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Reading Others’ Mail…or Going Blind on the Battlefield

October 29th, 2013 - 7:32 pm

ML:  Let’s come back to the logic of the president’s claim of ignorance.  Do you find it credible?

JJA:  It all depends.

ML:  Huh?  Depends on what?

JJA:  Depends on which statement you believe is a lie.  On the one hand he claims to micromanage the drone program.  On the other hand, he claims ignorance of the intercepts.  It seems impossible for both claims to be true.  So we’re told that he chooses targets for assassination by drones, but not snooping targets.

His personal involvement in choosing drone victims was spelled out in some detail by the New York Times:

Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.

Seems pretty explicit, doesn’t it?  But we’re also told, according to the White House, that the snooping decisions, which after all are of far less consequence, are made by underlings. Here’s the exact language, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens:

President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.

They added that the president was briefed on and approved of broader intelligence-collection “priorities,” but that those below him make decisions about specific targets.”

ML:  It’s an odd picture.

JJA:  Very.

ML:  “Between you and me, I never believed the story about his choosing the victims of drone attacks.  Too much work.  Plus, it would incur enormous personal liability (might get him dragged in front of the International Criminal Court on a war crimes charge) and of course the risk of a crazed avenger.  So if I had to bet, I’d bet he was fibbing on that story.  Ok, let’s move on a bit.  In all the excitement,  there’s a tendency to forget what started the intercept scandal.

JJA:  Snowden is the proximate cause of the current pseudo-frenzy.

ML:  I can imagine what you think about Snowden…

JJA:  Anyone with a working brain would have to take seriously the possibility that Snowden is a fully recruited enemy agent.

ML:  Well that’s certainly carefully stated, isn’t it?

JJA:  Counterintelligence isn’t for people who like to arrive at quick conclusions.  So you start with plausible hypotheses and test them, knowing that you’ll often fail to prove any one of them.

ML:  Agreed.  Although maybe somewhere in that pile of big data there’s real evidence.

JJA:  Maybe.  That would be real poetic justice.  In any case, there’s a decent prima facie case that he was recruited by the Russians and worked for them.  I’m told that he lived in the Russian consulate in Hong Kong.  Is that true?  If it is, that would support the hypothesis.

ML:  On the other hand, he might be an idealist, right?  Shocked and outraged at all the snooping.

JJA:  Yes, it’s possible.  But whatever his motives, he’s done enormous damage to the United States.  Notice the way the Brits have been talking about it:  the new head of MI5 said that Snowden’s leaks have “caused enormous damage” and enabled terrorists to attack the UK “at will.”  That’s strong language.

ML:  And the former acting director of CIA calls the Snowden Affair “the damage here was extensive — the most damage that I have ever seen from a disclosure….In my mind, this guy is not a hero. He has violated the law….”  That’s also pretty strong stuff.

JJA:  Indeed.  But the press coverage is only just beginning to come to grips with the gravity of it all.  We were penetrated, a vast quantity of terribly important information was delivered to our enemies, and we’re in a real war, deprived of what has been our most potent weapon.  And now…

oops!  static, little flashes of light from the ouija board…

JJA:  Idiots want to shut down even more…

And he was gone.  I never had a chance to ask him about his own unhappy experience, back when he was opening letters — letters! — to U.S. antiwar activists from foreign Communists.  It was exposed in that era’s precursor of the Snowden operation, and was one of the big stories that led to his own purge from CIA.

All in all, I’d say he showed remarkable self-discipline.  Like good spooks are supposed to…

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Top Rated Comments   
Firing non-cooperative flag officers allows the promotion of women/ gay/ anti US flag officers. Notice that the preponderance of those fired were war fighters rather than desk jockeys.
Just sayin'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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Literary form does make a difference. Who would think a ouija board interview would allow you to shed some light on the subtler aspects of l'affaire Snowdon.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Obama does pick out terrorists to attack by drones it's because he wants to save those he knows by name. Any double agent would do the same.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In light of what Obama and his cohorts are doing to our military I can't understand why there aren't 5 million people standing at the WH gates and at federal courthouses everywhere in this nation demanding this fraud be thrown from office. And take the trash out with him - like Jarrett etc.

I've had about all I can take from this lying SOB!!!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Stimson must have known that the State Department's American Black Chamber code breakers were breaking diplomatic codes as they did so at the 1922 Naval Conference. Stimson led the US delegation to the 1930-1931 US Naval Conference. Also, as Secretary of State and choosing whether to defund the Black Chamber, which had been breaking Japanese diplomatic codes, he used the ethical stand about not reading mail to pull State Department funding in 1929. The US Army was too impoverished to increase their share of funding so the Chamber was fired and its files destroyed, except for fragments saved by individuals who were hired by the Army.

The US Navy code breakers had to be pulled from reading Japanese military codes in 1941 to reading the different Japanese diplomatic codes. Stimson's 1929 action caused the White House to get the Navy off of Japanese military traffic as there were no other assets. The Black Chamber had been gone since 1929. The result was that that Pearl Harbor Attack was changed from the biggest ambush in history to what it was in fact. This only be came clear in 1942 when the Navy code breakers went over the set-aside 1941 traffic and found chapter and verse on the attack instead of the non-specific vagueness in the diplomatic traffic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The US Navy code breakers had to be pulled from reading Japanese military codes in 1941 to reading the different Japanese diplomatic codes."

This is NOT true!

The diplomatic (Purple, a "machine" code, By the way)) code was broken first, in 1940, because that was being intercepted much more frequently prior to 1941, and it is always easier to break a code with heavy traffic.

The Navy had been working on the Japanese Naval code (JN) for years, but without much success because of few intercepts. But in 1941, the traffic increased exponentially, and the code (JN25) was partially broken a few months after Pearl Harbor. There were, in fact, some Japanese military codes that were never broken because they weren't used very much by the Japanese.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sadly, dangerously sadly, this key fact is ignored all over Washington's Establishment......".... and we’re in a real war, ...."

Anyone who remembers the total mobilization here in America during the fight against our Japanese and German enemies simply has to shake his head over the current situation.

Today, our Muslim enemy repeatedly attacks us wherever possible and declares War against us, and we remain oblivious in our politically correct manner.

That's sick.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They murder you for more than three decades...but today, the Islamists and Communists in the same trench, both are under the auspices of Mr. Obama's regime. alas!
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Firing non-cooperative flag officers allows the promotion of women/ gay/ anti US flag officers. Notice that the preponderance of those fired were war fighters rather than desk jockeys.
Just sayin'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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