Links for 4-15-2018

  • Nikki Haley said the Trump administration will impose new sanctions on Russia tomorrow, targeting companies that supplied the Syrian government with equipment used to produce chemical weapons.

  • Donald Trump tried to block Mike Pence from hiring Jon Lerner as his national security advisor because Trump believes Lerner is a never-Trumper.

  • Paul Bonicelli writes that last week’s missile strikes against Syria amounted to a reset of Barack Obama’s failed foreign policy:

    President Obama’s greatest error was not simply drawing red lines regarding Syrian chemical weapons use then failing to enforce them. Rather, his greatest failure was failing to appreciate that Russia and Iran have been angling for years to control the fate of the Middle East. He blew it, and they took advantage of his fecklessness by acting contrary to U.S. interests and those of our allies in the region.

    They now have unacceptable leverage over the region. Russia isn’t enamored of Assad, and neither is Iran. Assad is a loser who can’t hold his country together without outside support. He is nothing more than an opportunity for them.

    But holding Assad in contempt doesn’t mean these regimes can’t recognize a bird’s nest on the ground when they see it. When Obama failed to act in time to stop the Islamic State’s rise, drew red lines and didn’t enforce them, and foolishly turned over to Russia the task of curbing the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability, he gave Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei a gift: massive leverage in the Middle East.

  • A tiny agency funded by the federal government, Polygraph, is working to push back against Russian disinformation.

  • Israel says it destroyed the longest, deepest tunnel yet discovered between the Gaza Strip and its territory.

Links for 4-9-2018

Links for 3-30-2018

Links for 3-13-2018

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.

Links for 1-14-2018

Links for 10-30-2017