if I’m beating a dead horse. I take your point about all thoseslavish senior civil servants in the IC, but two questions:
    1) Isn’t the FBI on board with this report?; 2) Wasn’t the FBI, as recently as the time of Comey’s last-minute notification of Congress about the Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, being characterized (here and elsewhere) as an organization that was widely populated, and at suffiiciently high levels, to at least put serious pressure on Comey (if Comey himself wasn’t the leader of the band), with numerous agents and their significant superiors who either were simpatico to Trump or at least close enough to neutral to follow the evidence where it led and had made it clear that if it weren’t followed they’d be whistles blown — as in these guys’ supposed contacts with NYC-area prosecutors? If so, what has happened to those FBI people and that narrative? Did these FBI honest Johns all go way or change their spots?

  43. Kenny says:

    As I recall, it is GM15 not GS15 because at that level it is purely management. Techies reach an effective glass ceiling at about GS12, non-PC techies reach the brown-nose ceiling at about GS11.
    All those computer cracks are externals. Snowden was. They are hauling in $100s/hour not a GS12 salary. And their managers at the large tech consulting companies have to haul down at least 50% more, plus large bonuses.
    If Trump tries to eliminate these contractors and the beltway contracting companies they work for, then he will be forced to hire other contractors/companies or he will be left trying to keep the state running using affirmative action hires who have made a profession of rising to positions of power far after the peter principle has kicked in. Snowden worked for Booze Hamilton and was not a GS12 by any means.
    Besides, a lot of this work has already been offshored and is being performed by hoards of discount programmers barely proficient in English let alone Java in countries like India and the Philippines.

  44. J says:

    I hope POTUS Trump will re-organize/dice-n-slice the CIA into HUMINT COLLECTION ONLY. I have hopes anyway. Like they say hope, springs eternal.

  45. Bandolero says:

    Thank you.
    “They’ll probably also establish that Obama was secretly an Imam of Mombasa for the last twenty years…”
    I love this line.

  46. Vic says:

    Trump never “insulted” or “belittled” the IC as reported in main stream media. Just like during the run up to the elections; the media is taking what he says out of context. This is the real fake news. What he said was he disagreed with their findings.
    The press is ignoring that it is not at all unusual for general officers or senior policy makers to “push back” (disagree) with the intelligence reports that they receive. In specialized areas the intelligence consumer may often have more knowledge of the topic than the PolySci trained analyst. They may also have information from non intelligence sources that influences their opinions. What is most common is that there is insufficient probative information to support the conclusions. Even in the best of times intelligence reports are too often just a best guess (WAG). For being a complete newbie at this I am really impressed that he waved the BS flag back at the IC.
    Trump is/was unconvinced because of the near complete lack of evidence to support the IC’s conclusions. So am I. All we have from the administration is a “trust me”. It makes me want to throw up, but Wikki Leaks has more credibility than the politicians.
    Obama’s security advisors had to be morons to think that they could win in the court of public opinion without compromising sources and methods. They should have anticipated this problem early on. He hired them so he must shoulder the responsibility for the results.

  47. Origin says:

    What will be the source of the new blood? Aren’t most of the young in the IC trained by those who need booting? How can Trump get the thing fixed so it works at a reasonable cost?

  48. FND says:

    In all of the wikileaks, there were no emails from Hillary Clinton. How can that be? How can there be no Clinton emails in the DNC hack and the Podesta email hack? Does anyone have any thoughts on that? One has to wonder if anyone asked the intelligence agencies about that.

  49. ked says:

    ” His choices of very wealthy people into key positions is brilliant as these people are already “rich enough” and not influenced by greed (in relative terms). They are also not “owned” by anyone other than Trump so their loyalties are relatively clear. ”
    In general, I have not found that very wealthy people change their underlying nature according of the level of wealth they attain in life. If they are greedy at 20, that remain so. It is an underlying behavior, a habit of keeping score in competition on their plane… a life process that cannot be switched to another mode (exceptions exist).
    If these super-wealthy holder’s of key positions convert lust for $ into lust for power (which does occur when the idle super-wealthy discover governance later in life), then they will either be crushed by Trump (“you’re fired!”) if they exercise it independently, or they will endeavor to magnify the intensity of Trump’s exercise of personal power – the best way to preserve one’s position in such a setting. Damned right their loyalties will be clear – & they will prove it with their fealty to him… I fear (expect) over their oath to the Constitution.
    We will witness quite a shake-out of the not-personally-loyal, while we observe if Trump conforms to rules or considers his self a powerfully exceptional one.

