Gaius Publius: Who’s Blackmailing the President & Why Aren’t Democrats Upset About It?

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

Until now, getting into the news and reports about Russia and Trump meant getting into some rather dense weeds (PDF of declassified report here), but with the recent release by Buzzfeed of the full 35-page dossier on Trump and Russia (the explosive one, with the women peeing on Obama’s former hotel room bed), which was distilled into a two-page appendix in the classified version of the report, the road to clarity just presented itself.

So I offer the text of three tweets (mine), a longer discussion of those main points, and comments by Glenn Greenwald on the latest Trump-Russia-intel community contretemps. Everything else, as I now see it, is detail, a gloss on these three points.

First, the tweets, a bullet-point capsule of all the main points up to now:

This hits, I think, the main elements to watch in tightly compressed form. Read on for the long version of these three points. Click here to jump ahead to Greenwald’s take on all this.

Blackmailing the U.S. President

As I said above, there only three elements to “get” to get this story. First, there’s the blackmail element. According to the 35-page dossier, Russia (supposedly) prepared blackmail material on Trump but isn’t using it.

But it’s clear that American intelligence services certainly are using it, or using the threat of using it, and doing so very publicly (per CNN, quoted here, my emphasis):

One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.

“For your information, sir”? Or “Careful; you don’t know what all us intel types know about you … sir”? Again, Trump was presented with just a two-page summary of the full dossier. The actual information, which we have thanks to the later publication of the 35-page dossier, was reportedly not presented to him, perhaps to leave to his imagination what it contained.

Now the detail: According to an ex-MI6 (the British CIA) agent, whose dossier, I understand from talking with journalists, was shopped around to a number of publications and rejected as unreliable before it seems to have found a home on David Corn’s desk — according to this ex-agent, Russia had assembled a fair amount of blackmail material on Donald Trump, including his sexual practices while staying at first-class hotels in Russia. But Russia, we’re told, isn’t using the material against him since Trump is in sync with their goals anyway.

American sources, however, have published this material since it came to them as well from the same ex-MI6 agent. In other words, the 35-page dossier was available both to American intel services and the U.S. press because its author had been shopping it around broadly for publication. But almost without exception, the American press considered it unreliable and wouldn’t touch it.

Yet a summary of this widely-considered-unreliable dossier appeared in the classified briefing the U.S. intel chiefs presented to Donald Trump. Why? The obvious answer is to blackmail Trump for their own purposes.

We can speculate on what those purposes are. My best guess is to keep alive the new cold war with Russia; others like Corey Robin think maybe just agency revenge. But using unreliable information to frighten Trump is an obvious shot across his bow. It says, “We’re the we-know-everything National Security State. There’s more where this came from. You’re vulnerable to anyone who knows this stuff. Think that through … sir.”

The Security Services, the Political Process, and the Democratic Party

Second, there’s the element of multiple intrusions into the political process. Russia certainly attempted to tilt the election their way, but they were not alone in that effort. For example, the present use of blackmail material by U.S. intel chiefs, or the threat of its use, is itself an intrusion of the U.S. security services (what Greenwald calls the “deep state”) into the 2016-2017 political process.

But even this is not unique. Consider the James Comey affair. Prior to the election, there were many hands meddling to tilt the political outcome as well. For example, Comey’s “no charge” charges against Clinton count as one attempt to intrude. As I viewed the evidence against her (see here), a Comey recommendation to indict would have been justifiable. (Remember, the FBI doesn’t indict; that’s left to Loretta Lynch and the Dept. of Justice, a duty she couldn’t credibly perform after her secret tarmac meeting Bill Clinton was revealed.)

Or barring a recommendation to indict, Comey could have just stood down, recommended not to indict — and then kept his mouth shut. Had he done that, it might have been a political act since Comey is a careerist serving a Democratic president and a Democratic Attorney General. (Again, there was ample cause to turn what he correctly called “gross negligence” into a recommendation to pursue the investigation to the grand jury level. After all, the same statute has been wielded by Obama many times to punish less well-placed individuals for far less negligence running a secret, private, wide-open server through which all her government communications were passed, whether classified or not.)

But caught between an Obama administration that signaled clearly it wanted no indictment — political interference on their part — and a group of right-wing agents who clearly wanted one, Comey tried to have it both ways and failed to please anyone at all. The speech in which he indicted without indicting was certainly a political act in both senses of the phrase. He tried to get the political outcome of a recommendation to indict without recommending to indict, and in the office politics sense, he tried to please both his bosses and his employees to preserve his standing and his job.

Unfortunately, his bosses and his employees wanted opposite things. Many of the FBI agents involved in the server investigation clearly wanted an indictment, and when one wasn’t forthcoming, started leaking what they knew — or what they wanted people to think they knew — to the press. This represented political interference as well, not only by agents of the FBI, but also by investigators in the NY Police Dept, which had control of Anthony Wiener’s laptop, and who were also leaking to the press.

The Democrats at this point, I think rightly, felt heavy “cop hands” on the scale of this election (without at all acknowledging the president’s own hand, or that of Loretta Lynch), and said so — loudly.

But Comey was not alone. The CIA and NSA (the largest part of the “national security state”) were intruding politically in the other direction, by endorsing Clinton and demonizing Trump (my emphasis):

For months, the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton, and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that warwhile Trump denounced it.

Now Trump is president and the pro-war national security forces are at it again, leaning again on Trump in yet another intrusion into the political process.

So who again tried to tilt the field for or against Clinton or Trump? Including Russia, the administration, Comey, agents of the FBI and NY police, the CIA and national security forces, I count five groups. This is a lot of political intrusion, regardless of which candidate you favored — all within the last year — and we’re still not done. I’m sure we’re only halfway through this extended drama.

The Selective Blindness of the Democratic Party

Third, with all this political interference, where are the Democrats? Do they condemn it all, praise it all, or pick and choose?

Bottom line: They see what they want to see, not what’s in front of us all and in plain sight. Which is not only unprincipled, it’s dangerous … for them as well as us.

Again, they did not see Obama’s original declarations of Clinton’s innocence as political intrusion. But they did see Comey’s eventual “won’t indict, but will condemn” speech, and his and other investigators’ pre-election actions, as political intrusion. They did notsee the “pro-war” security apparatus’ endorsement of Clinton and trashing of Trump as intrusions. But they do see Russian interference as intrusion. And they absolutely don’t see the security services’ present blackmail threats against a duly elected president as political interference.

They see what they want to see, what they think helps them politically and electorally, and they’re blind to the rest. This is highly unprincipled. And again, it’s dangerous as well.

After all, one reason the institutional Democratic Party nearly lost to Sanders, a highly principled man — and did lose to Trump, a man who pretended to be principled — is that plenty of voters in key states were just tired of being taken for a ride by “say one thing, do another” Democrats. Tired, in other words, of unprincipled Democrats — tired of job-promising. job-killing trade deals pushed hard by both Democratic presidents, tired of the bank bailout that made every banker whole but rescued almost no mortgagees, tired of their reduced lives, their mountain of personal debt, tired of the overly complex, profit-infected, still-unsolved medical care system — tired of what 16 years of Democrats had done to them, not for them.

If Democrats want to start winning again, not just the White House, but Congress and state houses, they can’t continue to be theseDemocrats — unprincipled and self-serving. They must be thoseDemocrats, Sanders Democrats, principled Democrats instead.

Does the above litany of complaint about political interference when it suits them, and non-complaint when it doesn’t, look like principled behavior to you?

Which brings me to the end of this part of the discussion. If some people see this party behavior as self-serving hypocrisy, you can bet others do as well. Democrats can only turn this decade-long collapse around by not being who they appeared to be in the last three election cycles. They have to attract the Sanders voters who stood aside in the general election and see them very negatively. Yes, Democrats will continue to get votes — some people will always vote Democratic. But in the post-Sanders, post-Trump era, will they get enough votes to turn the current tide, which runs heavily against them?

I’m not alone in thinking, not a chance.

But this is the long form of what I wanted to say. For the elevator speech version, just read the three tweets at the top. I think they capture the main points very nicely.

Glenn Greenwald: “The Deep State Goes to War with the President-Elect, and Democrats Cheer”

Greenwald’s take is very similar to mine, and there’s much more research in his excellent piece. Writing at The Intercept, he says (emphasis in original):

The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer

In January, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.

This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”

Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.

You can see where this is going. The “deep state,” the CIA, NSA and the rest of the unelected national security apparatus of the U.S., is going to war with an elected president even before he takes office, and Democrats are so eager for a win that they’re siding with them.

Did Russia attempt to interfere in the U.S. election? Of course, and Democrats condemned it. Did the agents of the FBI et al attempt to interfere in the U.S. election? Of course, and Democrats condemned it. Is the national security state today interfering in the outcome of a U.S. election, by trying to destabilize and force its will on the incoming administration? Of course, and Democrats are cheering it.

As horrible and as monstrous as this incoming administration is — and it will prove to be the worst in American history — who would aid the national security apparatus in undermining it?

Apparently, the Democratic Party. Greenwald continues:

The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There are a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.

But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.

And Greenwald agrees that this tactic is not just craven; it’s also dangerous:

Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless, who deploy any journalistic tactic no matter how unreliable and removed from basic means of ensuring accuracy?

All of this, don’t forget, rests on the one document mentioned above, the material summarized in an appendix to the classified version of the security services’ report on Russia (emphasis mine):

the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

I’ll send you to the Greenwald piece for much more of this detail. As I said above, this story has seemed muddy until now, but it just came clear.

A Coup in the Making 

This is not a game, even at the electoral level. It has nation-changing, anti-democratic consequences. Democratic voters fear a coup, or a kind of coup, led by the Trump administration, and for good reason. But there’s another coup in the making as well, and Democrats are cheering it.

If a Republican elected official had publicly warned Obama not oppose a policy the Republicans and the CIA/NSA favored because “they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you,” what would — what should — our response to that be? Mine would be horror and shock that a Republican had dared make that threat, followed by fear that he, and the agencies behind him, will make good on it. At which point, it’s farewell democracy, likely for a long long time.

Yet the following actually did happen (Greenwald again, my emphasis): “Just last week, Chuck Schumer issued a warning to Trump, telling Rachel Maddow that Trump was being ‘really dumb’ by challenging the unelected intelligence community because of all the ways they possess to destroy those who dare to stand up to them.” And yet there was no shock or fear, at least from Maddow or her viewers.

And Schumer really did use the phrase “they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.” The video is embedded here. Is that how Democrats plan to defeat Trump? Is it better, more comforting, if a Democrat makes that threat and appears to side with the security agencies’ (the deep state’s) strong-arm tactics?

A coup in the making — not the one we fear, which may also occur — but a coup nonetheless. This really is not a game, and both sides are playing for keeps.

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  1. SantaFe

    Aside from the fact that his career was literally made by a document dump from guy who increasungly appears to be much more nefarious than the noble whistleblower he first apoeared to be (see recent WSJ article on Snowden), Greenwald is taking some very suspect positions regarding Trump and the Russians. Right from the start, he was actively working to discredit the journalists who were reporting these stories. He is quickly losing credibility among many who admired him.

    1. weinerdog43

      I too have become extremely suspicious of Greenwald and Wikileaks. Honest brokers/leakers? Perhaps. While it is certainly wise to be cautious of ‘news’ these days, it is also exhausting to try to ferret out what is accurate and what is spin.

      1. Lupemax

        Attack the messenger when all else fails?
        The “official narrative” even on NC?
        “If I wasn’t worried that Trump is going to launch an all-out War on Islam, or that one of “our boys” in the tanks Obama has theatrically ordered to the Russian border was going to go bonkers and try to “git some” for Clinton, I’d be looking forward to seeing just how batshit crazy it’s going to get.”

        1. tgs

          Thanks for that link. A truly excellent take on current events.

          The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.


          The current “Russian hacking” hysteria is a perfect example of how this works. No one aside from total morons actually believes this official narrative (the substance of which is beyond ridiculous), not even the stooges selling it to us. This, however, is not a problem, because it isn’t intended to be believed … it is intended to be accepted and repeated, more or less like religious dogma.

          Great stuff!

      2. tegnost

        a ferret and a dauchsund were both used to get into small spaces for rodent control, but a ferret is a weasel and not to be trusted. Be the dachsund, a worthy and trustful companion. Snowden did us all a great favor, would you rather not know what the security apparatus is up to?

