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by Bjinse on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 09:11:52 PM EST
Jim Clapper Just Nuked the Trump Presidency - Observer

Even in retirement, spymasters remain habitually enigmatic, and none has been more so than James Clapper, who is our nation's most experienced spy boss. He retired as the Director of National Intelligence at the beginning of 2017, after over six years in that job--a record. That capped off a career in our Intelligence Community that lasted more than a half-century and included the directorships of two of our nation's spy agencies. Nobody knows the IC better than Clapper.


Clapper went considerably further yesterday in his appearance on CNN's The Lead, in which he finally let his top secret mask drop to say what he really thinks about our 45th president:

I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the president ... You have to remember Putin's background. He's a KGB officer. That's what they do. They recruit assets. And I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president.

When pressed about what exactly he was saying, Clapper explained that he meant his words "figuratively," but that barely mitigates the shock value of what he said. To be perfectly clear: America's most experienced spy boss publicly termed our president an asset--that is, a witting agent--of the Kremlin who is being controlled by Vladimir Putin. Even if meant only "figuratively," this is the most jaw-dropping statement ever uttered about any American president by any serious commentator.

by Bjinse on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 09:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I wouldn't consider any spy master "a serious commentator" especially James Clapper. Lying To US Congress .... come on, get real. Hurt feelings by CIA assets. ;-)

by Oui on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 09:31:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet - any former high level spy boss describing that the current president is resembling Putin's playtoy, is indicative of the concerns within the US spy community...
by Bjinse on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 10:38:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lying to Congress is not necessarily a disqualifier in the spy community - at least as far as reputation for knowledge of the community goes, IMO. Lying is a part of the craft, after all.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 04:02:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oui ... why do you always defend Trump and divert from the possibility of Trump being an asset of the Vlad?  How much is Putin paying YOU?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 11:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever the amount, it's TOO much.  You stink at the job, you're too obvious.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 11:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't buy the almighty spy master Putin story either. Why can't I get paid for it?

Btw, read recently by way of the Intercept about Russian opposition people who feel that the western narrative gives to much credit to Putin. He wishes he was the almighty puppeteer!

by fjallstrom on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 10:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a distinction to be made between someone being held on a string, and someone who isn't on a string, but behaves all the same.

But anyone not healthily alarmed by Russia's fingerprints on some major cyber assaults is foolishly naive.

How An Entire Nation Became Russia's Test Lab for Cyberwar - Wired

Looking at the attackers' methods, Lee began to form a notion of who he was up against. He was struck by similarities between the blackout hackers' tactics and those of a group that had recently gained some notoriety in the cybersecurity world--a group known as Sandworm. In 2014 the security firm FireEye had issued warnings about a team of hackers that was planting BlackEnergy malware on targets that included Polish energy firms and Ukrainian government agencies; the group seemed to be developing methods to target the specialized computer architectures that are used for remotely managing physical industrial equipment. The group's name came from references to Dune found buried in its code, terms like Harkonnen and Arrakis, an arid planet in the novel where massive sandworms roam the deserts.

No one knew much about the group's intentions. But all signs indicated that the hackers were Russian: FireEye had traced one of Sandworm's distinctive intrusion techniques to a presentation at a Russian hacker conference. And when FireEye's engineers managed to access one of Sandworm's unsecured command-and-control servers, they found instructions for how to use BlackEnergy written in Russian, along with other Russian-language files.

Most disturbing of all for American analysts, Sandworm's targets extended across the Atlantic. Earlier in 2014, the US government reported that hackers had planted BlackEnergy on the networks of American power and water utilities. Working from the government's findings, FireEye had been able to pin those intrusions, too, on Sandworm.

by Bjinse on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 11:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've complained about the super villain narrative in other contexts before. People like to think they're being bested by enemies with superhuman powers, otherwise it would mean that they're just useless.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 10:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because all the evidence we have seen yet doesn't amount to a hill of beans?

