Monday, May 7, 2018

Helping the Enemy


For John, BLUFThe thing is, as long as Congress is tied up worrying about President Trump they aren't legislating, and that is a good thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Cipher Brief, by Mr Daniel Hoffman, Former CIA Chief of Station, dated 5 April 2018.

Yes, this is a month old, but The Cipher Brief tends to have stories that hold up over time and this discussion is still timely.

Here are the first five paragraphs from Mr Hoffman:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed most of Russia’s military and intelligence resources against Russia’s “Main Enemy,” the United States, since he became prime minister in 1999.  As a former KGB officer and director of its successor, the FSB, Putin’s weapons of choice for this covert campaign are espionage, and influence operations that target our political differences to weaken and divide us.

That’s why I was particularly upset when former CIA Director John Brennan delivered cringe worthy tweets excoriating President Donald Trump’s character and then “speculating” on MSNBC that Trump has not said anything negative about Putin because Trump “has something to serious to fear.”  He insinuated Putin was in a position to blackmail the president.  Brennan later explained to The New York Times that he was speculating, but damage was done. He played right into the hands of an adversary trying to widen the partisan divide.

As a trained intelligence officer who knows what makes our society tick, Putin understands the best way to soil our democratic process is to link it with a touch of conspiracy, i.e. to the Kremlin.  He is acutely aware of the value to Russia of exacerbating the political tension that grips our country.  Putin’s goal is to weaken our democratic institutions, including intelligence community agencies, which are responsible for countering Russia’s espionage onslaught on our country.

Putin purposely left a trail of breadcrumbs to the Kremlin in a series of discoverable influence operations: the three high-profile Russians with links to the Kremlin who attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting; and the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency that directed the election-related hacking carried a Kremlin return address.

From the Kremlin’s optic, these discoverable influence operations were more successful because they had the side benefit of transforming our intelligence community into partisan fodder.  Putin can certainly take some credit for helping spark both the firings of the FBI director and deputy director, as well as increasingly intense partisan bickering in Congress.  Having released dueling memos about the FBI’s surveillance of a Trump campaign official, the House Committee on Intelligence is deeply divided and risking collateral damage to its oversight mission and public trust.

Does the Kremlin have "the photos", as they say, that would compromise the US President?  I am doubtful.  That said, after the 2016 Election, and subsequent inauguration, those who were devastated by Mrs Clinton's loss eventually joined with the remaining Never Trumpers to form a movement to remove the President.

The result is that those opposed to President Trump, at a visceral level, rather than just a political level, are actually helping (the recently sworn in for another six year term) President Vladimir Putin of Russia.  Mr Putin is conducting political warfare, or "Active Measures".  There is a long tradition of this sort of thing.  Anything he (Mr Putin) can do to impede US President Trump is seen in Moscow as providing an edge in the game of world chess.

So, the Democrats and the Never Trumpers worry about Kompromat.  Based on this they seem intent upon removing President Trump at almost any price.  Such commitment to removal seems over the top, and is alienating a number of voters.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  My judgement is that there is very little, especially in the way of sexual antics, that would be embarrassing to Mr Trump.
  It isn't like Mr Trump is like former EU President and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, speculated to be a KGB Agent.

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