Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Is Trump More A Fool Or More A Knave? More Putin-Gate


Trump with the 2 Russian spies

American allies are alarmed. And so are American intelligence officials. Trump revealing highly classified material to his Kremlin buddies-- spies-- is freaking everyone out. Greg Miller's Washington Post scoop, as tepid and punch-pulling as it was, set off alarm bells all over the world. Months ago the top Israeli newspapers were reporting that the Israeli government was warned by U.S. intelligence to be careful about what they say to Trump because it could wind up in Russian hands and from the Russians to their allies in Tehran.
Israeli intelligence officials are concerned that the exposure of classified information to their American counterparts under a Trump administration could lead to their being leaked to Russia and onward to Iran... American intelligence officials expressed despair at the election of Trump during a recent meeting with their Israeli counterparts, Bergman reported. They said that they believed that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, though they did not elaborate.
As you read Miller's report, keep in mind that hours after it came out, BuzzFeed reported that the Post downplayed how bad Trump's revelations to Kremlin spymasters Sergei Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov were. Jim Dalyrimple and Jason Leopold wrote that "[t]wo US officials who were briefed on Trump’s disclosures last week confirmed to BuzzFeed News the veracity of the Post report, with one official noting that 'it’s far worse than what has already been reported.' The Senate Intelligence Committee was also briefed on Trump’s disclosures, one of the officials said." (McCain immediately shook his head sadly, admitted it was a bad thing and said Trump has the legal right to share secrets with Russian spies if he wants to.)
The classified information Trump shared included intelligence on ISIS that had been passed to the US by a partner, which was not identified. But Trump's disclosure was considered a potential blow to the intelligence-sharing arrangement, and White House officials reportedly moved quickly to contain the fallout.

After news of Trump's revelations broke Monday, Sen. Bob Corker-- a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations committee-- said "obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."

"And the shame of it is, there's a really good national security team in place...but the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes-- it creates a worrisome environment," Corker told reporters in Washington, DC, Monday afternoon.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters on Capitol Hill that "if this story is true, it's another brick in the wall of a really, really troubling connection between Trump and the Russian government."

"I don't know when it will be enough for Republicans to understand that we need to get to the bottom of the connection between the president of the United States and the Russian government," said Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Progressive Orange County candidate for the seat held by notorious Trump shill Mimi Walters, was as quick as Senator Murphy to demand a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of the whole Putin-Gate scandal:

Miller's article in The Post emphasized that Trumpanzee "revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State."

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

...One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak-- a key figure in earlier Russia controversies-- into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details about an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

...[O]fficials expressed concern with Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless, and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

The Washington Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said that the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow and would be keenly interested in identifying that source and possibly disrupting it.

Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said. A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments-- and even individual agencies-- are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

...Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout.

Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian Prime Minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for lax attention to security at his Florida retreat Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points, and often ignores those. “He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it-- and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”
Last night, the White House said it was "totally false," but, as Amanda Carpenter quipped this morning, "Trump's twitter account is a weapon of mass self destruction"

This morning Trump humiliated McMaster, Tillerson, Powell and everyone else-- like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity-- who came to his defense and said the whole Post story was fake news and that the incident never happened. Look at that idiot's morning tweet above. Even as the Kremlin was claiming that Trump never passed their spies any classified information, Trump was tweeting an admission of guilt. I bet McMaster doesn't resign today-- even though his credibility is completely shot now. A friend of mine is friends with Señor Trumpanzee's bankruptcy attorney. The attorney would be going with Trump to court, saying to Trump, "No matter what happens, under no circumstance, say 'xyz.'" The prosecutor would begin the proceedings by saying, "Please state your name." Señor would say "Donald J. Trump and I want to skip all the bullcrap preliminaries and get right to the heart of the matter: xyz."

The way the NY Times reported the story indicated "serious folks" in DC are worried about Trump's capacity as a leader. Republican Senator Bob Corker (TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order. It’s got to happen. Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening... To compromise a source is something that you just don’t do, and that’s why we keep the information that we get from intelligence sources so close as to prevent that from happening."

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told her constituents after she read the Post story that "There's something sinister going on between the Trump administration and one of our nation's oldest adversaries. And we need to get to the bottom of it... According to a U.S. official quoted in the Washington Post: 'Trump revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.' This should concern us all. With each action, Donald Trump puts us all at risk-- and further strengthens the argument for his administration's possible ties to the Russians. This news, paired with the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, should be cause for deep concern."

She has been "vehemently calling for an independent, nonpartisan investigation into Trump's ties to Russia [and] wants to know what investments are clouding Trump's judgment, what business ties he has to Russia, and-- most importantly-- who he owes, and what... There's much more to this story than meets the eye, and the American people deserve to know the truth."

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At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again - after Gawd knows how many other times - John McCain, who had the courage to stand up to torture in VietNam folds up like a two-dollar suitcase in the face of another Republican. He was made a capon in the 2000 South Carolina primary, and he hasn't grown them back.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only question remaining: What does a motherfucker have to do to get impeached by his own congress? Kill a white millionaire?

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and give the money to an "undeserving" minority - especially a pregnant undocumented female.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just imagine what we're dealing with here; a President who goes off script from the national security state? Guess he passes the "I am not a robot" test. Am I the only one who thinks this is refreshing. As if these intel agencies do not know who each other is, in the field or what information is being passed. Declassify it all and let's reboot the democracy with a fresh install. He's an ass among the self important asses, but I can't tell where the stank comes from these days.

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This particular hysteria can be attributed to those who created, funded and protect ISIS as their preferred mechanism for regime change in Syria: US deep state, neo-cons, Clintion wing of DNC, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar.

John Puma

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clinton wing of the DNC is pointlessly redundant.


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