Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Disinformation and Counterintelligence

Wow!  The breaking news regarding Trump, Comey, et al. gets crazier and crazier.  Unfortunately, almost all of the breaking news is leaks from unidentified sources.  I had been planning on linking to several pieces that would suggest I incorrectly regarded Comey as a traitor and coward; one was by Andrew Mccarthy, a former federal prosecutor who knows Comey well.  McCarthy agreed Comey had to go but interpreted his behavior differently: politically naive and perhaps a little arrogant.  McCarthy also pointed out there's no obstruction of justice issue with respect to the investigation of Russian "hacking of the election,"  (One cannot hack an election; that's sloppy language for something else and misleads, intentionally, I think.)  The investigation was a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation, hence obstruction of justice isn't an issue.

But now, with claims surfacing that Trump might have interfered with a criminal investigation of Michael Flynn, the issue might be different.  (Same link as above.) Plus, there's now a claim that Paul Ryan secretly said he thought Putin paid Trump.  Good grief.

Leaks -- whatever is happening, this strikes me as a war of various people inside the U.S. government (and perhaps others, such as Russia) selectively leaking material.  What is and what isn't true can't be reasonably judged by outsiders, certainly not at this point, and developments come so fast there's not much point in trying to comment.  Trump is almost certainly target of an orchestrated campaign, but he brings much of this chaos upon his own head.  He needs better advisors than Reince Priebus (ugh) and now.  And he needs to silince his Twitter account immediately.

However, Vladimir Putin has just described the U.S. as being seized by "political schizophrenia," an apt turn of phrase.  Putin may be intentionally playing a role in it... or maybe not.  But Americans are increasingly divided between poles of belief in freedom and limited government vs. new left totalitarianism and socialism, and politics will be increasingly bipolar so long as that lasts.

Incidentally, if anyone wonders why nearly everyone in Washington DC hates Trump, here's an example: he would make them irrelevant.  (The linked WaPo article refers to leaked [of course!] documents showing Trump and Secretary of Education DeVos would cut over $10 billion from the education bureaucracy and promote school choice and vouchers.  Heaven forbid that citizens actually be allowed to make their own choices re schooling.)

Update: of course, it turns out to be Fake News that Ryan suspected Trump of being on Putin's payroll.  It was a joke Ryan made to some other GOP congressmen.  NYT, WaPo, NPR, CNN -- "Fake News R us!"

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