        1. human

          I remain ambivalent about Snowden. His “leaks” only corroborated what many of us already suspected, given information from prior leaks, and, he stated that he wasn’t against eavesdropping itself, but, the unauthorized monitoring without oversight.

          Activity of the security state apparatus has since become normalized.

          1. pretzelattack

            he did leak, and his leaks provided more evidence for our suspicions. as far as i know, nothing he leaked has been shown to be false. whatever normalization of the security state has taken place started a long time before snowden, and as far as i can see his leaks have led to more questioning of the process, not less.

            1. human

              I don’t question the veracity of Snowden’s material. I point out that Snowden leaked nothing. He negotiated the transfer of his entire trove to Pierre Omidyar’s staff in a private agreement that has been extensively discussed, here and elsewhere. There has been, and continues to be, excellent analysis from GG and The Intercept, which gets some discussion at alternate news sites.

              The outcome at the MSM is that “questioning of the process” has been relegated to the back seat while immense amounts of time, effort and electrons are being used to shoot messengers. The content is never discussed, nor it’s implications, while highly placed individuals are exempted from the consequences of leaking and others have their lives ruined.

              1. reslez

                Please stop lying. Omidyar had nothing to do with Greenwald and Poitras when Snowden leaked his documents. That came years later.

                1. human

                  Snowden gave First Look Media full editorial and publishing rights to his documents. First Look continues to publish them as they see fit.

                  1. icancho

                    such nonsense. Greenwald (along with Ewan McAskill) were, at the time of their meetings with Snowden,working for The Guardian.

              2. FluffytheObeseCat

                [Snowden] negotiated the transfer of his entire trove to Pierre Omidyar’s staff in a private agreement that has been extensively discussed, here and elsewhere.”

                The Intercept and First Look did not exist at the time of the Snowden document release. Greenwald was employed at The Guardian then, Bart Gellman was at the WaPo and Poitras was freelance. As reslez indicated, you are lying.

            2. HopeLB

              William Binney,another NSA whistleblower and hero, stated on his Truthdig interview with Sheer (who talked and repeated himself way too much, not leaving much time for Binney to talk) that Snowden knew from watching what happened to the five of them (among them,Thomas Drake/currently pensionless and an apple store worker ) and that Snowden did it the only way it could be done and did the leak well by gathering so much information up there was no chance of plausible deniability.

          2. reslez

            Your “ambivalence” is one of the favorite tactics of people in CTR, who start off all their comments with “I love Bernie, but…”. Here’s how it works:

            1. First they gaslight you. “There is no surveillance. You have no evidence.”
            2. As soon as there’s evidence, they downplay it. “Everyone knew there was surveillance. This is nothing new!”

            Snowden’s leaks were crucial and necessary. State surveillance had been normalized long before him. He only told us it had happened. What happens next is a battle that is still being fought, despite the best efforts of people who weasel about “ambivalence”.

            1. human

              Perhaps you would like to change the record.

              Those who expose the nefarious deeds of the State have been mercilessly prosecuted throughout human history. My original reply only noted this to the commenter.

              You continue to attack the messenger instead of the content.

            2. jrs

              #2 is actually important (and not a technique), if Snowden’s leaks were nothing new than whatever his motives were (noble, horrible, whatever), it’s a great big nothing burger really.

          3. Waldenpond

            Yep. Snowden is not against the security state. He just thinks it needs a little tweaking. They just weren’t doing it right. We only get a very small fraction of data and it is dribbled out…. it serves to flatten out the response where people are just angry enough to write or call their representatives but not enough to tear out the cameras or abandon their devices.

            Snowden’s biggest claim to fame will be that he privatized leaking. Handed info over to a billionaire for profit enterprise with a very narrow agenda.

      3. pete

        Agree that Greenwald is pulling his punches and has lost his journalistic credibility on this
        Russian hacking and election interference matter.. Sad business, he did some good journalism.

    2. pretzelattack

      because they weren’t providing any evidence, as he explains in his many posts on the subject. the wsj doesn’t like snowden well there’s a surprise. clapper doesn’t like him either.

    3. Jack

      SantaFe you said “his career was literally made by a document dump from guy who increasungly appears to be much more nefarious”. Glenn Greenwald’s “career” was made long before Snowden appeared on the scene. That’s why Snowden chose him to release the documents to. He has long been known as a journalist who speaks truth to power. And what do you mean by this; ” He is quickly losing credibility among many who admired him.” ? Yourself? I see no reason why Greenwald should be losing credibility. Primarily what he is doing is in this particular instance is questioning the veracity of the documents being used against Trump and the means by which they are being “released”. That is one of Greenwald’s greatest strengths. He plays no favorites. As far as the WSJ article on Snowden, I assume you are referring to the now discredited op-ed (not an article) piece by Epstein? This self serving op-ed was clearly written by Epstein to promote his recent book and the “points” he made about Snowden have been discredited by many sources.

      1. Michael C.

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. Exposing the workings of the deep state is necessary if we are to ever reclaim democracy, if in fact we ever had it.

      2. DJG

        Agreed: Further, the recent article in the New Yorker, in which Malcolm Gladwell (who isn’t glib, of course) decides that Snowden isn’t classy enough is more of the same.

        Santa Fe: Greenwald losing credibility? Sorry. You just lost credibility, if you ever had any.

    4. Donald

      Speak for yourself. Greenwald isn’t defending the Russians– he is asking for evidence so we don’t have to rely on the intelligence community. And while Assange appears motivated by animus against Clinton, I have yet to see anything about Snowden that would make me distrust him more than the press. What I do see are a lot of centrist liberals acting like Joseph McCarthy.

      And even with Assange, wikileaks has been invaluable. The mainstream press largely gored its most interesting revelations — for instance, the Clinton camp privately acknowledged that the Saudi government supports ISIS. We hear much more shooting the messenger stories about dissenters than we hear stories about the message.

      1. integer

        Assange appears motivated by animus against Clinton

        Which is understandable considering she proposed killing him via drone strike.

          1. integer

            I just did a quick search using the phrase “Clinton drone Assange” using DuckDuckGo and then Google. I only checked the first page of results on each search engine, but there was a significant difference in what these search engines returned. As one would expect, Google presented a significantly more pro-Clinton selection of links. Anyway, here’s the Wikileaks tweet about it:


            1. integer

              Hmmm. Missed my chance to edit but if I hadn’t I would replace the second “using” with “on”, and “significantly” with “noticably”. No big deal, however in the future I think I will refrain from posting comments in the window of time between waking up and drinking coffee.
              Anyway, time to make myself some coffee!

            1. Harry

              I was kidding of course. The next phase of the joke would have been to extoll the virtues of Ecuadorean empanada and simple living in confined spaces.

      2. Procopius

        I don’t know Assange, so I don’t know if he has an animus against Hillary or not, but is it relevant? Where is the proof that any of the emails were tampered with (an assertion made and then dropped) or are not authentic? The assertion that Russian bureaucrats being spied upon (legally, I presume) while celebrating Hillary’s loss is not proof that they manipulated the election. Of course they were glad that the leader of the neocon push for war with Russia did not become president. I voted for Hillary and I felt some ambivalence over her loss because her hawkishness (who promoted Victoria Nuland?) scared me only a little less than Trump.

    5. diptherio

      Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ…well-known bastion of unvarnished TRUTH! Hahaha…and Greenwald was around long before Snowden, btw. Go on, pull the other one!

    6. Katharine

      At least in what I have read, Greenwald has been critiquing the stories published, as a good journalist ought. That is not the same as trying to discredit the journalists, an irrelevant ad hominem exercise. If you want to claim he has attacked individuals rather than questioning their reporting, please provide specific examples and links. Otherwise it is you who are actively working to discredit a journalist, without giving good grounds for your condemnation.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Agreed. Critiques of journalism are Greenwald’s beat so to speak. He was able to carve out a niche doing this in part because it was so desperately needed. Harsh critiques of a product are not personal attacks…… no matter how unaccustomed to criticism his target might be.

    7. timbers

      January 14, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Aside from the fact that his career was literally made by a document dump…”

      Not accurate at in the least. I’ve followed Glenn Greenwald long before the Snowden leaks. He was quite powerful with a multi-faceted career long before Snowden. Some Dems loved him when he wrote about Bush. When he applied the same standard to Obama, the Dem establishment started attacking him.

      Greenwald is taking some very suspect positions regarding Trump and the Russians.

      How is challenging and analyzing the Fake News the lying liars in our “intelligence” agencies “suspect”?

      The really good “analysts” (my term) like Yves, Lambert, Greenwald, Moon of Alabama – will sometimes be wrong. That’s part of analysis. That’s how you get to whats accurate and the best way (IMO) to combat Fake News and the lying liars in our establishment, government, business, and topically the “Intelligence” agencies.

      1. Brad

        SantaFe means that Greenwald shows insufficient patriotism in not snapping to attention as the flag of the CIA States of America is unfurled. AKA Greenwald is a “Putin pawn”.

    8. JMM

      Right from the start, he was actively working to discredit the journalists who were reporting these stories.

      Do you have any references for that? In his writings on The Intercept I have only seen him stating very healthy skepticism, but perhaps he did what you claim in some other venues I am not aware of.

    9. WheresOurTeddy

      “who increasungly appears to be much more nefarious than the noble whistleblower he first apoeared to be (see recent WSJ article on Snowden)”

      You quoted an Oligarch publication. Thus, the parenthetical phrase at the end of the statement above negates what came before it.

      1. jrs

        no, MSM publications have an agenda, but it very far from follows that everything they print is false.

    10. Waking Up


      Glenn Greenwald “discredits” journalists who report unsubstantiated information because the main stream media and the vast majority of “journalists” in the United States won’t touch it. I think we are seeing out of control intelligence agencies and am glad that there are at least a few journalists who aren’t afraid to fight back.

    11. reslez

      Greenwald’s career was “made” when he stood up against GWB’s reign of illegal surveillance. Refer to the NYTimes bestseller What Would A Patriot Do?

      Snowden told the American people the truth about their government at great personal expense. His evidence, which could not be disputed our doubted, revealed that intelligence community officials at the highest level had been lying under oath to Congress about domestic spying. Snowden deserves better than anonymous aspersions from partisan bootlickers like you.

      You are the one taking “suspect positions” in order to benefit a partisan storyline that is actively destroying this country. People like you are putting this country on a path to war in order to score political points, and that is the most “nefarious” thing about this entire sordid fiasco.

    12. Lambert Strether

      > He is quickly losing credibility among many who admired him.

      That trope is so shopworn. “I used to respect X until they did Y.” Lordie.

      I’ve been blogging since 2003 and I remember when Greenwald was a mere sprat on Blogger. Greenwald earned a reputation for integrity (and pugnacity) long before Snowden, in fact long before today’s spate of document dumps had begun.

      No doubt Greenwald’s excellent and pre-existing reputation was one reason Snowden chose him.

    13. Lambert Strether

      > the journalists who were reporting these stories.

      Adding.. There have been “journalists” on this? Doing “reporting”? News to me….

  2. TedHunter

    The argument is convincing.

    I like the use of “careerist” ; it should be used more often, as it describes the motivation of a rather large number of decision-makers I’ve met.

    1. Katharine

      I would hate to see it used more often. I have heard of its being applied to a grad student who–wait for it!–actually hoped to have an academic career and recognized the forms that had to be gone through to achieve that. There are places where it is an appropriate description, but it is one of those vogue words (like narcissistic) which become void of meaning through overuse.

    2. nonsense factory

      CIA careerists are likely upset at the prospect of being shipped abroad, hence their outrage at Trump and Michael Flynn.
      Foreign Policy Blogy 1/07 CIA restructuring proposed

      Team Trump is working on a plan “to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world,”

      And the main reason Clinton Democrats are jumping on this bandwagon is that they want to blame their gross electoral failure on “external forces”, not their own terrible record of sabotaging the middle class in favor of elite Wall Street interests. Their current fear is progressive Sanders Democrats kicking them out of the DNC and other party organization leadership positions (which just happened in California); hence their willingness to get behind bogus claims on DNC hacking and Russians running Trump.

      As far as the FBI’s Comey, notably he acted to protect Clinton when the great fear was that she’d be defeated by Sanders; notably the FBI didn’t access DNC servers to look for evidence of a hack (it was probably an internal leak), and Comey’s refusal to recommend criminal charges for Clinton during the primary was a service to the Clinton Democrats.