  50. Eric Newhill says:

    I don’t see your SAA happening. Trump’s methodology is more like this; An opponent says it’s ‘A’. Trump counters at the other end of the spectrum and says it’s ‘Z’. Then he carefully observes the opinion pulse. He finds he can walk his position back to, say, ‘J’ or ‘K’ and that a majority of people find this territory to be not completely unreasonable. Having gained some rapport, sufficient buy-in and compliance with most of his opponents at ‘J’ or ‘K’, Trump then leads them all back to where he needs them to be; perhaps ‘W’. And Trump wins.
    That’s what he is doing his tacit admission that Russia kinda sorta might have done some hacking, but it didn’t impact the outcome of the election. That’s the ‘J’ compromise that gains him the buy-in of most. Once the buy-in is complete, watch him effortlessly walk them out of whole “Russian’s hacked the election” hysteria and watch the entire project die off on its own. Trump won’t be the one to let it go; those holding the pitchforks and torches will put them down seemingly on their own.
    The diehards forever stuck a ‘A’ (“never Trump”, “war with Russia”, “US imperial hegemon”) will reveal themselves in this process and be canned, and the public will be happy for it at that point.

  51. turcopolier says:

    Interesting point. IMO the mature management culture of the IC agencies is so set in a mode of self service that a general house cleaning of management is in order bringing in a lot of people from “outside” or moving people way up from down in the food chain. Some return of hand selected really dedicated management annuitants would be in order (not me). See my old article on IC management corruption “Artists and Bureaucrats.” pl

  52. turcopolier says:

    Nitpicking. You know what I mean. pl

  53. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart
    FBI seniors are no different than the ones in the IC. They almost always follow the leader. That is a survival characteristic. That is how they reached their exalted rank. Comey is evidently confused as to what his position should be and has sent mixed signals to seniors in his agency. pl

  54. J says:

    The Russians including Putin began celebrating Orthodox Christmas, now I wonder if the Clapper/IC bone-heads will try and say that the Russians are hacking/undermining Orthodox Christmas?
    It’s like Phil recently said, that Putin seems to be the only adult in the room when it comes to Obama and his circus. Obama’s attempts to undermine and thwart POTUS Trump have fallen on their faces (thankfully).
    I wonder if I’ll see a formal alliance between U.S. and Russia in my lifetime, since both security runs through the other.
    What are McCain and Grahams beef with Russia anyway? Guess that McCain thinks his kids and grand-kids can survive on a Nuclear war scorched earth.

  55. Valissa says:

    Eric, you have totally nailed Trump’s methodology! I have been thinking of it more as a slide bar but your alphabetical analogy is much better. Clearly many in the MSM are still following the DNC playbook of making Trump look crazy and unstable, and too dumb and too unpredictable to be president.
    Trump is crazy like a fox. His book ‘The Art of the Deal’ lays out his basic tactics which I think reflect his thinking process.
    1. Think big
    2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself
    3. Maximize your options
    4. Know your market
    5. Use your leverage
    6. Enhance your location
    7. Get the word out
    8. Fight back
    9. Deliver the goods
    10. Contain the costs
    11. Have fun
    One of the reasons I like Trump (though I voted for Gary Johnson) is that he knows how to enjoy himself and he’s mischievous. I think that’s the source his “hidden charisma.”
    His WWE persona is that of a likable “heel” and “people’s billionaire” (per the business insider link I gave above. He alternates this tough talking persona with his ability to act like a “normal” businessman and occasionally shows his gentlemanly, charming and gracious side.
    As a student of history I’m glad Trump won because he is so much more fascinating of a character than Hillary. He’s more fun to watch in action. I also like that he’s accomplishment oriented and has the ability to look at the bigger picture as well as pay attention to details. I like it that he is willing to tackle big gov’t problems, though I remain skeptical of how much he can effect such a large organization.
    As TTG says below ” It was a well crafted and effective spin piece. If his tweets stay on message, he’ll breeze through this.”

  56. Eric,
    I like your description of Trump’s negotiating style and think it’s quite accurate. Flip-flopping is now a virtue. Consistency is oh so old fashioned. It fits very well with today’s self-indulgent, self-centered culture of the selfie and tweet. That beach my friend longs for in the Keys is looking better and better.

  57. Valissa says:

    Larry Johnson has a couple of good posts on IC report.
    The Big Lie on Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections
    Let’s start with this fun fact. In early October, Jim Clapper claimed there was consensus in the intelligence community. According to USA Today:
    “On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on behalf of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The USIC is made up of 16 agencies, in addition to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”
    … But today’s report only reflects the consensus of the CIA, the FBI and the NSA … What happened to the other 13 members of the so-called Intelligence Community? For example, what about the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research aka INR? They are a key part of the analytical portion of the Intelligence Community and have actual Russian experts. And why was the Defense Intelligence Agency (aka DIA) excluded? One of the supposed bad Russian actors in this hacking fiasco is the GRU, the Russian military version of the CIA. That is a prime target that DIA analysts follow. They are the experts. But they apparently were not given the chance to concur (or maybe they declined to do so out of embarrassment over the amateur quality of the work).
    … Now take a look at one of the “Judgments” from today’s disgraceful report:
    “We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.”
    Ignore the terrible writing for a moment and focus instead on the curious last sentence. Why did the CIA and FBI have “HIGH” confidence while NSA is only at “MODERATE?” The answer is simple–there is no concrete evidence backing this up. It is nothing more than subjective judgment.
    The heads of the CIA and FBI – the ones who have such ‘high confidence’ are also proven professional liars, having publicly lied to Congress… which is well documented in the MSM.
    Our Intelligence Community is Corrupted–UPDATE

