05-18-2018 12:27:15 PM -0700
05-17-2018 08:38:50 AM -0700
05-11-2018 07:34:04 AM -0700
05-09-2018 10:17:16 AM -0700
05-04-2018 02:59:17 PM -0700
It looks like you've previously blocked notifications. If you'd like to receive them, please update your browser permissions.
Desktop Notifications are  | 
Get instant alerts on your desktop.
Turn on desktop notifications?
Remind me later.

Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Colonel Mustard's Revenge: What Was Done to Undermine Trump

You all may recall my piece on General Flynn and Colonel Mustard not long ago. It ended with this:

So now, like Colonel Mustard with a lead pipe in the library, pieces have come together: this has to have been authorized under the Obama administration, by someone pretty high up (or else they wouldn't have access to the compartmented information), and leaked by someone pretty high up, also, almost certainly, either a civil service permanent employee held over from the Obama administration or a political appointee very high in the intelligence community. One who was pretty confident they also have friends in high places.

Why? It seems it must have been to make trouble for the incoming Trump administration.

This is going to get a lot more interesting.

Sure enough, it has gotten interesting. Over the weekend Trump tweeted:

Immediately afterward, in the immortal words of Roger Zelazny, "the fit hit the Shan." The New York Times immediately hyperventilated with the headline "Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones," promptly followed by pretty much all the rest of the legacy media.

The problem was, of course, that the Times itself had repeatedly reported that wiretaps had provided information about Trump's supposed close relationship with the Russians. There are a number of useful reviews of the bidding, so I'll assume that you all are familiar with the basic story.

The Times, trying to square the circle, made the following notably stupid and disingenuous defense:

[A]s The Times (and others) has made clear, these investigations have been conducted by the F.B.I., intelligence agencies and Congress, not by Obama himself. The Times has also said Obama administration officials sought to spread intelligence about a possible link between Trump and Russia to ensure a trail of evidence for investigators, but it said Obama himself was not involved.

So, let's get something straight: no one with half a lick of sense thinks Obama himself went out, like Barney in Mission Impossible, with a portable handset and wires on alligator clips, to listen in on phone conversations that Trump or Trump insiders were having. In fact, the phrase "wire tapping" is an archaism -- phones don't work that way any more. The use of "Obama" here is a pretty obvious -- and extremely common -- synecdoche where the president's name is used to refer to the executive branch, which includes both the FBI and the intelligence agencies. (Michael Hayden, ex DIRNSA and DCIA, tries the same lame argument, doubly so since part of the reporting had been that there is a FISA warrant.)