I think I agree with most of the particulars in this blog post:


Some outtakes(lots of links at source):

  • First and foremost, the public technical evidence that Russia hacked the DNC is both completely insufficient to declare who used a simple spear-phishing attack to trick John Podesta into entering his own password and based entirely on technical data from a single firm (Crowdstrike) the DNC itself hired with the intention of blaming the hack on Russia; to this date the FBI has never been allowed to examine the "hacked" servers or made any additional efforts whatsoever to verify Crowdstrike's accusations against Russia. Although many people who are completely ignorant of even very recent history seem content to accept the declaration of American Intelligence Agencies that Russia definitely hacked the DNC for "reasons" - I myself am not comfortable taking the CIA's word for it when surely if they had more evidence of Russian hacking, they would have produced it by now (a full year into the investigation.)

  • The simple truth is that it doesn't matter who hacked the DNC or if there was even a hack at all because the recovered Clinton campaign emails and the damning revelations found inside them were all 100% real and unaltered in any meaningful way. You cannot "rig" an election by telling people the truth and exposing the uncomfortable facts about powerful people is called journalism, not "spreading propaganda." Furthermore, the argument that such activity would represent "an act of war" or a "digital 9/11" is quite simply spurious at best when you consider the known fact that American intelligence continues to engage in cyber intrusion activities and online opinion manipulation on social media in precisely the same manner we're accusing Russia of doing today.
  • by generic on Sun Dec 24th, 2017 at 11:42:28 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Except if any foreign government hacked info from an American poolitical campaign and used that information to help the other side, that is a major crime in itself.

    IIRC foreigners aren't even allowed to donate to a poltical campaign. Committing crimes to aid and abet one side is hardly likely to be something that would be tolerated in a more temperate season. And if collusion could be proved, well then we're almost into rico territory.

    So, no it ain't journalism. As if most of the US media have any clue what that even means

    keep to the Fen Causeway

    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 08:42:24 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Why should anyone care about the particulars of the American legal system? If a Voice of America journalist social engineers a procurement bill for air defence missiles for the Ukrainian separatists, signed by Vladimir personally, out of some Russian functionaries who wouldn't call it journalism?
    by generic on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 11:34:15 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Yes, the rule of law is such a minor inconvenience. Just like taxes, we are moving into an era where it only applies to the little people.

    Which may not be an entirely stable situation

    keep to the Fen Causeway

    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 12:36:13 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    How does the rule of law even enter here? We are not talking about the exercise of state power and I at least am not giving advice to US prosecutors.

    What I don't see is why I should be outraged about any of this. If a leaker carries out the politically embarrassing office mail, the information is of public interest and it gets published in major newspapers I would have no objection at all. Even if you replace the first step with Vladimir Putin in a hoodie, there is little material change in the outcome. And US political culture already was considering journalism, as in publishing what the powerful don't want published, to be close to treason. Jumping on the McCarthy express doesn't seem helpful.

    by generic on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 12:24:15 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Criminal conduct is explicitly identified by U.S. federal and state code, chapter [18] and verse [1961], with plenty exceptions and exemptions and mitigating circumstances &tc ("loopholes"). Any conduct that is NOT indentifed by U.S. federal and state code ("on the books") as criminal is lawful. It is lawful even if civi litigation finds tortious harms, or liability, subject to penalty or compensatory damages ("cost of doing business"). This vaccuum of commonsense is where all unscrupulous people ply their trade "with impugnity".

    Mueller's public brief is programmed to fail.

    "Meddling and interference" in "democracy" or "election process" is no where codified by U.S. Code or states' statutes. But it sure is  "click bait" --the transaction  that produces revenue for the person supplying publishing services to an advertiser ("content creator"). Gah bless Free Trade.

    "Collusion" and "conspiracy" are not crimes, because people collude and conspire every. fucking. day. They collude or conspire to realized some group, enterprise, corporate, company, organization purpose. Gah bless Trade Secrets.