  58. All,
    That new intelligence report offers no evidence whatsoever. In the first paragraphs, it specifically states that there is no evidence in the report for reasons of protecting sources and methods. It’s exactly what I expected. The evidence remains in the classified version. Come to think of it, I have seen no evidence of the OPM hack. Perhaps that never took place, either. I do wonder why so many of you find the idea of Russia hacking the DNC and others and releasing damaging leaks in an effort to stop or at least weaken a Clinton Presidency to be so inconceivable. Putin would have been negligent if he did not attempt to influence our election. That’s statecraft. It’s certainly not an act of war.
    I found Trump’s reaction to yesterday’s IC briefing to be comforting. No histrionics. No name calling. A very smooth and measured response. He also is clearly following Colonel Lang’s observation that the IC are consultants. He will not be corralled into preferred policy decisions by these IC consultants. He will continue to push for a good relationship with Russia. He said it well this morning in a tweet, of course.
    “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad!”

  59. Croesus says:

    Thanks for the insights.
    My relationship to these matters is at one remove — relations work in those situations and all I can do is grimace as I perceive the toll their work in such situations takes on their identity and sense of self.
    I’m aware, also, that some of these organizations seduce young people with their “laid back culture.” NSC contractors in very close relationship and proximity to where crucial decisions are made affecting US security and foreign policy at a very high level, enter their work place through a space reminiscent of a preschool, with skate boards, bean-bag toss, bicycles, pool tables and other toys in the reception area.
    I struggle to figure out what message is sent by reception room-playgrounds: — “Don’t bother growing up; continue to do what you’re told and don’t ask questions: we will take care of you and keep you entertained as long as you play by our rules. We will pat you on the head every time you provide, for our benefit, an advantage, based on the skills you have acquired, at great effort and expense. At the end of the day we’ll return you to your elders ??”

  60. Stu Wood says:

    Very good point.

  61. Kenny says:

    Nitpicking perhaps, but there is a difference. Contracts and contractors are easier for the executive to eliminate than GS employees. There is no congressional veto to terminating a contract.
    These contractors are similar to Obama’s executive decrees: they are far easier to roll back than making RIF’s and conducting budget fights. They also are similar to Obama’s loading up the Treasury with low rate but risky short term debt. Sure, its easy to pimp your parties re-election, but it shows a total lack of long term planning.

  62. Jack says:

    This hacking brouhaha IMO is gonna further undermine the credibility of the Borg among many in the public. This can be seen in the tweet poll of John Harwood at CNBC asking folks “Who do you belive America? ” WikiLeaks or US Intel officials. Over 80% of the 80,000 votes was for WikiLeaks. Looking at the best rated comments on the hacking stories shows a deep cynicism among the people who comment on these stories. The intel agencies by taking such an open and public stance in an environment of deep skepticism are further cementing their lack of credibility.
    Only the partisan Democrats, neocons, the political establishment of both parties, the MSM and the status quo government apparatchiks are flogging the Russians must be taught a lesson for this evil hacking meme. A reasonable percentage of the American public are not buying this meme and really driving this loser group mad with frustration at their inability to influence the public despite their the fear mongering hysteria.
    Those skeptical of the meme note that no one is disputing the veracity of the disclosed emails. Those pushing the meme are therefore claiming that the truth should be obfuscated. And we should be distracted from the truth by who was responsible for disclosing the truth. A good portion of the public are saying it is less important who obtained the truth than the truth itself. They also recognize that we are no innocent party when it comes to cyber warfare and interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Should the Germans be imposing sanctions and expelling our intel agents for hacking Merkel’s phone? What this meme does is to further reinforce that we are well into Soviet territory where more & more of our fellow citizens view the “official news” as Pravda.

  63. Freudenschade says:

    Which what am i? Not sure i understand your question.
    So let’s talk about this issue then. Hacking isn’t noteworthy; it’s been going on for quite some time and has become more important as more systems have moved online. And like with Olympic Greco roman wrestling, we aren’t very good at it.
    Disinformation, on the other hand, is a big deal. Thanks to social media, Russia has gone from laughable to potent. They can make opinion in th US and other western democracies. The fruits of hacking are now fed into disinformation machine to great effect. We ignore Russia’s ability to influence US public opinion at our own risk.

  64. BraveNewWorld says:

    If the IC is expecting Trump to take the broom to the IC shouldn’t we expect a deluge of leaks to the media sooner rather than later? Trump wields a lot of money and plays on the international field. I would have to think that the IC had him on their radar long before he decided to run for office.

  65. Old Microbiologist says:

    Snowden was pulling down $250k a year which is way over a GS-15 salary which is capped at a freshman Congressman’s salary (last I looked it was $175k).
    The contracting morass also needs addressing and is far out of control it is mind boggling.

  66. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    Trump might adopt Obama’s habit of parroting some of the enemy’s talking points while taking zero action.