      And the DNC was just so sleazy, no wonder they alienated all the Sanders supporters for the general election:

      It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.- DNC CFO Brad Marshall

      1. Procopius

        As far as the FBI’s Comey, notably he acted to protect Clinton when the great fear was that she’d be defeated by Sanders;

        You may be right. I don’t know what evil lurks in the hearts of men. From half-way around the world, it looked to me like his first statement, declining to recommend prosecution, was long-term undercutting of Hillary. The October and then November 6 letters about Weiner’s laptop had a huge negative effect on Hillary’s campaign. I do not pretend to understand why President Obama did not fire him forthwith — as he really should have done after his first unprecedented editorial comment on an investigation.

  3. Fiver

    Here’s an account by Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector on the Iraq WMD investigation. It certainly appears to me from this and a number of sources that what we have is a scandal of mammoth proportions that would suck in the senior leadership of both Parties, the Intelligence Community, the State Department, the White House and of course all of the various surrogates throughout media, were this all subject to an independent, credible investigation.

    I very much doubt that will happen, even should Trump survive and demand it. Just as the 9/11 Commission was a farce, just as the craven non-investigations of global financial disaster-spawning Wall Street crimes or grotesque Bush war crimes utterly hollowed-out the rule of law, the gigantic stake through the heart of US democracy that was this disastrous political fiasco just happens to advance and further empower the very worst interests operating in the US.

    And as Snowden reports, Obama, on top of everything else gifted Trump (or Pence) in terms of Executive power has also given the entire US Intel Community access to NSA information. That’s it. At that point the Deep State can set-up or take down anyone. They’ve presented the American people and world with the perfect lose-lose: instead of Trump and no showdown with Russia, it’s Trump with a showdown with Russia, or Pence with a showdown with Russia. And not matter what, the consolidated IC now has legal authority to run riot.

    1. steelhead23

      Excellent post. Many of us are appropriately disinterested in the specific allegations made in that dossier. Yet this rather bizarre behavior by the Deep State is frightening. Given these circumstances, it is not too surprising the man has selected Gen. Mad Dog Mattis to run his defense. He would be well-advised to clean house among the upper echelon of the nation’s intelligence apparatus as quickly as possible. I don’t much care for Mr. Trump, but carry much more animosity toward the Deep State.

      1. Jagger

        He would be well-advised to clean house among the upper echelon of the nation’s intelligence apparatus as quickly as possible

        The intelligence apparatus now has immense power and has developed it own objectives outside of political control. It needs to be broken up and reined in, ensuring it is tightly controlled. Particularly, the intelligence community cannot have the tools, such as mass internal NSA surveillance, allowing it to interfere in our internal political processes. I imagine Trump now has the incentive to take on the intelligence community. Whether he will be successful or not, only time will tell.

    2. Allegorio

      Bravo! We will know that democracy has returned to our nation when the war crimes tribunals are convened and not until then.

      1. EoinW

        Exactly right! Too many people in western society, who should be tried for war crimes, are still running things. Our soul won’t be saved until they are put in prison.

  4. Altandmain

    The gloves come off and the plutocracy shows its true self for all those whose eyes are open.

    We’ve got multiple wrongs here. The Democratic Establishment, the Intelligence agencies, and the Pravda-like media form the Deep State, which is really controlled by the very rich. They are trying to cling to power here and extract rent from society for the very rich. In return, its political servants are themselves rewarded with wealth.

    Then there’s Trump. While I think he’s a very unsavory person and he will do some very damaging things to society, making up accusations of Russian hacks is not the way to go. So far not a shred of evidence has been provided that Russia was hacking. I doubt we will get any. That does not, as the article notes mean that Russia is guiltless, but so fa the Democrats are pulling lies out of a hat and hoping desperately it sticks.

    Like falsifying evidence to wage war in Iraq and before that Vietnam, this is a mark against the US intelligence agencies. This is also a mark on the Democrats, who are trying to use these as a distraction for facing up to the reality of losing to Trump.

    The sad part is that America is going to continue its decline unless this whole mess stops. It is likely that anyone truly principled would have to clean house in both parties and in many senior leadership positions across the US government. Then there is the matter of corporate America and its agenda of rent seeking.

    1. PonyBoy

      I say, we dump these two morally corrupt political parties, and start new ones, while refusing entry to them to those politicians we know to be responsible for the destruction of our Democracy.

          1. Harry

            No, cos its just so much easier to do, but also cos they are not their parties to just take over. We can and should take them back, and actually we already have done so in the uk.

            1. jrs

              only technically they ARE their parties to take over, they are private organizations. Sure makes a sorry excuse for a democracy though. to have our policies determined by two unregulated private organizations.

    2. Phil

      This has nothing to do with plutocracy, desperate or otherwise, “clinging to power.” It is self-evidently a struggle within the power elite: some rich against some other rich. The non-rich as yet remain in the audience, yelling at the movie screen.

      The people who threatened and fought this Nietzschean Superman, immune to ressentiment, now rightly fear for the integrity of their organizations–built up painfully over a lifetime of threats, bribery, blackmail, extortion, and sometimes just good old patronage–the collapse of which might have more than merely financial consequences for them. When the boss fails, the cohesion of such organizations can quickly evaporate with into a stink of burned promises and empty threats, a very unhealthy situation for the old bosses’ Swiss Guards.

      This show is still just “The Godfather,” or “Rome.” Hopefully the entire power elite does not self-immolate and leave a power vacuum, because that is when it all really goes south and becomes “A Tale Of Two Cities.” Personally, I hope that people can just move on to the next election. It’s what Bernie would do.

    3. Allegorio

      As unsavory as Trump may or may not be, or whatever else he does, history has conspired to turn him into a great president, if he indeed does drain the swamp and shuts down the unelected and despicalble military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about and can thereby save millions of lives all over this planet of ours. Can he live up to the challenge? If he will do that who’s going to begrudge him a golden shower or two?

    4. Procopius

      Do not fail to include the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, aka the Republican Establishment, in the Deep State. There are no good guys on that side, either. I don’t know if there are any in the Republican Party at all, whereas I think there are a few in the Democratic Party, although not in positions of power.

    5. rd

      I think there is another, more political aspect also coming into play. The Democrats are between a rock and a hard place. Trump is clearly a pragmatic opportunist without a well-formulated ideology. He is a deal-maker that the Democrats may be able to work with.

      On the other hand, Pence is a conservative religious ideologue with whom it will be very difficult to negotiate unless you simply agree to his terms. Impeaching Trump will just get Pence in the White House which the Democrats probably view as a worse option from a political standpoint.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    I’m glad gaius and greenwald have said this, I’ve been thinking for weeks now that this is a coup taking place in real time in front of our eyes and nobody, from all sides of the political spectrum, or inside or outside the US seems to either notice, or object. This is incredibly dangerous.

    1. pretzelattack

      the ignorant armies are getting all lined up. i’m not sure how much is saber rattling, but i didn’t see this much friction during the bush gore fiasco. the miami brooks brothers riot may be comparable, but much smaller.

        1. beth

          Then you will be interested in “Back Channel to Cuba: the hidden history of the negotiations between Washington and Havana” by William M LeoGrande. Very interesting. Very detailed.
          It does not comport with what Washington has told us all these many years.

    2. Mark P.

      PlutoniumKun wrote: ‘this is a coup taking place in real time in front of our eyes’

      No. It’s still an attempted coup — and maybe more dangerous for being that:. It’s interfactional elite fighting at a high level. Such a situation in the old USSR tipped over into being the plot to remove Gorbachev, and then the events that unfolded from there into the USSR’s collapse.

      I think this probably isn’t the US tipping point. But it’s scary. I increasingly buy into Peter Turchin’s interpretation of things

      1. hemeantwell

        It’s still an attempted coup…It’s interfactional elite fighting at a high level.

        Agreed, at least for now. The clear intent is to prevent Trump from undercutting anti-Russia policy by delegitimizing him. He can be ground down and blocked without a coup as such occurring. Someone with more knowledge of 70s political history should compare this to what happened to Carter.

        Also relevant is a recent post at Sic Semper Tyrannis concerning rumors that the Trumpites plan to overhaul/purge the intel agencies, ending many careers. It’s not hard to imagine threatened cliques rationalizing career preservation with military-industrial patriotism to go after Trump.

        Gaius’ highlighting of the Schumer statement is great. It’s like he saved someone the trouble of hacking his email. We need to come up with an Delegitimationometer that captures trends in that aspect of our systemic crisis.

        1. Art Eclectic

          The clear intent is to prevent Trump from undercutting anti-Russia policy by delegitimizing him.

          Can’t necessarily blame them, though. We’ve elected the most unqualified leader in American history. Whether you agree with Trump’s policies or not, it’s clearly an attempt to reduce his influence on what has been decades of work by the IC to steer policy. They simply aren’t going to allow a game show buffoon to eff up their work. They’ll let him build walls and save coal mining jobs all day long, but they’re sending a very clear message that he needs to stay out of international relations and war making. That’s their job and they’re making it clear to him.

          1. Roger Smith


            While Trump is clearly not the best man for the job, he met every requirement established. This qualification lingo is bollocks hammed up by the status quo consensus in an effort to delegitimize Trump and their other challengers (Sanders) and they failed. Of course it is good for candidates to have relevant experience but this was all about meritocracy slithering its way in to government. Anyone of us can be president (w/requirements) including movie stars, so I cannot say I am against them running either generally. If whomever wins, the win.

            I personally can blame the IC and would get behind whomever it was trying to make relations better vs creating more war.

          2. Another Anon


            So you are saying that the intelligence community should
            have final responsibility for choosing who should be president ?
            That sounds like you want to be a slave, not a citizen.

            As for setting policy, the intelligence community works for the
            president, not the other way around.

          3. WheresOurTeddy

            Spoken like a true bootlicking slave.

            Those who would trade essential liberty for the feeling of security deserve neither.

          4. Fiver

            “…but they’re sending a very clear message that he needs to stay out of international relations and war making. That’s their job and they’re making it clear to him.”

            The record demonstrates unequivocally that ‘they’, meaning the US State, have so successfully done ‘their job’ that most of the world regards the total failure of US democracy to restrain financial/corporate/MIC power as the Number 1 threat to peace, stability, sovereign independence, democracy, good governance, economic health, environmental health, and all the rest. The simple fact is that the credentialed elite long ago sold out the broad public interest – thus the complete lack of legitimacy of US policy as experienced elsewhere has come full circle to roost. The decision taken by US policymakers prior to WWII to enter that conflict with the intention of coming out the other side with a de facto global Empire was in every respect ruinous to the real interests of the American people.

          5. Brad

            You can blame them to trying to undermine Trump on *this* issue. They, and the liberal Dems, are not trying to undermine Trump on the basis that he’ll give away the candy store to the 1%. That should tell you where the LibDems really stand: the Trump gang can steal all, so long as they toe the line on Russia. They will cover their own complicity by exploiting Trump corruption with their usual demagoguery until 2020. But it’s all empty words, just like the Obama Presidency.

            And as for effing up the fine work of the USIC’s, well don’t you think they’ve effed it up enough all on their own? Need we repeat once again the long list of CIA blowback disasters?

            1. jrs

              “They, and the liberal Dems, are not trying to undermine Trump on the basis that he’ll give away the candy store to the 1%. That should tell you where the LibDems really stand: the Trump gang can steal all, so long as they toe the line on Russia”

              +1000 so true

              Yea Trump actually is unqualified of course, no political experience AT ALL, but anyone who makes the argument we should trust the IC instead, who have only orchestrated bloody coups the world over has completely discredited their own argument about what qualification might be.

        2. jrs

          “The clear intent is to prevent Trump from undercutting anti-Russia policy by delegitimizing him.”

          Yes and this is truly sad and tragic. A lot of Trump policy is likely to be horrible any way you slice it (and it’s not getting much opposition to fight it right now either). But this was one of the few GOOD things about Trump. And it’s being destroyed by spooks and Dem spook sycophants. So instead of taking advantage of the good parts of Trump and fighting all the rest, they are undermining those.

    3. reslez

      I guess the Praetorian guard decided
      to reveal who actually rules the country.

      These institutions were given imprimatur by GWB to do absolutely anything they wanted. And Obama the Drone King happily doubled down. Democrats and Republicans are mother and father of the new regime, one that will eventually erase them. The secret state serves only itself.