    Collusion or conspiracy to commit a crime [LISTED] is defined. But meddle and interfere in democracy and election process is undefined by USC. Since Mueller has been unable as yet to pin even one of the [LIST] to any foreign or domestic, would you have him invent criminal conduct?

    Or would you prefer he discover evidence of criminal conduct?

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by Cat on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 12:06:49 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Rod Rosenstein's Letter Appointing Mueller Special Counsel May 2017
    "links and/or coordination"

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
    by Cat on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 02:06:14 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Did Watergate have any effect on the outcome of the election?
    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 01:00:13 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The largest Democratic Congress since FDR, I think, in '74 and Ford lost to Carter in '76. But billionaire money and owned media overwhelmed that tide in '80.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 04:38:45 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Democrats held 2/3rds of the House and 3/5ths of the Senate and President Ford was a moderate. But the committee chairs, esp. in the Senate, remained in the hands of conservative Southern Democrats.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 04:48:36 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Republicans warn Trump of 2018 bloodbath - Politico
    The backstage talks provide a window into how those closest to Trump are bracing for a possible bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, which could obliterate the Republican congressional majorities and paralyze the president's legislative agenda. The potential for a Democratic wave has grown after Republican losses this fall in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama, and as the president's approval ratings have plummeted to the 30s.
    by Bernard on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 07:50:16 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I just hope enough are progressives on economics.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 06:44:32 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Watergate convinced the Ueberklass it needed to implement the Powell Memo ASAP, and everything since has flowed from that.
    by rifek on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 11:27:57 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by das monde on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 05:24:00 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Judge dismisses suits claiming Trump violated emoluments clause

    standing?: the event which has not occurred

    U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels ruled that the two suits were fatally flawed because the plaintiffs failed to show injury directly related to the use of Trump's properties by foreign officials and governments.

    Daniels, who sits in Manhattan and is an appointee of President Bill Clinton, also said the issue was one that Congress should police, not the courts.

    Daniels said that even if he ordered Trump to refuse any profit from any business with foreign governments, or from state and local governments that the president is not supposed to be paid by while in office, it was unclear how that would help the plaintiffs.

    "Were Defendant not to personally accept any income from government business, this Court would have no power to lessen the competition inherent in any patron's choice of hotel or restaurant," the judge said.

    class certification? and jurisdiction
    The class-action case claimed that Trump was violating promises he made to distance himself from his businesses, but Daniels said that kind of promise wasn't enforceable in court.

    similarly situated plaintiffs
    Two similar suits remain pending in other federal courts. One, filed by the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, is pending before a judge in Greenbelt, Md. The other, filed by nearly 200 Democratic federal lawmakers, was filed in a court in the nation's capital. The judges assigned to those cases have not yet ruled on similar motions to dismiss them.

    Rule of law will out. Until further notice, ie. IRS or FBI discover facts of malfeasance ("high crimes and misdemeanors" or conspiracy to defraud the USA) by mail or wire fraud committed in the first two years of Mr Trump's presidency --OR-- Mr Trump goes "black". Then all rules tossed. Hello.

    mental disorder is a communicable disease. a/o Oct 2017

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:26:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Yup, didn't see that one coming...

    Trump Promised to Protect Steel. Layoffs Are Coming Instead. - NY Times

    The United Steelworkers, the union that includes the workers in Conshohocken, has historically aligned with Democrats. But many workers opposed trade agreements forged by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and viewed Hillary Clinton's stance on trade as insincere.

    In a shift in the politics of trade, the union has defended the Trump administration's trade agenda against the criticisms of traditionally Republican business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce.

    But Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a trade group that represents steelworkers, said he had "a profound sense of frustration that the president has been using steelworkers as political props."

    "The president's own words and lack of action have actually put the industry in a worse position than if he had done nothing at all," he said.

    Who Could Have Predicted?
    Who could have predicted that a big lying plutocrat would enact yuuge tax cuts to benefit his own while throwing the ordinary folks who voted for him under the bus?

    by Bernard on Sun Dec 24th, 2017 at 06:29:59 PM EST
    [ Parent ]