  67. jerseycityjoan says:

    Thanks so much for this comment. I think Mr. Schmidt is really on to something.
    I myself have really become aware since the Great Recession — and my own realization of how many jobs have been destroyed by technology and how many more will be — that the economic profession has real problems.
    They seem unable to deal with the fact that while “America” is doing well that “Americans” are not; they seem mindlessly devoted to absolutist “free trade” ideals; they are unable to compute that we cannot begin to make up the number of good jobs lost with new ones.
    I suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for letting me know that someone has studied this subject and written a great book about it.
    It’s scary to think that at time the experts “know” less than we do, because they are not considering new evidence that goes against their old ideas.

  68. turcopolier says:

    “Hacking” as it is now called is SIGINT collection. This is the main statutory duty of the National Security Agency and the subordinate armed services cryptologic commands. This has been the case since the National Security Act of 1947. NSA is the largest national IC agency because of the long standing vastness of this mission. There is nothing new about this except as it is projected into the minds of the uninformed. Do you not know that US SIGINT broke the Japanese naval and diplomatic cipher systems during WW2? We are actually VERY good at SIGINT collection. As for using intelligence to influence other peoples’ election that has been a CIA specialty since WW2. You answered my question. You are a Democrat. pl

  69. Jack says:

    Is disclosing the truth now considered “disinformation”?
    The Democrats, the MSM, and the political and bureaucratic establishment are really upset their duplicity was disclosed and not many are buying their hysteria on the Russians.

  70. Peter in Toronto says:

    That would support what I have been observing and alleging personally: that IS was being “directed” by the US, against the regional opponents, like the Assad government and the Iraqi Shiites.

  71. J says:

    Bremerhaven received on Friday the transport ship Resolve and began to offload equipment for transfer by road and rail to Poland, and NATO’s Eastern Europe AOR along Russia’s borders. Two more transport ships Freedom and Endurance are inbound and due to arrive on Sunday. Equipment offload package when said and done 87 Abrams 1A1s, 20 Paladins, 136 Bradley’s. Reuters says that approximately 4000 troops will arrive and be spread through Poland, Baltic states, Bulgaria and Romania where they’ll remain on rotation. NATO Poland/U.S. drills will take place later this month. 10th Airborne brigade with 50 Black-hawks, 10 CH-47 Chinooks and 1800 personnel along with a separate Aviation battalion comprised of 400 troops, 24 Apaches are also scheduled for deployment throughout Eastern Europe. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will host German/Canadian/British troops each nation providing up 1000 troops each.
    This past November the Pentagon shipped more than 600 containers of ammo.
    Moscow’s response has been to station their most modern equipment along the western borders including the enclaves region of Kaliningrad.
    It appears that because Trump was elected and not Hillary, Obama and OSD Carter sped up the scheduled deployments time tables.
    It is hoped IMO that when POTUS Trump and incoming OSD Mad Dog are in position, they will reverse this Obama/Carter edging towards the precipice of no return.
    Our kids deserve a break from these incessant and unnecessary wars, don’t you think?

  72. aleksandar says:

    I wonder why GRU is said to be the main culprit ?
    This is SVR job, not GRU.

  73. Jay says:

    Simple.. “TV Presence”. People can identify with the GRU the SVR is as foreign as Pluto.

  74. Herb says:

    And by publicly kneecapping our entire Intel Comm, Trump is also discrediting them with foreign governments, current assets and potential future assets. If you were a Russian dissident now, why would you EVER cooperate with CIA?

  75. aleksandar,
    The GRU and the FSB are larger and much broader in scope than the SVR. The GRU also has a SIGINT Directorate. The FSB inherited most of the old FAPSI and their SIGINT mission. Just guessing, but I would think the FSB would be the lead agency in working with Russian patriotic hackers. Or this could be viewed as a military informational/psychological warfare mission which would be a GRU mission rather than a SVR mission. That’s just my guess. I’ve been out of the loop for a number of years now.

  76. robt willmann says:

    The idea of removing higher paid federal employees was something brought out back in 1996 by Morry Taylor, who ran in the Republican primary for president. He started Titan Wheel International by getting a closed factory and built it up. He was not a friend of unions, but he was not an enemy of workers. I thought he was the most interesting candidate that year, which was when Bill Clinton was running for re-election, and Bob Dole ended up as the Republican nominee. The awful Phil Gramm, former U.S. Senator from Texas, was also in the Republican primary. A small, obnoxious, weasely man, Gramm was one of the sponsors of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law that repealed the essence of the Glass-Steagall Act, and Bill Clinton signed it in 1999. It produced a lot of the financial and banking problems that emerged in 2008. Gramm was rewarded for his treachery with an executive position in 2002 with the Swiss bank UBS.
    But Morry Taylor’s idea was to remove a third of the almost 3 million federal employees, but only those at the top of the pay scale, not the ones at the bottom. In his 13-minute speech at a primary event in New Hampshire on 19 January 1996, he lays out a few of his ideas. He said that in the bankrupt companies he acquired, he never laid off an hourly worker. When he talks about “starting at the top”, he means removing the highly paid people in failing companies, not the regular workers. He claimed that the federal budget could have been balanced at that time just by cutting the federal payroll by one-third, of the higher paid workers. He also points out that the consolidated financial statement of the federal government was a joke–
    Donald Trump is a self-styled, shameless bragger about himself, but really has not been given a nickname of respect by others. However, the slippery, hard-nosed operators on Wall Street called Morry Taylor “The Grizz”, because, as he relates in his speech, they said that Taylor, “like the Grizzly bear, wears no man’s collar”.
    As can be seen, Taylor is a focused businessman, and did not have a style at that time that was politically attractive. Yet, his candidacy and speech were 20 years ago, and at that time he spoke of the need to create good jobs in the U.S. that paid $10 to $20 dollars an hour. He was right.

