Links for 12-21-2016

  • American intelligence agencies are using technological progress as an excuse to erode Fourth Amendment rights. As far as the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is concerned, the fact that Yahoo scans emails for viruses means it’s OK for intelligence agencies to run software on Yahoo’s servers that scans for “selectors” that they find interesting.

  • Angelo Codevilla writes that the CIA has long been a tool of the American political left:

    In short, the CIA has always been part of the left wing of America’s ruling class. The “Russian hacking affair” is another instance of the perennial effort by which this class defends its claim to be the arbiter of truth and authority. Since the CIA has always possessed far fewer facts with far greater incertitude than the body politic imagines, it confuses its officials’ socio-political predilections with facts. Over more than a half-century, the CIA has purveyed them as facts because very few outsiders ever get behind its layered curtains of secrecy — which it flashes open for favorite journalists. Secrecy, which is essential to intelligence, presents a well-nigh irresistible temptation to cover insufficiency and self indulgence with the standard objection: “Our conclusions are based on facts of which you are not aware and that we cannot share with you.”

    Codevilla worked on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, so he knows something about this.

  • The current suspect in the Berlin truck bombing is a Tunisian named Anis Amri. Earlier this year he was under surveillance because a tip suggested he was planning a terrorist attack. He was supposed to be deported but the fact that he had several false identification documents delayed the process. Before he arrived in Germany, Amri spent four years in an Italian prison for starting a fire at a school.

  • The recent problem with the U.S. Navy’s F/A–18 Super Hornets and EA–18G Growlers that resulted in a temporary grounding of the planes is related to over-pressurization of the cockpit, which resulted in a canopy failure that injured the crew.

  • Nolan Peterson visited Ukrainian soldiers on the front line. The ceasefire with separatists and Russian troops is in even worse shape than usual, with several Ukrainian soldiers killed and dozens injured the past few days. The U.S. supplied small drones to Ukrainian forces, but they’re easily jammed and hacked, making them useless.

  • Russia successfully flight tested a new anti-satellite missile, the PL–19 Nudol. This was the third successful test of the missile.

  • Israel informed the U.S. that Hezbollah is using American armored personnel carriers in Syria. Apparently they were originally provided to the Lebanese government.