Links for 2-26-2018

Links for 2-24-2018

  • Axios published a concise list of law enforcement’s failures in the Parkland, Florida shooting.

  • Andrew McCarthy details the web that connects Paul Manafort and Richard Gates to friends of Vladimir Putin, and argues that Robert Mueller is preparing a CYA operation to defend the Department of Justice:

    Second, and more likely, Mueller will want to defend the investigative decisions made by the FBI and the Justice Department — institutions he served at the highest levels for many years.

    Mueller cannot refute every claimed irregularity. There is no defending, for example, the intelligence leaks to the media; the blatantly disparate treatment between the kid-gloves Clinton-emails investigation and the zealous effort to derail Trump; or the presentation to the FISA court of the traitorous dossier allegations, against Trump and his campaign, that had not been corroborated by the FBI. Yet Mueller could be endeavoring to make a record that the FBI and Justice Department acted reasonably, albeit over-anxiously, when they credited the reporting of Steele — a source they understandably trusted from prior experience, who was reporting suspicions that were plausible in light of the Manafort and Gates history. Mueller could be contemplating a report that portrays as justifiable the Obama administration’s use of the law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus of government to investigate the presidential campaign of the opposition party.

    In short, the special counsel may be preparing to argue that the Obama officials were acting on rational suspicions, not partisan politics. He may be laying the groundwork to argue that, while political, law-enforcement, and intelligence officials made mistakes, the main culprit was Trump’s judgment in recruiting Manafort and Gates — particularly under circumstances in which the candidate was already publicly flattering Putin in an unseemly way.

  • An al Qaeda affiliate in West Africa, Group for Support of Islam and Muslims, claimed responsibility for the IED that killed two French soldiers in Mali.

  • ISIS used two suicide car bombs to attack a counter-terrorism base in Aden, Yemen, killing 14 people and wounding 40.

  • The Taliban overran an Afghan military base in Farah province, killing at least 20 soldiers.

Links for 2-18-2018

  • Kevin Williamson demolishes the FBI:

    As was reported on Friday, the FBI had been alerted that a particular pasty-faced virgin down in Florida was probably going to shoot up his old school. He had put up social-media posts to that effect, cleverly shielding his identity from the steely-eyed G-men by signing his legal name to those public threats. The epigones of J. Edgar Hoover may not be Sherlock Holmes, but presumably they can read, and some public-minded citizen took some screen shots and sent them to the FBI.

    The FBI of course did what the relevant authorities did in the case of Omar Mateen, the case of Nidal Hasan, the case of Adam Lanza: nothing.

    We could replace these guys with trained monkeys, if we could train monkeys to be self-important.

  • Andrew McCarthy writes that Russia is waging an information war with the U.S., and we’re responding with a puny, meaningless lawsuit:

    To the contrary, we use counterintelligence rather than criminal investigation to thwart foreign adversaries because prosecution is a woefully inadequate response. The point of counterintelligence is to gather information so we can stop our enemies, through meaningful retaliation and discouragement. Generally, that means diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and, in extreme cases, military means. It could mean deploying our own cyber capabilities. The idea is not to invade every rogue nation. It is to respond to provocations in a manner that hurts our rivals — conveying that the prohibitive cost we will exact makes attacking us against their interests.

    That cannot be accomplished by a mere indictment on which no one will be tried.

  • The Washington Post interviewed a former Russian troll whose job was posting comments on news sites.

  • The U.S. is investigating whether Daimler used software tricks to help its diesel engines pass emissions tests.

Links for 2-10-2018

Links for 2-5-2018

Links for 2-2-2018

Links for 2-1-2018

  • Andrew McCarthy writes on the FBI’s objections to the release of Devin Nunes’ memo:

    Since before the Republican-led committee voted (along partisan lines) to seek the memo’s declassification and publication, the FBI has been complaining that it was not permitted to review the memo. As I explained last week, this was a very unpersuasive complaint. Having stonewalled the committee’s information requests for several months, the Bureau and Justice Department are hardly well positioned to complain about being denied access; the committee, by contrast, has every reason to believe they would have slow-walked any review in order to delay matters further.

    All that aside, the FBI was guaranteed access to the memo before its publication because of the rules of the process. Once the committee voted to disclose, that gave the president five days to object. During that five days, Trump’s own appointees at the FBI and DOJ would have the chance to pore over the memo and make their objections and policy arguments to their principal, the president, and to the rest of the Trump national-security team. This tells us the real objection was not that they were barred from reviewing the memo; it is that they were barred from reviewing it on a schedule that would make it more difficult to derail publication.

    Angelo Codevilla offers a more partisan take:

    The FBI’s top leadership — whose careers, business dealings, politics, marriages and extramarital affairs intertwine — invested itself incompetently and illegally into the 2016 election campaign against Donald Trump. In part to cover itself, it launched the so-called “Russia probe.” Its members are personally, deeply interested in keeping the public from seeing the documents concerning these activities. They raised the familiar shield: release would compromise the sources and methods of national security.

    The House of Representatives’ Republican majority wanted the documents made public, issued a subpoena for them, and was prepared to jail senior FBI for contempt had they not complied with it. The House compromised, being satisfied by viewing them and making a summary, which it has voted to make public. The FBI and the Justice Department’s bureaucracy, being out of options for saving their reputations, their pensions, and perhaps for keeping themselves out of jail, urge President Trump to advise the House to guard the secrecy of the summary, of the activities that it describes, and hence to save their bacon.

  • The U.S. Marine Corps relieved the commander of one of Okinawa’s two MF–22 Osprey squadrons of duty. Lt. Col. Bryan Swenson lost his job due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead his command.” Six months ago an Osprey crashed off Okinawa’s coast.

  • Fourteen Catholic senators voted against cloture for the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” a.k.a. the 20 week abortion ban. Father Dwight Longenecker provides the name of each senator’s bishop so you know who to complain to.

  • The Trump administration designated Harakat as-Sabirin Li-Nasran Filastin as a terrorist group. As-Sabirin is a Shiite group that operates in Gaza and is funded by Iran. The Trump administration also designated two Muslim Brotherhood offshoots in Egypt as terrorist groups — Harakat Sawa’id Misr and Liwa al-Thawra.

  • The Syrian government reportedly used chlorine rockets again in Douma.

  • Reuters provided some backstory for Ji Seong-ho, the North Korean defector who appeared at Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech this week.

  • A cybersecurity company based in the United Arab Emirates, DarkMatter, started revealing some information about its operations and customers. DarkMatter is tight with the UAE’s government, and hires a lot of ex-CIA and ex-NSA people.