  77. DH says:

    I get a kick out of this wording:
    “…but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.”

  78. FourthAndLong says:

    I still can’t figure out what or who soon to be ex-President Hopey Change is on the hook for or to that he is pursuing this bone headed Russians hacked the election delusion.
    Who or what could have our slim slick well dressed oh so cerebral isn’t he President Hopey Change in this diabolical vice grip? Can someone have dirt on President Hopey Change himself ??
    Did he actually order poor lowly PFC Bradley Manning to be castrated after confining for over a year with no clothes ? And have a kindly torturer explain how his family and friends are to be fed before his eyes to starving wild animals if he didn’t go along with the sex change story? I mean, Generals as we know, in the habit of carrying out their daily routines and duties almost without fail snap to attention and obey whenever a lowly PFC demands exceedingly elective and expensive medical procedures such as a sex change. And if the lowly PFC is a traitor ? Then it is a slam dunk guarantee, in doubletime.
    Maybe that’s what evil soulless ex-KGB thug President Vlad Putin of evil Rooskie Town knows and has threatened to reveal in our next episode ?
    But wait, if so, then why oh why would way too smart and clever to be deceived President Hopey Change order up his super duper investigate the evil Rooskies cut and past job from 2012 NSC boilerplate files, grip it tightly in his hand while storming down the home stretch, rubber stamp it, and lateral left to Clapper on hup two? See, that is eliminated by simple deduction.
    I mean, did the GRU uncover the goods, that his LGBT agenda was initially his LGBTS&M agenda, and only the pleading of Vice President Joe Biden convinced him to drop the S&M as guaranteed political suicide ? Maybe. I can’t figure out another reasonable explanation despite deep meditation. Nor can anyone else I’ve spoken to.
    Stay tuned for updates to the mysterious and ongoing case of soon to be ex-President Hopey Change.

  79. Freudenschade says:

    the same gameplan is being run against the conservative government of Angela Merkel. Oh noes! Your head must be exploding, as neither Democrats nor Republicans are involved.

  80. Freudenschade says:

    Correction. I am a former Republican who voted for Sanders and voted against Trump. My grandfather was involved on the German side of SIGINT during WWII (there’s even a photo of him standing next to Hitler in Berchtesgaden, so when I say Trump makes me uncomfortable, it’s from more than dry histories).
    The SIGINT successes you cite are from the glory days. I’m afraid the Russians have passed us by in hacking (as opposed to code breaking and signal collection) and in disinformation.

  81. Eric Newhill says:

    Regular men close the deal in the middle ground compromise position. Trump’s magic is that he meets you there, but then leads you back to his original territory to make the deal. So he flip flops in order to ultimately get what he always wanted.
    What is always getting missed is that Trump has his followers (at least half of the country) feeling like they are, for once, represented and directly engaged in the governing of our/their country. That’s a lot of power. These people don’t want war with Russia. In fact, they like Putin’s style. Russian women are hot. Russian men are tough. They feel they have a lot more in common with the Russians than they do with people that Democrats like, for example Muslims and assorted third worlders.
    And what are Democrats forced to support here? War with Russia? The CIA? which is perceived by the Democrat people to screw with all those third world countries that they love and that bungles regime changes, lied us into a war in Iraq and that may have organized the assassination of Kennedy. the NSA? which spies on Americans and violates civil liberties. The Democrats – the actual people, not the politicians – know they are looking like huge hypocrites and the cognitive dissonance feels very bad to them. It can’t be sustained. So they will fold and drop it.
    So who is the flip flopper at the end of the day?

  82. bks says:

    If Clinton had won, and then the IC had issued a report saying that Russia had helped her to victory, the GOP congress would have been impeached, tried, and given her the heave-ho before the sun had set on her inauguration day.

