Amazing what national secrets rogue members of the intelligence community will leak to the Leftist media when it suits their anti-Trump purposes:
President Donald Trump’s insistence on holding a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin hobbled U.S. intelligence agencies that would usually get an intimate look at such a sit-down, but American spies still have extraordinary capabilities to piece together what was discussed. That’s in large part due to the existence of a top-secret U.S. collection service that specializes in tapping adversaries’ communications on the fly, including those of Putin’s entourage at last week’s summit in Helsinki.
Privately, sources familiar with U.S. intelligence capabilities expressed confidence that the so-called Special Collection Service scooped up not only Putin’s readout of the two-hour meeting, but what the Kremlin’s top spymasters really think about it — and how they’re spinning it to their foreign counterparts. That means the National Security Agency and CIA are at less of a strategic disadvantage than U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged publicly. But because they likely are missing the one critical piece of intelligence they need the most — a word-by-word account of what Trump and Putin said during the meeting — those officials appear to be flying somewhat blind when it comes to fulfilling their most important mission of helping U.S. policymakers figure out what comes next.
Intelligence officers are especially hamstrung because even if they are able to get a full account of the meeting, they would be extremely limited in how they could use it without risking Trump's wrath. Given his intention to have the meeting remain between him and Putin, he could even claim that any collection done without his permission is therefore illegal.
Hmmm... sounds very much like a rationale for spying on the commander-in-chief and duly elected president of the United States. Which, given the entire "Russian collusion" hoax, makes perfect sense, since the IC has already manifestly done that before.
U.S. intelligence officials made clear their concerns about Trump going it alone with Putin long before the specifics of the Helsinki meeting were finalized. But those concerns went through the roof as those officials witnessed Trump’s erratic behavior during the chaotic news conference immediately following it.
For his part, Trump publicly sided with Putin over his own security agencies regarding Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election, and said both countries were to blame, while later claiming that he delivered tough talk during their private session. Putin suggested that Trump had made significant concessions on several key security issues, including Syria.
So now, members and former members of the IC are publicly siding with... themselves... over the man they ultimately report to. This Politico story is how memes get reinforced, the object being to make you think that Trump is a traitor. That said, I have friends in the IC who are very nervous about the president's actions in Helsinki, so if Trump wants to clear the air, now's the time to do it.
This fun update on the Portland anti-ICE occupation is everything you would expect:
Oh just shut up, Billy, and sing "Vienna" for me.
In fact, let's wrap up my blogging day with just that. "Vienna" is a lovely song with an unusual lyric -- it's advice to an ambitious young person in too much of a rush. And Joel's advice is both heartfelt and knowing.
But even after 40 years and countless listens, I still don't get the Vienna reference. The only theory I could come up with is that Vienna, an imperial city shorn of its empire, is an old and used-up place -- and that the object of the lyric shouldn't be in any rush to get there, metaphorically speaking.
But that's a stretch, isn't it?
If you have any theories of your own, please share them in the comments.
Hope you enjoy, and I'll see you bright and early tomorrow AM, shortly after Liz Sheld's Morning Brief.
"License to discriminate."
Republicans in the House just passed the Aderholt Amendment, which forbids state and local government from discriminating against adoption agencies on the basis of their religious beliefs. This is hugely important, as Catholic Charities has been forced out of various cities and states because it refuses to place children with same-sex couples.
Tragically, Democrats are more than willing to see faith-based agencies close their doors over the issue of LGBT adoption. Worse, they attacked Republicans as pushing a "license to discriminate" that would harm children. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attacked Republicans for choosing "to sacrifice the well-being of little children to push a bigoted, anti-LGBTQ agenda, potentially denying tens of thousands of vulnerable children the opportunity to find a loving and safe home."
Except that's not how it works. If you force faith-based adoption agencies out of the market, the kids will have fewer avenues to find adoptive parents and foster families. The kids get harmed, not helped, by so-called "anti-discrimination" laws.
In light of all this: SHOT.
The Struggle Is Real™.