    4. Crazy Horse

      How soon we forget the coup that placed Little bush in the Presidency in the bush-Gore election. Had the same falsification of election results through chad miscounting, gerymandering and Diebold manipulation taken place in any other country it would have caused all sort of hand wringing about those degenerate third world countries.

      Soon after, the virtual coup built upon the false flag attack of 911 and the fear it engendered brought us the Homeland Security State and Permanent Warfare.

      When I hear people moaning about the threat to Democracy posed by the Orange Tweeter, I can only shake my head. Schrodingers’ cat is already dead.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        The attention span of the average American rivals that of a goldfish.

        Someone offhandedly said “we’re going down a fascist path” and I said “yeah since about December 1913 by my reckoning.”

        Blank stare.

        1. Norb

          The ownership class protecting their own at the expense of everyone else. Rulers and subjects- social evolution has been grinding along for thousands of years and the issue is still not settled. It will be interesting when resource depletion puts an end to easy compromises between the have and have nots. The sharing economy meme is an attempt to hijack the sentiment of cooperation and solidarity. Greed is not good.

  6. TMoney

    “Just last week, Chuck Schumer issued a warning to Trump, telling Rachel Maddow that Trump was being ‘really dumb’ by challenging the unelected intelligence community because of all the ways they possess to destroy those who dare to stand up to them.” And yet there was no shock or fear, at least from Maddow or her viewers

    I didn’t hear this on MSBC, but I was screaming at the radio in my car when I hear similar in an NPR interview. Apparently I’m a secret Trump supporter and not a progressive after all. This is a threatened coup and yet none dare call it treason.

    FWIW, there was a TV show showing the leftish version of this in the UK, called A Very British Coup. It’s a bit dated now – from the late Eighties.

  7. nevertyranny

    If there is a coup, be prepared for civil war. I certainly will not accept subversion of democracy, and I’m sure that 100 million plus patriots armed to the teeth with guns will not either.I don’t care how bad trump is, I refuse to live with a democrat led cia coup.

    1. oho

      in the 1 in near giga-zillion chance that the turds hit the fan, there would be no civil war—solely cuz i highly doubt anyone will take up arms to fight for, kill for, die for Chuck Schumer, Lindsay Graham and the oppressed minorities of Potomac, MD and Georgetown, DC.

      Besides all of America’s food (even when it’s ‘local’) is grown, transported and distributed in that ocean of blue on the 2000 – 2016 electoral maps.

      Or maybe the elites will truly go full-mentally challeneged and we’ll see the DC Commune and Manhattan Commune 2019

  8. bwilli123

    If we are to believe the allegations then I think at least two questions arise from all this.
    1) How was an ex MI-6 agent ( who had been barred from re-entry into the Soviet Union for the last 20 years) able to assemble such an amazingly pertinent, well situated and/or connected crew of informants on a budget that would seem to be less than that of competing Agencies ( CIA,NSA,MI6 etc etc) with their 100,000’s of employees?
    Are we not better off sacking all of the previous and just employing this one guy?
    2) Was it only in Moscow that The Donald got up to these shenanigans? Was it something in the water? Or is he like this every time he has had a sleepover anywhere? Or only where the Obamas have preceded him?
    Can we expect that he will continue the practice in every Whitehouse bed in which they have potentially slept? Is it only the Obamas that he feels so strongly about, or are there other Democrats former beds that we haven’t yet heard about?
    The security of the West depends on answering these questions to our satisfaction.

    1. craazyboy

      1) How ?

      Answer your phone when anyone from Ukraine or “Eastern European Intelligence” calls. Doesn’t cost much at all, and then you can make dossiers and reports and sell ’em! [step 3 -> Profit!]

      2) Donald is certainly a pisser, but the extent of it is still unproven. Maybe his ex or current wives will come forward and explain how the Donald really does it? The truth will be hard to suppress forever. However, in the mean time, Putin retains full control over our government. That may be a risk forced upon us we just have to live with. Similar to “lesser of two evils” voting. But, what can one do. ‘Tis frustrating.

      1. Katharine

        2) Why on earth are we supposed to care?

        All the media time wasted on politicians’ sex lives, in which I for one have no interest whatsoever, is time not spent on covering what is going on in Congress, or ferreting our corrupt relationships between politicians and businessmen. The willful avoidance of the subjects that matter is by far the greatest sin of the mainstream media.

        1. craazyboy

          The media and TPTB certainly seems to think that either constant racism scandals or sex scandals is all we need to satisfy our appetite for bread and circus. But, personally, I always like playing with my news before I digest it.

  9. Scott

    Tired, in other words, of unprincipled Democrats — tired of job-promising. job-killing trade deals pushed hard by both Democratic presidents, tired of the bank bailout that made every banker whole but rescued almost no mortgagees, tired of their reduced lives, their mountain of personal debt, tired of the overly complex, profit-infected, still-unsolved medical care system — tired of what 16 years of Democrats had done to them, not for them.

    Which sixteen years of Democrats are you referring to? Is it Bill Clinton and Obama (just skipping the 8 years of Bush) or is it Obama and projected Hillary Clinton?

    1. John Zelnicker

      @Scott – I would assume he means Bill Clinton and Obama since the Democrats doing to the people instead of doing for the people really began in earnest with Clinton and his DLC takeover of the traditional (FDR) Democratic Party.

  10. tony

    John Stockwell called CIA the American Preatorian Guard. Michael Parenti concluded that JFk was probably assasinated the the intelligence community for interfering with their plans.

    I think Trump understands this and that is the reason his cabinet is full of billionaires and respected military men. CIA is powerful, but it is not the Marine Corps should it come down to it. I’m sure it would not the that hard to find treasonous deeds by the CIA for a pretext.

    1. olga

      If you have doubts about the assassination, please read JFK and the Unspeakable (James Douglas) – could not recommend more (from someone who had not previously been all that interested in that awful event).

      1. foghorn longhorn

        One might also search for the video when the presidential limo was departing Love Field.
        For some “strange” reason the SS detail was removed from the JFK limo at the last instant.
        They were not pleased.

    2. Art Eclectic

      That’s why I take this “coup” with a grain of salt. My guess is that it is traditional for an incoming President to be made aware of who really runs the show and he WILL fall in line. I’d place money on Trump signaling that he’s not falling in line with anybody (not even his own party) and this is the IC strong arming him into compliance.

      We’re talking about a power structure that’s been quietly running the show for a good 50 years, if not more. They’ve got dossiers on every political figure and Trump’s is thicker than most. It’s been made clear that tax avoidance exposure threats (nor any other questionable business dealings, sexual peccadillos, multiple affairs and marriages, you name it) will make him toe the line. So, the IC is resorting to hardball.

      1. alex morfesis

        Click bait(& $witch) media waste too much time looking at “trending” $earche$ from garggle skamalytyx…

        my play on all this is the fake overpayments on govt contracts and:

        a1: you buy my girlfriends/boyfriends
        (husbands/cousins) phony overpriced junk artwork, or

        a2: pay for this “exquisite” well preserved original 1960’s classic americanna, or

        a3: buy over priced meals at my “good friends” bistro, or

        a4: make sure you rent my golf course front home for ten grand a day for ten days(tax free & non reportable) during that “sanctioned” & televised tournament

        Is all at risk with don trumpioni now looking to out everyone and everything…strike that…looking to negotiate everything and “cut out the fat”…

        leaving 50 thousand to 200 thousand mic-heads with their over cranked mcmansions in northern virginia and two payments sitting in the driveway…maybe a child or two with college payments due…

        The panic seems to be the skim…la mordida…the baksheesh that keeps the consultants and side bar operations flowing in the dc metro area may have a hard time flowing…now with the teflon don about to step over the stains in the carpet monica left behind and take his place in the seat of power…

        The panic is these dc klowns have been faking it for decades and they are not even qualified or capable of handling the job of assistant team leader at a church’s fried chicken, let alone go out into the private sector with their fairly useless, I used to be a spy cv…

        The elmer fudd brigade in dc is gonna have to learn to be happy chasing raccoons out of the garbage and how repairing small motors in their garage…

        Or they can try to lay low for 4 years and hope the teflon don flops…and come back out of the caves the way the iran contra krewe slipped back into the world with hardly a scratch mark…

    3. John k

      His appointing all those generals makes more sense to me now, CIA has been directing mil ops for decades, lots of lives lost in these stupid wars that benefit only MIC… military sign up to risk their lives to defend country, which of these wars did that? So maybe resentment between military and civilians safe in Langley…
      So far trump not backing down. IMO he will be inaugurated and will clean house.
      Picking tillerson was smart, get some big money on his side, and enough reps will support even without mcShame and graham cracker.
      Plenty of bad picks, of course.
      Wonder if kasich has regrets…

    1. andyb

      False flag would transform a soft coup into a hard coup. Declaration of martial law, followed by delay of inauguration, and Obama stays in office until everything is sorted out. Or they find an MkUltra patsy with the usual 3 names to assassinate Trump. Could be an interesting week to come.

  11. Carolinian

    While I agree that all of this is quite unseemly and horrible this post strikes me as overstated. Clearly certain parts of the MIC are out to undermine Trump but it’s anything but clear that they are doing any real damage and as the cliche goes “to strike the king you must kill the king.” Indeed Trump and his MIC turncoat Flynn are apparently busily cooking up a revamp of the intelligence agencies whose boss Trump will shortly be. Pat Lang–himself once a member of that intelligence community–has made this point. They work for the president and unless they are planning a coup which is the real thing they are putting themselves and their careers in more danger than they are Trump.

    The real villains here are the irresponsible media and particularly the Times and the Post who seem eager to get back at the unlikely winner who made them look foolish. As with all those other soft coups the US has been sponsoring, they act as the megaphone. Above all else media reform is desperately needed,.

    1. craazyboy

      Pat Lang also said the upper echelon are political appointees and easily fired and replaced at the whim of an incoming prez and his cabinet. Trump has 4000 positions to fill in the whole government, I’ve read. Perhaps some nervousness on their part that Prez Apprentice is on the way?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Guys like Clapper need to worry about more than jobs as they have problems such as lying to Congress.

        1. craazyboy

          The spook world dealing in global gossip, hearsay, tips, guesswork, power plays, money and control of nations sounds like a magnet for this whole “false flag” phenom we always hear about.

          They should make up some name for it. Maybe counter-intelligence? Then someone should put it in the Urban Dictionary.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Intelligence? Are you sure? I give that word weight it doesn’t earn in the intelligence were given — counter or otherwise.

        2. Bob In Portland

          Not Timothy, Well, the fact that Clapper lied to Congress just a couple years ago doesn’t seem to have bothered Congress during this latest round of BS. It’s like he got a mulligan for lying about what the NSA has been doing since ECHELON went into business. That suggests to me that in the corridors of power he’s chosen the right side.

          I doubt if Clapper ever sees anything like the inside of cell. Better odds he hosts the remake of “The Match Game”.

    2. EoinW

      Are they villains or masochists? The most beautiful thing in the past election campaign was the implosion of MSM credibility. Yet they’ve learned nothing from their mistakes. Instead they are doubling down on the same mistakes. They are digging their own graves.

      1. oho

        Never underestimate the synergies when you mix mentally challenged-ness and vanity. (think idi___y is a moderation trigger word)

        grab your Junior Mints and popcorn, the NYT + WaPo + HuffPo + CNN are going to give us statistically impossible levels of echo chamber comedy.

      2. Donald

        I wouldn’t be so sure. Just like the rightwing media can rely on a core group who will believe anything they say, there are plenty of suckers who call themselves liberal who will believe anything that supports their tribe. The phrase ” reality based community” looks like a bad joke now.

        1. EoinW

          Quite true. However that core group relies on political liberals to feather their nest. For instance, the strongest opposition to Trump in Canada comes from government employees, or retired ones – which is a very large percentage of the population!. Only makes sense to support the nanny state when government delivers. Yet with the global economy drowning in its own debt and heading towards implosion, this core group that believes in the status quo at all cost is in for a rude awakening.

          The key thing is that time is against the MSM. Everyday they lose more believers. Ultimately, the only people who will believe them will be those so apathetic that they never bother paying attention. You know, the type who have CNN because it’s part of a cable package. They’d never consciously pay specifically for CNN because they don’t watch any news.