  83. turcopolier says:

    “The SIGINT successes you cite are from the glory days. I’m afraid the Russians have passed us by in hacking (as opposed to code breaking and signal collection) and in disinformation” Do you have any factual basis for these statements or are you just fantasizing? have you ever had or have you now access to US SIGINT products? If the answer is yes than in what capacity did you have thius access? Be careful there are many here who will spot BS in a heartbeat. pl

  84. turcopolier says:

    What is claimed in the Clapper Report is that WikiLeaks revealed genuine e-mail traffic to the public. Is that what you fear will happen in Germany? pl

  85. J says:

    My New Year’s wish would put you work, in a serious way.
    My New Years wish would be for our incoming POTUS Trump to completely disassemble the CIA, where ‘current’ CIA is no more, Nada, zip, completely gone. Then see POTUS Trump assign Flynn who would then seek your greatly needed assistance in putting together a NEW Clandestine Services, one that really serves the nation, an intelligent intelligence. Flynn and yourself assigning one mission and one mission only to the New Clandestine Services — HUMINT COLLECTION ONLY.
    THEN……Flynn and yourself finding and assigning and delegating the remaining daunting tasks (TTG are you listening, you’d be needed to as well as others) of figuring out what is in the current CIA’s treasure chest and weeding out and throwing out what is no longer applicable, and going through with a fine tooth comb, repeat fine tooth comb all the different classified mirrors that the current CIA has amassed for themselves, what really needs to be kept (along with assigning who will be running it, and held accountable for it), and what mirrors that are useless and needs to be relegated to the dust bin and their complete de-funding.
    A partner in all this house cleaning would be an IG that would be read in on everything, nothing withheld from their IG purview.
    This is just for starters of my New Year’s wishes. Moving mountains would be next…….
    What do you think of my New Year’s wish?

  86. robt willmann says:

    I forgot to note that Morry Taylor’s speech at the political event starts at about 33 minutes into the video.

  87. Atypical says:

    I think you should read Jane Mayer’s piece in the New Yorker re Anthony Schwartz who wrote Trump’s book, Art… Your impression of Trump is completely misguided.
    There are other readily available articles by those who know him that are not complimentary at all. His choices for cabinet positions speak grotesque volumes.
    My guess is that he will be, for a brief time, like the stopped clock cliche…right twice but otherwise…
    Incidentally, I did not support or vote for ANY of the recent four candidates.

  88. Freudenschade,
    When I say that people who compare Trump to Hitler make me – not so much uncomfortable, as frankly contemptuous of their utter historical ignorance – it is indeed from a lot more than dry histories.
    If you want a ‘refesher course’ on recent scholarship on the régime your grandfather served, I can recommend the collection of reviews and articles in the 2015 anthology by the Cambridge (UK) historian R.J. Evans, entitled ‘The Third Reich in History and Memory.’
    As it happens, my late father was also in SIGINT in the war – at Bletchley Park. He was liaison officer at the Admiralty, the night the ‘Bismarck’ was sunk.
    Among the first to chart out the path that he – and others of his generation – came to follow through the dilemmas of the ‘Thirties was actually an American, the Chicago Daily News correspondent Edgar Ansel Mowrer, born in Bloomington, Illinois.
    His polemic ‘Germany Puts the Clock Back’, first published on the on the last day of 1932, a month before Hitler came to power, was updated in successive editions through the ‘Thirties. In November 1937, it was published as the first ‘Penguin Special’ – Penguin being the popular British paperback house of the time – which helped Mowrer’s reading of events gain traction here.
    (Some of us over here still honour Mowrer. A useful essay by a British author, together with relevant quotations from his writings, at .)
    What Mowrer had was first-hand, on-the-ground, knowledge.
    In addition to interviewing Hitler, Mowrer had poured a lot of whisky down the throats of Nazi leaders. As a result, against those who made the – plausible – argument that the meanderings of an obscure agitator were unlikely to have much relevance to what Hitler would do in office, he insisted that the agendas set out in ‘Mein Kampf’ were those the ‘Führer’ would attempt to realise, if nobody tried seriously to stop him.
    Underlying ‘Mein Kampf’ was a – demented – reading of the First World War.
    Out of the ‘stab-in-the-back’ myth, among other things, came the notion that the ‘Aryan’ race would have to eliminate their supposed arch-enemy, the Jews.
    They would also, in Hitler’s view, need to conquer an invulnerable ‘Lebensraum’, which would involve eliminating between thirty and forty-five million Slavs, in order to be able to contend in the struggle with the United States for ‘world domination.’ (The United States was seen by Hitler, increasingly, as the epicentre of the global Jewish conspiracy.)
    While completely contemptuous of communism, Mowrer drew the – rather obvious – conclusion that a strategy of ‘containment’ needed to involve the Soviet Union; an alliance with weak Eastern European states would not be adequate. This did not involve either liking the Stalinist régime, or being complacent about its savagery – simply a rational choice of the ‘least worst’ among unattractive options.
    A common view among the supporters of ‘appeasement’ was that people like Mowrer – and my father – were actually ‘useful idiots’ of a cunning Soviet strategy. Its supposed objective was to exploit the naivety of the supporters of ‘collective security’ and the ‘Popular Front’ to inveigle France and Britain into confronting German ‘revisionist’ demands over the Sudetenland.
    From the resulting war, it was anticipated, the Soviets would stand aside, leaving Europe to destroy itself in fratricidal conflict. It was the fact that Chamberlain clung to this belief, even after Hitler’s occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, that led first to the unilateral guarantee to Poland, and then to the farcical Anglo-French mission to Moscow in August of that year.
    Whether a different approach could have averted the Nazi-Soviet Pact is an unanswerable question, but the approach Chamberlain adopted certainly destroyed any chance of so doing.
    There is a graphic visual representation of the interpretation of Soviet policy, and the ‘Popular Front’, common among the ‘appeasers’, in a 1936 French cartoon entitled ‘Ce sont les soviets qui tirent les ficelles du Front populaire.’ The imagery in a ‘Houston Chronicle’ cartoon denouncing Trump in 2016 – as of other recent cartoons in the same vein – is essentially the same.
    (See: )
    As this imagery of Putin as the demonic mastermind manipulating credible Westerners appears to have become persuasive among Western ‘élites’, perhaps rather than Trump as Hitler, we might see Hillary Clinton as Neville Chamberlain?
    Be that as it may, when people of my views are called ‘useful idiots’ of Putin, or indeed ‘paid Putin trolls’, as ‘Financial Times’ columnists who have been paid large salaries for getting everything wrong like to insinuate, I do take pride in the idea that the role of being a Russian dupe is hereditary.

