Links for 7-28-2018

Links for 7-27-2018

  • Donald Trump thought he had a deal with Recep Tayyip Erdogan to free American Andrew Brunson. Israel deported a Turkish woman charged with smuggling for Hamas, and in exchange Turkey was supposed to release Brunson. Instead a Turkish court transferred Brunson from prison to house arrest, and Trump and Mike Pence started making public threats against Turkey.

  • The FBI’s application to the FISA court for a warrant to wiretap Carter Page failed to state that Christopher Steele, the source of much of the intelligence information in the warrant application, was biased against Donald Trump.

  • Silicon Valley is now a hotbed of spying:

    We tend to think of espionage in the United States as an East Coast phenomenon: shadowy foreign spies working out of embassies in Washington, or at missions to the United Nations in New York; dead drops in suburban Virginia woodlands, and surreptitious meetings on park benches in Manhattan’s gray dusk.

    But foreign spies have been showing up uninvited to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a very long time. According to former U.S. intelligence officials, that’s true today more than ever. In fact, they warn—especially because of increasing Russian and Chinese aggressiveness, and the local concentration of world-leading science and technology firms—there’s a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast right now. And even more worrisome, many of its targets are unprepared to deal with the growing threat.


    Political espionage happens here, too. China, for example, is certainly out to steal U.S. technology secrets, noted former intelligence officials, but it also is heavily invested in traditional political intelligence gathering, influence and perception-management operations in California. Former intelligence officials told me that Chinese intelligence once recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the source reported back to China about local politics. (A spokesperson for Feinstein said the office doesn’t comment on personnel matters or investigations, but noted that no Feinstein staffer in California has ever had a security clearance.) At the Aspen Security Forum last week, FBI director Chris Wray acknowledged the threat Chinese spying in particular poses, saying, “China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country.”

  • South Korea summoned a Chinese embassy official to complain that Chinese military planes are infringing on South Korea’s air defense territory.

  • Pakistan’s major political parties conceded defeat to former cricket player Imran Khan in an election that European Union monitors said was unfair.

Links for 7-26-2018

Links for 7-20-2018

Links for 7-17-2018

  • Byron York explains why Donald Trump doesn’t like to admit Russian interference in the 2016 election:

    There have always been two parts to the Trump-Russia probe: the what-Russia-did part, which is the investigation into Russia’s actions during the campaign, and the get-Trump part, which is the effort to use the investigation to remove him from office.

    Trump’s problem is that he has always refused, or been unable, to separate the two. One is about national security and international relations, while the other is about Donald Trump.

    The president clearly believes if he gives an inch on the what-Russia-did part — if he concedes that Russia made an effort to disrupt the election — his adversaries, who want to discredit his election, undermine him, and force him from office, will take a mile on the get-Trump part. That’s consistent with how Trump approaches other problems; he doesn’t admit anything, because he knows his adversaries will never be satisfied and just demand more.

    Donald Trump now says he misspoke when he said he believed Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the election over the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

  • Paul Kengor notes that Democrats are now Russia hawks:

    It’s only a matter of time before Hillary Clinton heads to Wheeling waving a list of 205 Russian spies in the Trump State Department.

    Where’s old Tailgunner Joe Biden to charge Trump with “a conspiracy so immense”?

    This hypocrisy is outrageous. It’s outrageous that it took charges of Russian meddling against Hillary Clinton to finally make progressives give a damn about the dangerous deceit of the Kremlin.

  • New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland sued the federal government over the $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes included in the latest tax overhaul. These four states want the residents of other states to resume subsidizing their extremely high tax rates.

  • The Daily Caller identified the founder of Sleeping Giants, a left-wing activist group that works to shut down right-wing outlets via boycott campaigns: Matt Rivitz, an ad copywriter based in San Francisco.

  • Federal prosecutors charged another Honduran congressman with drug trafficking. The congressman, Midence Oqueli Martinez Turcioss, is not in custody.

  • Iran filed a lawsuit against the U.S. in the International Court of Justice, claiming the latest American sanctions violate a 1955 treaty.

  • John O’Sullivan wrote a good summary of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s “soft Brexit” plan and its aftermath:

    The commitments had been to an entirely new Brexit strategy that seemed to erase all of May’s famous red lines against what she would not accept in talks with Brussels. It was the kind of thing that gives shyster lawyers a bad name: Britain would leave the EU Customs Union but then join a common customs territory with the EU; leave the single market but accept “ongoing harmonization” with EU regulations; leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice but then instruct U.K. courts to follow ECJ precedents. May insisted that these proposals were the fulfillment of her public pledges. That was too much for anyone who believes that 2+2=4. David Davis resigned on Sunday evening; his junior minister, Steve Baker, did so the next morning; Boris followed that afternoon; and the resignations — of junior ministers, parliamentary political secretaries (the first step on the political ladder), party officials, constituency chairmen, and ordinary activists — have been flowing ever since.

  • Nicaraguan security forces moved against an opposition stronghold in Masaya. At least 275 people have been killed since protests started in April.

  • Afghan commandos raided a Taliban prison in Helmand province and freed 58 prisoners.

Links for 7-16-2018

Links for 7-11-2018