  12. linda amick

    It could be that Obama will start a war with Russia before he leaves office in order to implement the Cheney alternate government thing that was implemented and trial ballooned during 9/11.
    That would effectively take Trump out of the picture.
    We have had 30 years of the Clinton/Bush Dynasties building empire making billions for themselves and all their co-opted parties which number in the millions.
    They are not prepared to turn over their power especially given the threat of investigation.
    VERY dangerous times now.
    Russia will employ scorched earth against the US if they are directly attacked.
    You can count on that.

  13. Justicia

    Attempted coup? Really? Sorry, I don’t buy the case Gaius and Greenwald are selling. If this is a coup, what was the Clinton impeachment, and endless investigations to chase down rumors from hyperventilating “sources”?

    Political scandal mongering is as American as apple pie, going all the way back to the ‘scurrilous lies’ about old Tom Jefferson having a young slave mistress (which turned out to be true).

    1. sid_finster

      Clinton committed a crime, and his crime wasn’t exposed by the IC, that’s just a few of the differences.

      1. Justicia

        The “crime” of lying about to the Inquisition about a sexual encounter that had absolutely zero to do with our national interests. The allegations of Trump’s entanglement with the Russians has everything to do with our national interests.

        Unproven allegations about sex tapes and blackmail are just red meat distractions. The real scandal is Trump’s refusal to come clean about his business interests. That he won’t release his tax returns is reason enough to suspect he has ties to the Russia’s oligarchy and Putin’s pets. His son admitted that the Trump business had interests in Russia long before this all became an issue:
        … at a real estate conference in New York in 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” he added.”

        1. Pat

          Excuse me, but there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Clinton was selling influence to foreign countries through her charitable foundations and that doesn’t bother you? When it come to our national interests did it ever occur to you that furthering Saudi Arabia’s agenda when it is behind the rise of ISIS is NOT in our interest, but is very lucrative? And that is only the tip of the influence peddling. So forget Bill, we already knew that Clinton was an approved crook but dealing with IC approved foreign interests that the people would not like.

          And just for the record everything you state about Trump is CIRCUMSTANTIAL. You have no evidence that any allegations mean diddly. Unlike say billions spent on known terrorists…

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Linking to Washington Post on this website is the #1 way to out yourself as someone who I don’t need to listen to…

        3. Fiver

          Please consider the following: how many people in the US Congress and/or revolving-door political operatives in agencies throughout the US Government have ties with Israel that compromise them with respect to their votes/positions on policy vis a vis that State? The answer at minimum is multiple hundreds – all told, thousands at any given point in time over a period of decades.

          And as to his tax returns, or any of the other allegations of serious misconduct (where did all the women go who publicly claimed he had abused them?) directed at Trump, if there had been any actionable evidence, do you really believe charges would not have already been laid? The whole thing about blaming Russia is that there’s no need for proof when it involves a thoroughly demonized sovereign entity that is not going to appear in Court demanding evidence, not conjecture.

        4. Brad

          You’re with the LibDem line, JustiCIA. Wasting you time here. LibDems & CIA will be quite alright with Trump looting the candy store.

          And why should anyone accept your premise: That the interests of the US and Russian regimes are somehow irreconcilably antagonistic. News flash: They aren’t. Unless you are one of those who thinks its really really important that US troops be stationed on Russian borders.

          Otherwise Trumps’ business connections to Russia are – what was the phrase? – “American as apple pie”.

          Am I guilty of treason now?

    2. olga

      That was a way to keep pressure on Clinton to do what’s “right.” And anyway, the blob is not monolithic.

    3. dcrane

      Justicia – You’re changing the subject. If you want to convince others that this is not a coup, the thing to do is examine what’s being done now (and rebut the Gaius and Greenwald columns), not switch to considering what was done to Bill Clinton. For what it’s worth, I agree that the GOP abused their power in their impeachment of Clinton. But in the end, at least they were using real Constitutional powers when they voted to impeach. This business going on now is almost entirely extralegal and unaccountable.

      And however much we may agree that Trump should have released his tax returns, that issue was well publicized before the election (as was the claim that Trump is a Putin Puppet) yet he won anyway.

    4. Jon

      The Clinton impeachment was a coup. Clinton was effectively neutralized and his administration was being run by Gore and the neocon Principals Committee from 1998 going forward. It was under Gore that the illegal bombing of Serbia was authorized.

  14. gepay

    I have yet to see convincing evidence that “Russia certainly attempted to tilt the election their way,”
    Also even Green Greenwald is talking about the Deep State but here on NC one is labeled a “nonny nonny poo poo” conspiracy theorist if one talks about it in comments and sometime get their comments deleted. One should read Conspiracy Theory in America -how the CIA made this a derogatory label in one of their most successful opinion molding operations. – Lance De Haven Smith – Professor at Florida State University. So many Americans also didn’t believe the Warren Report so something had to be done. Justica – the reason it might be thought of as a coup is that two different factions of The Deep State are fighting with each other because the previously entrenched one lost the election Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura said when he assumed office he was invited to a basement office to talk to the CIA because they hadn’t predicted he would win and wondered why. Jesse was less than 10% in the polls but won because he did so well in the debates – This prompted the Dems and the Repubs to make the 15% cutoff for participation in the debates.

    1. craazyboy

      “The Blob” is the preferred descriptor here. Besides, you can’t really be sure it’s not Skynet deleting comments containing “Deep State”. Nor that Skynet isn’t deleting “The Blob” when Greenwald posts. After all, confusion, misdirection, opacity, divide and conquer, and soon, if not already, counter intelligence tweets, are the tools of The Blob.

    2. olga

      Yes, that as a strange sentence in the Gaius’ piece. Where is any evidence of that? Unless it just confirms that even if one does not believe the BS – it still has the power to shift the perceptions/language… Gaius, you ought to rethink that sentence – or back it up with real evidence.

      1. Gaius Publius

        Olga et al,

        Re “Russia certainly attempted to tilt the election their way,”

        Notice the word “attempted.” I think it’s beyond question that both the U.S. and Russia attempt to influence every national election they care about, and have done since the end of WWII.

        There’s more than ample evidence of U.S. meddling in elections, as recently as in Honduras under Obama and SoS Clinton. Can anyone seriously doubt that Russia also makes these attempts?

        Put differently, is anyone here suggesting that Russia never (or no longer) attempts to influence national elections, that it has unilaterally decided to stand down regarding change of power outside its borders? (To the latter question, the answer is certainly No.)

        What I didn’t say was that Russia was successful; nor did I specify its methods.

        Does that clear things up?


        1. Buttinsky

          Does that clear things up?

          No, it doesn’t.

          Gepay and olga complained that you presented no evidence for a very broad, and questionable, assertion, that Russia attempted to influence the recent election. You reply that, indeed, you specified no methods by which Russia attempted to influence the election, but that Russia must have meddled in the recent election because the U.S. does meddle in national elections.

          This is nonsensical and makes an unsubstantiated statement even more suspect.

          1. alex morfesis

            no proof the russians meddle in our election(s) ?? Buttinsky, pretzel attack, julia, witters, gepay and olga…you folks need to get out a little more often…every nation messes with everyone to the extent they can…McCarthy was not exactly wrong that there were russian and other communists in america, but he was just covering up for the operation paperclip krewe that had come to america and were sticking their nose in our business…there were white russians who had hoped the nazis would remove stalin and were in bed with them during and after the war(A-O)…world war two eliminated the power of eastern european royals to some extent, although many of them have slithered back into place quietly…where the air is thin in the power structures of the world, it is and has always been perpetual warfare…whomever juicyfur dooay is, there are many computer back doors and loose ends that russians put out there to create chaos and to be able to slip in off of script kiddie and other peoples work…

            let us not create some noble intent on the part of raz-putin…

            hillary tried to get rid of him when she was secty of state and failed…

            to suggest he did not want payback is hillarious…she stepped on and over hundreds of people along the way…she is and was americas nothingburger…

            as an aside…I am beginning to think the hacks were from taiwan…

            most people forget there was a dark cloud over america that used to be called “the china lobby”…they have been getting their butts kicked by china for decades…they may have decided trump gives them a possible resurrection…(who benefits…)…anyone can make anything look like someone else if they have some basic resources…if the russians wanted to hack, they could have just done van drive bys and used all the open and unsecure networks in america…and make it look like some script kiddies


            1. Buttinsky

              …every nation messes with everyone to the extent they can…

              Case closed.

              There’s a wonderful moment in Tennessee Williams’ novela The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Some old friend is trying to reassure the lonely, aging Mrs. Stone, a once famous but now retired actress, that people still love her. “Who are these people that love me?” Mrs. Stone demands — “I want names!”

              I want names, and not just from a Russia Today TV show criticizing the U.S. in 2012. :-)

        2. pretzelattack

          do you mean promote stories favorable to russia on russia today? in the present context “russia attempting to influence the election” will be interpreted by many to mean they hacked clinton’s email, and used wikileaks to sabotage her campaign, which, duly sabotaged, lost to the fanta fuhrer (h/t pedinska in an intercept comments thread). so far no substantial evidence of that.

          1. juliania

            Yes, and, unfortunately, to claim such weakens the whole argument. It’s superfluous and unnecessarily insidious-seeming. As if it is not possible to tell the truth without inserting that important non-truth (which might be seen to be actually more important than the main argument – if in fact the ptb is overseeing what you are writing.)

            In other words. “We’re saying what you would like us to say, but you have to swallow this one down as well.”

            I think Russia, who know well the trip-ups which might occur should their efforts become verifiable, would have in this instance gone out of their way to remain hands off. So, I don’t buy it.

            1. Buttinsky

              I agree. GP’s assertion weakens the whole argument, which would seem to hinge to no small degree on a concern for the principle of reliable and convincing evidence. GP quotes Glenn Greenwald to emphasize the shabbiness of the “one document” on which all of this rests — but then undermines any such concerns by conceding that evidence doesn’t really matter and that one gets to assert “Russia certainly attempted to tilt the election their way” without providing one shred of evidence — which would seem to be imperative in this context if only to clarify what might constitute evidence worth taking seriously.

              1. witters

                GP does it. So does GG. It seems (to them) necessary to “virtue signal” in this way. The question is, to whom are they signallling? And why? That is the taste left in one’s mouth.

                1. Buttinsky

                  Yes, a bad taste.

                  But my real complaint here is that the author is throwing a bone — to whomever — that is in fact one of the bones supporting the entire skeleton of his argument.

              2. Brad

                Regardless of GP or GG “virtue signaling”, its silly to credit hand-wringing over Russia trying to influence ‘our sacred’ but less than democratic elections. The prime minister of Israel personally flew all the way to DC to upstage a sitting POTUS before the hysterical applause of a joint session of Congress, because he didn’t want Iran sanctions to end.

                It’s not holding a brief for Putin – and here I’ll send forth my own “virtue signal” and say that the Putin regime is a right wing capitalist regime, just like (if not in the exact same way, obviously)…the USA! – to point out that Russia obviously doesn’t want US/NATO troops on its borders, and is generally deeply suspicious of US motives towards itself – not just towards the Putin regime, but towards the very existence of the Russian Federation as a unitary state.

                But of course it is currently treasonous to raise questions about the USA’s real objectives in re Russia.

    3. Lambert Strether

      >Also even Green Greenwald is talking about the Deep State but here on NC one is labeled a “nonny nonny poo poo” conspiracy theorist

      I’ve never understood why, but it’s a Law of Life that those who most pride themselves on their strategic acumen invariably insult the moderators, thereby self-disqualifying themselves as strategists. “nonny nonny poo poo,” forsooth.

      People who are vulnerable to appeals to authority — “even Greenwald is talking about the Deep State” — are also vulnerable to appeals to invisible forces, and so Greenwald’s usage is mischievous. That said, we’re probably stuck with it now, and the best we can hope for is that people understand that “Deep State” is a metaphorical placeholder for a concept that we don’t can’t express a structural understanding of, concisely. I don’t think that’s likely to happen, since people are already reifying it (rather like understanding rain as the result of the actions of Sky Gods rather than meteorology). Whatever its defects conceptually, it has an earworm-like virulence, and so has successfully propagated.

      That said, let me express my doubts on the concept, so readers aren’t deceived by your remarks.

      First, Peter Dale Scott’s definition of the term is incoherent, as I show here.

      Second, the concept of a monolithic state (deep or not) can’t give an account of factional infighting. Which of the factions is the deepest? The winner?