  89. Jack says:

    It seems it is you that is suffering massive cognitive dissonance as you become a pretzel attempting to claim that exposing the truth is “disinformation”.
    I would have thought as a Sanders supporter you would have been pleased to learn that the Hillarybots rigged the primary, unless of course you are faking it.
    As far as hacking Merkel is concerned we know that the US federal government hacked her phone. That’s A-Ok, right? But the big bad Rooskies, that’s a big no-no.

  90. ISL says:

    As far as I can tell, Merkel has as good a grasp on the German public and Hillary had on the US.
    Tyler would say it better than I, but RT calls it terrorism when Syrian/ME immigrants kill Germans, the German media and Merkel do not. I suppose you argue that is mis-information – for the public to believe their lying eyes……
    Why did Merkel set out the welcome sign? Altruism? Hah! Nations are not altruistic, they have interests. So what was the German interest?
    Personally, I think its to bring German labor costs in line with Italy and Spain – oversupply the labor market with uber-cheap illegals.
    Was RT reporting on the Cologne grope-ings mis-information? German TV refused to report on it for weeks.
    My point – when a govt acts against its citizen’s interest but in the interests of the 0.001%, then accurate reporting is a threat and anyone who does so is labeled a stooge of the (insert name of villain of the month here). The world is changed, the world wide web has removed the truth gatekeepers. May they (NOT) rest in peace.

  91. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The racialist doctrines of Hitler were an adaptation of common racist ideas prevalent in Europe, including UK – going back to Renan in France and perhaps even earlier.
    I read that the book by the English writer – Chamberlain – “The Foundations of 19th Century” greatly influenced Germans in the 1920s.

  92. Eric,
    You still describe the methods of a con man and bullshit artist. I have always said Trump is a consummate master of these methods and, yes, it gets him what he always wanted. I have no respect for those methods and no respect for Trump for being a master of those methods. But as for his FP goals of a cooperative relationship with Russia, no more nation building or R2P crap and really crushing the jihadis, I wish him success. If he has to con and bullshit his way to achieve these goals, so be it.
    This morning, I saw McConnell assuring the world that Trump has surrounded himself with people who know that Russians are not our friends and are a big problem. McConnell thinks Trump’s hopes of getting long with the Russians will be dashed pretty quickly. The Republican Congress is the biggest threat to Trump’s FP objectives. His biggest allies will be the Sanders-Gabbard archipelago of the now neutered Democratic wing of Congress. And, as you said, a vast segment of the American people will also support these FP objectives. I think it’s a vast majority of the population that supports this.

  93. Freudenschade says:

    Of course one can compare Trump to Hitler. You just did it yourself. As you just demonstrated, it is the conclusions of that comparison that are key. We both agree that Trump is not Hitler. If I had to compare him to a figure from the Weimar Republic, it would be Carl Ladendorff, and that makes me uncomfortable.

  94. Freudenschade says:

    Beyond declassified documents and what was available in the Snowden dump (which didn’t include SIGINT product), no, i don’t have access to US SIGINT products.

  95. Willybilly says:

    J is spot on, I second the motion….

  96. JohnH says:

    Agreed that the president is the boss…or should be at least. IMO this wasn’t all that clear under Obama.
    I still remember the video taken of the President at Dover AFB honoring CIA agents killed in Afghanistan. Instead of presiding over the ceremony and marched in it, not at all in charge.
    A big part of the issue with Trump is that it will be clear that he is the one in charge…perhaps and impeachable offense…or worse.

  97. turcopolier says:

    I had massive access for many years and I assure you there is nothing feeble about US SIGINT. pl

  98. Eric Newhill says:

    I take your point, but, like you, am ok with it *if* it enables him to implement the FP objectives and get the US economy cooking.
    It certainly isn’t how I personally do business; nor would I want to do business with Trump because of that methodology.
    Yet, who in Washington isn’t some kind of con artist? Very few. Trump is just better/more effective, so far, than most of them.

  99. Freudenschade says:

    SIGINT in general, yes. But are you claiming that the “hacking” portion of that is as muscular these days as the public and private efforts of the Chinese and the Russians?
    The various congressional reports I’ve read dating back to 2002 seem to agree that we are behind in our “cyber warfare” capabilities (admittedly a broader term than SIGINT). Given that the US and the European and Asian members of the G20 have a bigger attack surface, we should arguably be ahead rather than behind.
    This certainly squares with my professional experience of who is the ommercial hacking superpower.

  100. turcopolier says:

    eric newhill
    Guess what? George Marshall doesn’t live here any more. It is all the Art of the Deal, All of it. pl

  101. turcopolier says:

    “But are you claiming that the “hacking” portion of that is as muscular these days as the public and private efforts of the Chinese and the Russians?” You at making a false distinction. Hacking the internet is not different than any other kind of SIGINT. Unclassified congressional reports are worthless. They are just PR BS. When in government I used to influence what was in them all the time. pl

  102. In a most informative comment you write “They would also, in Hitler’s view, need to conquer an invulnerable ‘Lebensraum’, which would involve eliminating between thirty and forty-five million Slavs, in order to be able to contend in the struggle with the United States for ‘world domination.’”
    It’s off the main point but on that subject, Lebensraum, could you add to your exposition above?
    In Melita Maschmann’s “Fazit” – a book written from the point of view of a convinced Nazi though at the time of writing her book Maschmann had rejected Nazism – the references are to “Blutende Grenzen”. The emphasis in her book was therefore not on Lebensraum. It was about rectifying German borders. Even in recent times the attack on Poland is sometimes portrayed, not as the start of a strategy of conquest of Slavic lands, but more as correcting Polish land-grabbing. (
    I came across a German atlas published quite some time after the war in which the formerly German part of Poland is still stubbornly referred to as “Polish administered area”, not “Poland”, and I suppose it wasn’t until the Oder-Neisse line was formally conceded in the 90’s that the subject was closed, though even now not for some expellees or their descendants. All this seems to show that for most, at the time and later, conquering Lebensraum was not the burning issue. The issue was getting the frontier put back to where it had been. Of course the frontier was only there as a result of earlier German conquest, but for the Germans of the 20’s and 30’s that fact was irrelevant. The point for them was that as they saw it the border was in the wrong place.
    So did the references to Lebensraum in Mein Kampf, and in later Nazi propaganda, simply go over the head of the German people? Did they nod assent to it but keep their enthusiasm, as Melita Maschmann did, for the subject really closer to their hearts – recovery of former German territory?

  103. Edward Amame says:

    Edward Snowden and former NSA guy Bill Binney say that the NSA knows who the sender/receiver of any hacked emails are thanks to its mass collecting of American peoples’data. Binney thinks that the emails weren’t hacked, they were leaked by an insider at the NSA. Either way, Russian hack or NSA leak, this ought to be something congress in investigating. In some ways, the suggestion that someone (or more than one person) in the IC tried (successfully) to influence an election disturbs me even more.

  104. ISL says:

    The usual reason. Money.

  105. Jack says:

    “Influence an election” by disclosing the truth “disturbs” you. Man! You guys sure live in an alternate universe. You’ll be thrilled in the world of fake.

  106. The Porkchop Express says:

    Russian “hacking”/conducting IO and the borgists (both Rs & Ds) throwing snotty tantrums are not mutually exclusive.
    The Russians could have done everything they’re being accused of and more, but it still doesn’t change the fact that a lot of vengeful people (read: those in power) were embarrassed or embarrassed themselves in a spectacularly public way–to include borgist hacks and mendacious IC bureaucrats.
    Ideally, there should be two parallel tracks of discussion then: 1) Russian hacking and influence on the election (but as you say, it is way too early–particularly considering the dismal evidence presented thus far) 2) Whether hacked or not, much of the emails, information, and behaviors provided/exhibited by Wiki, the DNC, et. al. showed almost criminal, mendacious, absurdist, and child-like behaviors on the part of a good deal of our most “venerated” institutions.
    Both are important issues. Neither one nor the other should get a pass. There just happens to be more clarity on the latter than the former.

  107. Freudenschade says:

    Hacking is cheaper than other forms of SIGINT. It’s the digital equivalent of asymmetric warfare.

  108. Edward Amame says:

    Half the truth, not the whole truth. Only hacked DNC emails were leaked. No RNC emails. That would suggest to me that the Russians were trying to tip the scales towards Trump. You’re OK with it because it produced the result you approve of.

  109. J.S. says:

    Why isn’t Russia evil? What I’m seeing from Trump is a combination of Venezuelan Chavez-style populism and Russian Putin-style personal politics, micromanagement and putting his rich buddies in power. You say nominating a bunch of ultra-rich folks is the solution to corruption? Heck, Hillary could’ve and would’ve done that. Wouldn’t have solved corruption in the least. Richest folks got there by never having enough money. You think they’re done accumulating it now that they’re in power? Hah! That’s naive as heck.

Comments are closed.