      Third, the concept reifies the state as distinct from civil society; Gramsci argues, correctly IMNSHO, that the two should be distinguished only as objects of study. For example, the “deep state” cannot give an account of Janine Werel’s Flexians and Flexnets (Steele, who moves between M15 and his own firm, and sells his product to both state and non-state actors, as a fine example of a Flexian).

      Fourth, we have a perfectly good concept and phrase that suffers from none of these defects, and whose semantic space “deep state” is attempting to colonize: “Ruling class” (or in short-hand, elites).

      Fifth, “deep state” privileges ignorance (which is why its pseudo-profundity so easily shades over into CT). What, after all, is distinctive about “the deep state”? Why, its very deepness, of course; that which we do not know. The world-view: That which we do not know is the fundamental driver in politics. This is, of course, a superstitious or world-view — the next step would be diviners interpreting the unknown using sacred texts or the entrails of animals — and therefore necessarily ahistorical and disempowing. I would argue, instead, that the fundamental drivers of politics are all in plain sight; “the real scandal is what’s legal.” We don’t need “the deep state” to know that we live in an oligarchy; we don’t need “the deep state” to know the deep care and solicitude for oligarchs that the political class has (“I stand between you and the pitchforks”). Sure, there are many useful narratives, some even true, that can be discovered by bringing the hidden to light, but they function at the “retail politics” level. Not there’s anything wrong with that. In its place.

      I like to know my enemies, and I like the analytical tools I use to detect and fight them to be sharp. Your mileage may vary, and apparently does.

  15. tgs

    I think most of Gaius’ analysis is correct. In my 64 years, I have never seen such an attempt to discredit and potentially oust a president elect before he is sworn in. We can call that a coup or not but that is just a question of semantics. He is absolutely correct about the Democrats. Their new found reverence for the intelligence agencies and treating McCain and Graham as brothers in arms is a sight to behold.

    As to ‘Russian interference’? There has been no evidence presented, other than speculation about motives. And did Hillary barely beat Bernie? If so it was because of election interference. Remember the info released the night before the California primary? The liberal media’s constant inclusion of the super delegate totals in Hillary delegate counts? How many times did an ‘analyst’ on CNN or MSNBC say that Bernie had no chance – that it was mathematically impossible? Where the impossibility was the result of super delegates who had not even voted yet.

    And by the way, there is evidence emerging that the Ukraine attempted to interfere on behalf of Hillary.

    1. Phil

      What you say has been running through my mind–it’s not since Lincoln, really. Even Roosevelt did not face this to my knowledge–although that is not an area where I am strong.

      Still, it has never turned out well for the discrediting faction, possibly because they are, well, losers.

    2. Susan C

      They the Dems should get rid of the Superdelegates thing immediately as right along they (the media) were adding them into her vote tallies which made it seem impossible that Sanders could ever win. The day and night before the CA primary the media was already calling HRC the winner before one vote was cast which is a poor way to motivate people to get out and vote and feel their vote counted. However this blew up in her face on Election Day as everyone was told she would win and certainly many Democrats stayed home.

      1. tgs

        The point of the super delegate system, as far as I can see, is to prevent the American people from ‘hacking the election’, ie., electing someone who is unacceptable to our corporate overlords.

  16. EoinW

    Sanders a highly principled man? What’s this conclusion based upon? Is the writer not confusing two completely different things? Yes Sanders holds political positions that the reader, and many here agree with. But that’s not an issue of principle. It is a matter of opinion. The only time Sander’s principles were tested was after losing the rigged primary. He cowtowed to Clinton and the party. How does that make him highly principled?

    Yet the original comment is enlightening. There is a certain conceit to it that only those who share Sanders views can save the democracy. The unstated belief is that those who don’t agree are, as Clinton put it “deplorables”. Which explains why every reform to save America’s political system must come from the Democratic party. There are two routes to power in what is left of American democracy. But the Republican party is beyond the pale. Are left wing types not simply putting all there eggs in one basket? Shouldn’t all voters be laying siege to both parties in an attempt to salvage the democracy?

    Unfortunately people are still trapped in the old Left/Right, Democrat/Republican narrative. Even what’s left of the intelligent media can’t think outside the box. What I find most ironic is the idea only the democratic party can reform the system. Based on what, Bernie Sanders? Two names from the Republican side: Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul. Two men who do not hesitate to criticize their party when they know it to be in the wrong. So which party has the principled leaders to bring about reform? I know, I know, it’s a party of deplorables. Well conservatives consider you people to be food stamp bum sympathizers.

    There are over 300 million Americans. 99% of those people lead varied lifestyles and have complex viewpoints. Will such a group ever agree enough to change anything? It’d be a nice start if they could all agree that reform is necessary. Even nice if they could be open minded about it, instead of believing only their view of reform is what counts. Whether he means to do so or not, Trump is right, the swamp must be drained. But how many left wing democrat types can live with a Republican President draining that swamp?

    1. Katharine

      Since you ask:

      The only time Sander’s principles were tested was after losing the rigged primary. He cowtowed to Clinton and the party. How does that make him highly principled?

      He had said he would support the party nominee, and he did so. Keeping your word may not be part of your principles, but it is part of his. As you have noted, merely agreeing with you is not the test of whether he is principled.

      1. mk

        Funny how a behavior that proves integrity (keeping his promise) is used to describe Bernie as not highly principled.

        1. EoinW

          Everyone likes honesty, just as they like to think of themselves as being honest. Sanders kept his word which is nice. That does not change the fact that by doing so he gave his support to someone who represented the exact opposite of all he’d been fighting for. Okay we can call him Honest Bernie but what about the principle of standing up for his supporters, instead of betraying them?

          His honesty strikes me as being too convenient. After all, Sanders could be honest and continue with his political career. His supporters sacrificed much for Sanders, giving their time and money for the cause. How about a little self sacrifice from Sanders?

      2. Fiver

        Since when is a ‘promise’ binding when the party on the other end of said promise has completely shredded the moral, ethical and legal contexts within which the promise was made?

        1. Pat

          It is binding to a person who doesn’t allow other people’s ethics or lack thereof to determine his ethical standards, someone whose ethics are not situational. And even if that isn’t the case, Sanders may not feel that his promise was to the management of the Democratic Party but to the Party and its membership, which also would make the perfidy of the President/Vice Presidents etc a moot point.

          1. witters

            Um, Plato, The Republic, Book 1. Roughly: “You promised Fred you’d return his sword”. “Fred has gone mad!” Should you keep your promise? NO!

            1. Pat

              Ummm. Reality, the count had millions of Democratic voters selecting Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Nominee. That the Party cheated to try to achieve that outcome by suppressing the vote and manipulating the media does not change that by the rules she still got more delegates than he did.

              Just as the reality is that Donald Trump got dozens more electoral college votes than Hillary Clinton and if Clinton and the Democratic Leadership were remotely ethical they would accept the results of that election instead of jumping on every half baked scenario to deny him the position.

      3. Waldenpond

        [The only time Sander’s principles were tested was after losing the rigged primary.] Addressing a political party rigging their own primary is a separate issue from supporting a nominee. People are angry they were dumped from voter roles or had their delegates go against their state vote, etc.

        People are separating Sanders stated positions from what he is doing. Some bailed after his Russia, Russia, Russia townhall and others have bailed because of the (financially corrupt) headers he is advertising for regarding his protest. When someone’s statements and actions don’t match up, it’s an issue.

  17. Eureka Springs

    This is not a game, even at the electoral level. It has nation-changing, anti-democratic consequences. Democratic voters fear a coup, or a kind of coup, led by the Trump administration, and for good reason. But there’s another coup in the making as well, and Democrats are cheering it.

    Uh, “the coup” was complete upon the initial passage of the Constitution. Never voted upon by the people. Almost impossible to amend – certainly impossible by the people. We are not a Democracy. We have far, far more anti-democratic trappings than the other way around.

    The Constitution – which doesn’t even have the word Democracy in it.
    The U.S. Senate itself… both in its initial form and the latter amended form.
    Some would certainly argue the Electoral College itself.
    Our terribly corrupt electoral, bribed and bought system.
    A paper trail-less voting system… which is both designed to exclude and be manipulated. That said, we still know the super plurality does not vote for any of this…. and that is constantly ignored.
    As mentioned in the post – the very existence if the lying, secret, torturing, murderous, anti-Democracy intel community. Democracy in deceit is not Democracy.
    Two major parties which are anti Democratic in process as one could possibly manufacture, even in a fictitious sci-fi scenario.
    Secret law, secret budgets, secret wars… and wars waged upon our own people when they merely show up, much more rise-up against the status quo.
    Total abrogation of rule of law, especially when it comes to the rich and powerful, while we allow imprisonment of our brethren in far greater numbers than any other country in the world.

    This could go a lot of ways and it will probably get worse, but if the Trumpets take down the intel community as we knew it, it could be one of, if not the the greatest presidential acts in my lifetime. Whatever truths there are to blackmail by the IC on Trump there may be… there is every reason to expect the same is probable on every U.S. citizen while we allow them to exist.

    And how on earth can Senator Charles Shumer not be run out of NY and DC on a rail by now? By both the Secret Service and the people.

    1. Jim Haygood

      If the Trumpets take down the intel community as we knew it, it could be one of, if not the the greatest presidential acts in my lifetime.

      Testify, bro.

      While the succession of coups against democracy certainly goes back to the federalists’ runaway con con in Philadelphia, our current distress originated in Harry Truman’s decision to leave the wartime Military Intelligence Complex in place permanently.

      Now we see the disastrous result: an unaccountable Deep State that openly meddles in domestic politics, demands the president’s daily attention to its briefings, and becomes OFFENDED (as communicated through its stenographic flunkies at the NYT) when the president-elect doesn’t avail himself of its “services.”

      Wouldn’t it be great if on Jan 23rd the “intel community” were met by armed troops at their building entrances, distributing a two-word letter from the new president to each and every one of them: “YOU’RE FIRED.”

      Bring it, Lord.

      1. Waking Up

        We have 17 different Intelligence Agencies. I don’t know how others feel, but that seems to imply we are the most PARANOID country on the planet.

        1. Pat

          Actually what it says to me is that most of the military and a few other governmental agencies don’t trust our top intelligence agencies in the least, and don’t want them anywhere near their own operations. Hence the need for the Coast Guard to have their own.

  18. dk

    Very good breakdown of state of play, it think the early “political intrusions” by FBI and CIA are necessary starting points for any serious analysis, mad props to G. Publius for laying it out.

    Corey Robin asks what’s the CIA’s endgame? That should be obvious: more budget, and seats at more tables (legislative, maybe judicial); sic semper bureaucratis.

    A few things I’d add:

    – CIA (deep state proxy) has been among the parties driving the new cold war demonization of Russia since the “end” of the cold war in the 1990’s. And one can see why; Russia has been the geopolitical brass ring for centuries. Russia, historically and continuing through today, is un(der) developed, with low population/land ratio (~25% US density, ~6% China density), and abundant untapped natural resources (much of it in/under admittedly rough country). Every geopolitical interest in the world wants a piece of what Russia has (or all… why not, right?). Students of history already know this, it’s passe; everybody else (pundit/press and gen.pop.) seems to have no idea. One can’t assess the current scenario(s) without keeping this in mind.

    – The masters of both global propaganda and cyber warfare, over the last 10 years, have not been the Russian, but rather the Chinese. Yet CIA seems eager to throw Russia under every available bus, never mentioning China, which their own analyses indicate to be the significant actor, and greater threat, on these fronts. Cui bono? Greater threat, greater partner? China, more developed and economically committed, is certainly less inclined to outright war, so this not necessarily a completely naive play (just craven). Note that, geographically, China is roughly adjacent to Russia, and in the best position for military incursion and consequent economic advantage. But what we end up with is China blackmailing the US, deftly leveraging CIA?!?

    Sure, I maybe over-selling China’s role, but I don’t see how China’s presence and activity can be ignored in these scenarios.

    Finally, I ask, can Trump be blackmailed? How do you intimidate someone who doesn’t care what you say? (Okay, he cares, but he’s not cowed, he punches back, what he doesn’t do is STOP). How do you besmirch someone who presses forward despite so little stature and credibility in the first place? This could seriously backfire, but will more likely end (or rather, continue) in stalemate; an ineffective outcome for blackmail (and not a good precedent for blackmailers).

    1. olga

      Very true – on all wanting a piece of Russia…
      If one thinks about the global capitalism as running out of steam – i.e., out of ways, peoples, or places to exploit for ever growing profit – then the accentuated desire for the land that is Russia makes even more sense.

      1. Isolato

        Could I ask a simple question? Why is Russia considered an existential threat to the United States? Have they been moving tanks into Canada? They aren’t exactly Bolsheviks anymore,coming to ruin our “free markets”. Hell they aren’t even “godless” anymore!

        1. craazyboy

          It’s axiomatic. You just hafta believe. Plus, they want their eastern Europe back, because it’s a big money maker.

          1. juliania

            Our leaders still remember Kruschev banging his shoe on the UN podium. (It probably still has dents in it.)

        2. Gaylord

          Russia’s “threat” is against the dollar’s universal acceptance as the reserve currency, which also comes from China. It’s really a threat to the international banking cabal, which uses the US Govt as an imperial power due to its military (and clandestine) might.

          Remember Saddam and Khadaffi were challenging same.

        3. Brad

          Yes, this is the black laughing heart of the whole question.

          Dear Patriotic Flag Waving LibDems: What’s the big deal with Russia? They are capitalist like you and Trump.

    2. dk

      China might clarify somewhat at Davos:
      At Davos; China Seeks The Limelight As Trump Takes Charge

      The Chinese President, is set to attend Davos where he will become the first Chinese leader to address the annual conference. It is expected that he will call for a new world order and discuss globalisation.

      These are important issues for the established system of sovereign governance is in question and many of China’s major trading partners are facing an uprising from voters against open markets and job losses.

  19. Susan C

    Gauis is correct. This is very serious and once it is understood it becomes crystal clear.

    The trick is to take out of this equation the Democrats and their perceived intentions. This does not involve the Democrats at all. This is about the 35 page dossier and that it is legitimate. Steele composed the material from his contacts and then sent it to the FBI starting in the summer.

    This was talked about last night on MSNBC (Maddow and O’Donnell). Also see the article written by David Corn in Mother Jones published yesterday.

    1. Hen Kai Pan

      Like I said below, an ex-spook, evidently a high level one, British no less, writes like a teenager? And cannot format a text? And who shopped the ‘dossier’ around to the media?
      Another question: how did the media (CNN) find out about someone’s phone calls? Did they call up the NSA and said ‘we need a certain person’s phone records, how much’?

      1. craazyboy

        I think the background of Steele and the fact he was the source of the 35pg “dossier” has been confirmed at least a couple of independent ways and isn’t in question. So maybe he does write like a teenager, or maybe he cut and pasted Ukranglish unedited into his report, or dumped it into google translate and google ain’t that great….dunno. Could be more BS too. Patience.

        This report has been circulating in DeeCee a long time. Our intel people made 2 trips to a Fed judge with it to get warrants to track money allegedly sent thru 2 Russian banks earmarked as campaign funds from Russia to Trump. Apparently that’s a felony, at the moment. That judge turned them down twice. Then he apparently retired and finally the new judge approved a warrant. This took a long time, maybe 6-9 months.

        So this Report has spawned copies and proceeded along many parallel paths over a along period of time.

        1. Susan C

          Craazyboy – this is the first time I have heard about the money angle and the judge – do you have more info on this, such as a link or source? If in fact that is true, would the PE only be slapped on the wrist with a felony and where would that lead – to disqualifying him or impeachment, or with treason?

          Also would anyone know what would happen if there were a coup – would it take out Trump or Trump and Pence or the whole lot of them? Just speculating here. Would a new election then be called?

        2. pretzelattack

          so there wasn’t enough evidence to get probable cause for a search warrant? greenwald did mention that the dossier had been shopped around to the press for months, but nobody would publish because there just wasn’t enough evidence. i did read about some hoax about a russian bank funding trump, but i’m not sure where. do you have a link?

          1. craazyboy

            Susan C and pretzelP

            It was a newspaper article posted here in comments within the last 3 days. It was by another Brit, seemingly creditable. Plus I’ve come across bits of the entire judge story elsewhere, giving it more cred. But he detailed out how it slowly went – the first judge rejected it twice, a new judge approved the warrant. Also how the FBI/CIA and others had to form a special task force and get a warrant before being able to legally track down offshore banking activity.

            I’ll try and do some serious work here for a change and see if I can track it down. Give me a little time and check back here.

            1. pretzelattack

              i’ll try to search back through the archives when i have time (nfl playoffs). i know you aren’t a shill.

              1. craazyboy

                I’m getting close, but cigar is not quite in hand yet. This Guardian article
                is from 1/12 AM Links


                They mention one attempt at a FISA judge. I guess these are our secret judges the FBI and the oversea spook crowd use.

                The better, more detailed article I’m remembering was posted by a commenter, whose handle I didn’t recognize, as a link in his comment.

                This whole brouhaha began 1/11 AM, so the search timeframe would be from then to probably no later than end of day 1/12. Except so far I looked thru all comments in Links and Watercooler and can’t find it. As things go around here, it’s possible it may be in one of the other posts in that time frame too. I may try some googles w/ FISA as one of the search words.

      1. Brad

        Agreed. What’s more “serious”, Russkie meddling that no one supports or CIA meddling backed by a whole gang of LibDem patriotic flag-saluting cheerleaders?

        Stop getting sucked down these paranoid “deep state / conspiracy theory” rabbit holes. Sometimes matters are precisely as they *seem* to be.

  20. George Stubbs

    Interesting piece, but it assumes we do have a democracy to lose. We lost it long ago. The U.S. is an oligarchy now.

  21. sid_finster

    The article rightfully excoriated Team D but neglects to point out that the neocon (aka the majority) wing of Team R are just as on board.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Most all the neocons got on board with HRC once it became her vs. Trump.

      1. pretzelattack

        yeah, that was the main reason i regarded her as the greater evil, in the context of aggressive moves against russia. those darn neocons do love their wars.

    2. Jim Haygood

      One off note from Gaius:

      ‘… caught between an Obama administration that signaled clearly it wanted no indictment — political interference on their part — and a group of right-wing agents who clearly wanted one’

      Agents wanting to enforce the law on a Democrat when they’ve got plenty of evidence makes them “right wing”?

      “Professional” would have been a better choice to characterize those agents. It’s not a word that applies to their boss, James “I am not a weasel” Comey, though.

  22. Hen Kai Pan

    So someone buys the service of a private ‘cyber’-investigative firm, located in DC, who outsources the job to some ex-spook . Who owns the finished product, i.e. the requested ‘findings’? I’d think the client, no? If the private cyber-investigation firm went around trying to sell it on the free market, would its business not be finished? If its subcontractor tried to openly offer it on the free market, his livelihood would be finished, no? As an ex-spook professional, why does his finished product sound as if written by a 15 year old, who has not learned how to format a text?
    With all that leaking taking place, has the name of the original buyer (said to be a Repub) of said service been leaked? Or why the Dems would coincidentally use that same firm?
    Questions upon questions.

    1. cnchal

      How much for the finished product?

      Who paid and for whom was it bought?

      Was it sold multiple times, implying improved productivity?

      If it wasn’t sold, and given away, what is it’s actual value?

      There is a plausible answer to this question.

      . . . As an ex-spook professional, why does his finished product sound as if written by a 15 year old, who has not learned how to format a text?

      Formatting text wasn’t part of the spook’s training.

      More questions.

      How long will it take for President Trump to announce massive budget cuts to the “intelligence” agencies?

      Will President Trump ever leave Trump Tower?

      1. Susan C

        “How long will it take for President Trump to announce massive budget cuts to the “intelligence” agencies?”

        Has he not already announced that he is putting in new people to lead these agencies and that he wants to cut them down? He doesn’t like them – he wants to get rid of them.

        I wonder now if the intelligence heads he met with Friday told him to step down as it would be better for the country that way. Just speculating again –

  23. Expat

    The Democrats don’t say anything because they are part of the Deep State. There is no democracy in America. Representatives and Senators are elected for life (with a facsimile “re-election” every 2 and 6 years respectively). They spend their careers lining their pockets and perpetuating the status quo.

    Since 1940 the status quo has included the largest military-intelligence apparatus in the world. While East Germany had more people participating (as informants mainly), no other country or political system in history has come close to the US in terms of firepower, political power, pervasiveness and non-accountability.

    This episode is merely a polite warning to the Donald that his cavalier campaign bullshit and The Apprentice attitude to running things won’t work in DC. He will toe the line like his predecessors or be scheduled for a visit to Dallas in the new rag-top limo.

    1. craazyboy

      rag-top limo

      I hate starting rumors, but Lockheed started a crash program on November 6 to develop a self driving presidential limo. It will be collapsible and fold up for easy transport, even by a single black helicopter. It may float, if an ocean safehouse is called for due to red alerts or national security reasons.

      Trump will be in good hands. /rumor

    2. polecat

      Too many cats are out of their respective bags for a president to be offed, and not to have the public know full well of IC skullf#ckery …..

      I think ‘unintended consequences’ would ensue .. which would put the spooks straight inside the bulls eye of the public’s ire !

      1. Brad

        I’d love to egg on the American right who loves Trump, against the CIA! Tis the Final Blowback, let each stand in their place…Go git ’em boys!

  24. Bob In Portland

    What is the one thing that Trump won’t give the Deep State that H. Clinton offered on a silver platter? Hostilities with Russia.

    It seems pretty clear that that is what was on the agenda in 2017, and Trump’s unfortunate win in the electoral college seems to have thrown things in disarray.

    Russia certainly knew that prior to the election which is why they wanted Trump over Clinton. Now we get reports in Russian news outlets about NATO forces and American tanks nudging up against Russia. We have a President, almost out of the door, making decisions to worsen the climate between Russia and the US. If I were paranoid I wouldn’t be surprised of say, another airliner shot down, or some kind of skirmish on the Russian border, or perhaps something in Ukraine. But Obama only has a week. As we know from the history of the sixties, the intelligence services have no qualms about holding a Bay of Pigs, perhaps on the frozen tundra, leaving the new President with a war on his plate.

    If I were Trump I’d tweet something like, “Is the CIA trying to get the US into a war with Russia before I’m sworn in?” That would certainly reveal their intentions and perhaps consider it a high and inside pitch from Trump to the intelligence services.

    But if he doesn’t collapse and get on the war horse I’d advise Trump to get more foodtasters.

    1. John k

      On the plus side, all rumors say the secret hated working for the clintons, if so they might do what they can to protect him.
      I would advise avoiding open cars…

    2. tgs

      If I were paranoid I wouldn’t be surprised of say, another airliner shot down, or some kind of skirmish on the Russian border, or perhaps something in Ukraine.

      I guess I am paranoid, since I think what you describe is entirely possible. On the Teevee they are saying that Obama is sending the troops to Poland in response to what ‘Russia has been doing lately’. And what’s that? Well annexing Crimea in 2014 and entering Syria at the request of the Syrian government to fight jihadis.

      So, those count as signals that the Russians will invade Poland next? Only a moron would really believe that Russia would invade and attempt to occupy Poland or the Baltics.

    3. Fiver

      Anyone who isn’t paranoid about US intentions at this point is a statuette in a birdbath or something akin. Meanwhile, lost in all this is that Putin’s ‘aggression’ is having the truth revealed about anti-democratic practices and policies US journalists should’ve been revealing themselves. There is no doubt, though, that once US Intel had an angle they could pursue to implicate both Putin and Trump (this being the initial July 2015 discovery by the DNC that they had been compromised by malware that may or may not have originated in Russia) they fired up the Bullshitter and let fly in a completely unprecedented manner. It is a very big mystery to me how senior Repubs and Democrats and the IC complex walk all of this crap back, which is why I think it will all be buried forever in camera, war or no war.

      And of course there is now a very high probability that Russia, Iran and China especially will be false-flagged or otherwise drawn into some action that the US war-mongers can parlay into another major war – just maybe the last major war.

  25. Scott

    JFK was assassinated by Richard Helms and James Jesus Angleton. So then we got the two personalities of LBJ, and the proxy war in Viet Nam.
    We are in a slow rolling WWIII, which serves both the Russian Federation under Putin, and the Military Industrial Complex.
    Both organizations now are invested in war, war in Europe, no matter what it is sold as For.
    Benito Trump serves the corporations of the military industrial complex which are ecstatic at the realization of the rich of the Oligarchic unified Financial Terrorists plans to role on with the privatization of all government assets of either and anywhere national monopolies,
    Little press has covered the aim to privatize US Air Traffic Control.
    The contest for the US Executive office was nothing more than a contest between two Jet Setters with Boeings.
    Those who go further fastest win.
    Those who control the mental landscape, which is TV Land win.
    I live in NC, Not Conscious, North Carolina. 1899, or 1898, there was the only US instance of a Coup when at gun point the Progressive alliance of White Labor and Black Labor was put out of power at gun point.
    Replication of it all as regards voting rights was experienced during the McCrory Administration.
    I resigned my Precinct Vice Chair position in the Democratic Party because they could not do things in order, didn’t do follow up, and lie.
    Sanders is now subsumed into the Democratic Party will still saying he is an Independent.
    His “political revolution” became a joke when he did not Revolt when information about Clinton, & Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the officials of the Democratic party was just as useful to him as it was to Benito Trump.
    Gore made a movie and bought a TV Channel. Nader is on his book tour. Sanders released a book.
    Sanders failed to use the winning tactics of helicopter showing of himself, and when he does now, it is someplace in Vermont.
    I can promise you that if I had a Dassault Falcon and a Bell I could be president in 2020.
    Of course I have good reason to believe that with the installation of Benito Trump, which means tank warfare in Ukraine & Poland the apocalyptic riot will have happened and democratic elections will be called off, or barbarism will be the replacement for civilization.

    1. sally

      Could be the CIA had a dossier on Sanders, or somebody he loves, that tamed him. Would not put it past them.

    2. Waldenpond

      Trump means tank warfare… that needs a correction. Don’t cheat O out of his legacy. O is the one who has put troops and tanks in Poland.

  26. Vatch

    I’m confused. The headline says “Gaius Publius: Who’s Blackmailing the President & Why Aren’t Democrats Upset About It?”. Since the President is Barack Obama, I expected to find an article about Obama’s eagerness to please the giant corporations and the billionaires because he is being blackmailed. But the article appears to be about possible blackmail of President-elect Trump. What’s going on here?

  27. Adar

    I had thought for some time that NC and it’s respondents were the well informed, sensible people who could propose sensible ideas for the improvement of national affairs. While still largely so, the rising volume of hyperbolic statements is making me very unhappy. We’re in for a coup! No, it’s already started! Everything is crap and we’re all doomed! One hundred million armed Americans will not sit back and let this happen! The future for most of us citizens if all this transpired makes me very afraid. Am I the only one to feel this way? The man hasn’t even taken office yet – can we wait until he actually does something before firing away? Not that I have many other sources of reliable information to turn to…

    1. Vatch

      can we wait until he actually does something before firing away?

      In general, your point is valid, but Trump actually has already done some bad things that could affect all of us, in some cases quite severely.

      He nominated Fossil Fuels and Polluter Advocate Scott Pruitt to be EPA Administrator, Illegal Foreclosure Enthusiast Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary, Wannabe Medicare Privatizer Tom Price to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Public Schools Opponent Betsy DeVos to be Education Secretary. Every one of those nominations deserves severe criticism, and I have contacted my Senators about each of them. I hope you will too.

      1. Mel

        There remains hs brand: “You’re fired!”
        I’ll be real disappointed if he doesn’t use that a lot in the next few months, in some predictable ways.

    2. Fiver

      ‘The man hasn’t even taken office yet – can we wait until he actually does something before firing away?’

      But the whole point of the article is to question the validity of the tactics employed to either cage or remove Trump, as you say, pre-emptively – in order, among other things, to further empower the likes of skull-thumper Lindsay Graham, eternal payback McCain and any Bush will do.

  28. redleg

    How come nobody, and I mean nobody, has publicly questioned how “hacking” a political entity such as a party or political campaign can be a threat to national security?
    I find this, both the equivalence of party as government and lack of media discussion of this equivalence, deeply and profoundly disturbing.

    1. SomeCallMeTim

      Because it was (mainly) the Democrats?

      Also, yes, it’s very disturbing. Conflation of the Two Party System with America or The Constitution has been around since I can remember – the contrary is often hard to keep in mind given the entrenched narrative.

      1. redleg

        Since it was mainly Dems, I would think the GOP would find that a target of opportunity. Instead, the likes of McCain are leading the pack.

  29. mrtmbrnmn

    Clearly and predictably the Wall Street/War Street/Washington DC Axis of Evil is berserk with fear and loathing of The Trump. The wildest card in the deck. Their $tack of chip$ was all in for the money-grubbing war monger Hillary, the Queen of You Owe Me, whose corrupt posse of sycophants, surrogates & political pimps, ran the worst campaign in history on behalf of, perhaps, the worst candidate in history. Hillary wasn’t hacked or cheated out of victory by Russia or Martians. She lost it the old-fashioned way. She “earned it”. [*****] and Putin were the only cards in her deck. Finding themselves now in deep doo-doo, the Deep (throat?) State is still playing them. Not surprising. There’s no money to be made anymore on the War on Terror. Every drop of juice has already been squeezed out of that lemon (and we lost!). But the dim-witted and too gullible gen pop has long been conditioned and programmed for the old standby Default: The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Of course, they were never coming and the old Bolsheviks are almost 30 years gone in the dumpster of history. But the big military/industrial/surveillance/security moolah is still there for the grabbing. And the political/financial establishment motto is still: Where’s mine? As the great Nobel troubadour Bob Dylan once wailed: It’s not dark yet/ But it’s getting there

  30. Mitchell

    Let me dissent.
    What’s known about his connections with Russia are troubling enough. A great deal of his business success recent years has been financed with the money of Russian oligarchs which is to say Putin which is to say the Russian state. More simply put, the Russians own the president-elect.
    And of course, they’re not the only ones. Anyone who offers him a business deal will own him. But it’s clear personal profit is more important to him — indeed, the tax breaks without which he’s nothing rest on that — than being president.
    And how about all those Russia-friendly (and worse) advisers he’s choosing? 
    And I don’t know of any Russian initiatives that are so beneficial to the US and our allies. Awful as foreign policy is, I don’t know that catering, as it were, to Russian interests is the solution to that.
    And by the way, the comrade at the link is also wrong to claim we’re a democracy. Hasn’t been such in a while — unless rigged elections, mass disenfranchisement and serving only monied interests make up a democracy.

    1. Pat

      Really not going to war with Russia, another nuclear power, is of no benefit to the US and our Allies? Because even Clinton had to admit she was advocating for Israeli and Saudi Arabian desired policies that would lead to that. Apparently we have far different concepts of ‘beneficial’.

  31. Stephen Gardner

    Can we put Rahm Emanuel in the veal pen yet? Oh please let’s do it. If anyone belongs there it is that cynical servant of the plutocracy.

  32. VietnamVet

    There is a coup ongoing inside the beltway. The Democrats are totally out of power unless bipartisan Senators join together with 60+ votes to fight a war with Russia. To do so requires the accession of Mike Pence. At first glance this seems unlikely but there are all those political appointees and military contractors conniving to keep their jobs, fight a war, and advise the new Emperor from Indiana who they pulled out from behind the curtains.

  33. Oregoncharles

    I KNOW this is cavalier, but: didn’t Lambert call for gridlock? And isn’t the prospect of a Trump administration the strongest possible reason to want gridlock? It’s hard to imagine a better formula for gridlock than the situation described – as long as it doesn’t lead to an outright coup by the security state (personally, I kinda like “Deep State,” even after Lambert’s debunking.)

    As a bonus, we have the unravelling of the Democratic Party, especially if Mr. Publius is right (we shall see).

    Really, what’s not to like?

    1. Pat

      It should, but….

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty damn sure the people pushing all this the hardest don’t care one way or another about most of the things we were advocating to be gridlocked. And they will likely not stop until achieving a cold war with Russia at the very least, along with complete control over our foreign policy.

      1. aab

        I’m trying to look on the bright side. After reading the summary of the DNC meeting, it’s pretty clear Ellison will be rejected, even after his robust and shameful pandering. That’s how deluded and unrepentant the DNC is. Perez is weak and inept. The Democratic Party will continue to be useless. So useful gridlock will be between the Trump faction and the Ryan faction. We want Trump to win that, it seems to me. Then we have to figure out external pressures to undercut his worst actions — but since most of that would have been smoothly executed by the Clinton administration, that still seems like a better playing field for the left. The fact that the Dems will be impotently flailing under Perez and lose more seats in 2018 (almost guaranteed, at this point) will help the left in the long term, too. We just have to figure out how to get to that long term, which I realize is sort of like assuming a can opener, but not quite. I think we’re already a puncturing tool and we have a can; there’s just extra labor involved.

        Seeing what the CIA/neocon/Democratic elite nexus is trying to pull, I shudder to imagine what would have happened to Bernie, without billions of dollars, his own private security team and massive building, etc., etc. I am rooting for Trump to call back the tanks and shut down the CIA. Those would be good things.

  34. YY

    The interesting aspect of this intimidation/threat to Trump is the convoluted and public way in which it is being done. The meetings between Clapper and co with Trump, as I understand it, have all occurred at Trump tower, where one would have to assume that Trump has wired for audio and video all transactions with visitors. In these circumstances it is not even possible to state anything resembling a cautionary threat as these guys are not all that good at presenting subtle messages face to face.

    Why is there not all that much fuss about the public being told of obvious tapping of communications between Trump’s people and the Russian embassy. If the contacts are being aired might as well release the contents. The absence of that is probably more indicative of there being zero case against the incoming regime.

  35. Fiver

    If Putin had ever been in a position to blackmail Trump, he would’ve picked up the phone and called Clinton, who was after all the assumed winner from the moment she entered the race. For Putin to have gotten involved the way now claimed would’ve been known long ago by US CIA/FBI/NSA, who, if the claims are true, have been in a position all along to charge Trump with conspiracy with foreign agents to … fill in the blank. It would be Obama’s duty to charge him now if the evidence is there, but he hasn’t.

    I don’t see how this is going to work once Trump is in Office. If he’s innocent, or if the nature of his contacts with important Russians was known and monitored by NSA, and Trump was simply exercising his freedom to hold a different view of relations with Russia, as I think both likely, he will have perfectly legal authority and grounds to take his Pen and start making some short lists of people to purge.

    Trump isn’t going to accept being put in a Box. He’ll go straight to a press conference with a signed Order to take legal retribution, put it on a big screen behind him and demand to know what happened to the rule of law and Constitutional Order with respect to a President-elect or the, gravely, Commander-in-Chief. I don’t think much thought has been given to the consequences of a failed strategy, here, and it’s impossible to know what exactly a ‘win’ is if Pence and another Age of Congressional Reptiles is it and there are no voices of reason at all re US relations with Russia at this time. It becomes very hard to stop a war at that point.

  36. vidimi

    i think this is a good piece, but as someone who is a bit of a nitpicker, this really jarred me:

    As horrible and as monstrous as this incoming administration is — and it will prove to be the worst in American history — who would aid the national security apparatus in undermining it?

    the claim that it will be the worst administration in american history is just so overwrought and silly it does damage to the author’s credibility. itcould have just been left as ‘may be the worst administration in american history’ instead of trying to earn credibility with democratic fan bois. the claim is patently absurd as even for the people for whom this administration will be the worst – blacks and other minorities – it will still be better than just about any US administration prior to the civil rights era.

    1. Gaius Publius

      Thanks for the comment. As to this:

      the claim that it will be the worst administration in american history is just so overwrought and silly it does damage to the author’s credibility. itcould have just been left as ‘may be the worst administration in american history’ instead of trying to earn credibility with democratic fan bois.

      The Dem fanbois don’t like me much, as you may have gathered from my other work. Plus, evaluating Trump realistically doesn’t make me a fanboi — it’s possible to have no horse in a race, as the last general election may have proved.

      As to changing “will prove” to “may prove” — I’d been writing “may prove” in earlier pieces, but it just seems so obvious at this point. Once this wrecking crew takes office, we’ll all see their goals in action. They’re going to deliberately neuter every aspect of regulatory government they can get away with. The climate criminality alone will be worth the highest scorn.

      After all, what was the last administration totally staffed with virtual James Watts? Literally a wrecking crew, with zero good apples in the bunch.

      I may prove wrong, and you can remind me if I do, but at this point I’d even put money on it.

      Anyone else feeling more optimistic about Trump and his team than I, that he won’t find the very bottom of the corrupt American barrel, then drill right through it to new lows?


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