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Дональд Рамсфельд
18 января, 22:55

Senate Armed Services panel recommends Mattis to be defense secretary

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday overwhelmingly recommended retired Marine Gen. James Mattis be the next defense secretary.The vote, conducted during a closed-door meeting, was 26-1. The only senator opposing Mattis was Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.Mattis’ nomination, when it's officially made on Friday by the new president, Donald Trump, still must be confirmed by the full Senate.Mattis, who was head of the U.S. Central Command, retired in 2013. He required a waiver to serve as defense secretary since he hasn't been out of uniform for at least seven years. Congress already has approved the waiver, though it still must be signed into law by the president.Gillibrand was one of three Democrats to oppose the Mattis waiver in committee and the only one to also vote against him Wednesday.“Sen. Gillibrand voted 'no' on Gen. Mattis’ confirmation in committee today because she believes civilian control of the military is fundamental,” her spokesman, Marc Brumer, said in a statement.While the committee acted before Mattis has officially been nominated, there is some precedent for it.In 2001, the Senate Armed Services panel advanced Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary on Jan. 19, one day before Inauguration Day, when he was confirmed by the full Senate.Mattis earned bipartisan support from senators during his confirmation hearing last week, and the committee voted on his waiver 24-3 immediately after his hearing concluded.The retired four-star general is one of several members of Trump’s national security team expected to be confirmed on Inauguration Day, including retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to be homeland security secretary and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to be CIA director.Part of the reason for advancing Mattis out of committee before Inauguration Day is the sheer logistics of getting enough senators on the panel in one place for a vote during what will be a chaotic time at the Capitol on Friday, particularly with large crowds and increased security.

18 января, 18:08

What if Bush Had Taken a Tougher Line with China in 2001?

Harry J. Kazianis Security, Asia What if Bush stood firm during the EP-3 crisis?  What if…? The never-ending question foreign policy practitioners here in Washington love to ask. And it seems like these days we have many reasons to be asking it, given the sheer amount of anniversaries we’ve been looking back on just in the last few months, not to mention the momentous events in our own time. Some examples: What if the Soviet Union never fell? What if Japan never attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor? What if Donald Trump had lost the election? The list can go for miles without end. But there is one what-if that has been stuck in my craw for the last few weeks: What if President George W. Bush had much tougher in his response during the EP-3 Crisis of 2001? What if he had listened to other voices who were whispering into his ear — people like Donald Rumsfeld, for example, who were pushing for a tougher line on Beijing? In light of what can be only be charitably described as Chinese adventurism in the East and South China Seas, and renewed pressure on Taiwan in recent years, it is worth exploring if a tough stand early enough during the period of China’s so-called “peaceful rise” would have made any difference. The Incident: On April 1, 2001, a US EP-3 surveillance plane cruising 70 miles off the coast of China was carrying out what Washington considered to be routine intelligence gathering. However, China had made it well known it considered such flights, in what is international airspace, anything but routine — rather, it viewed them as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, a stance held by Beijing to this day. Forty-four flights had already been intercepted that year, but this time things would turn tragic. While both sides finger the other as the guilty party, most in the US intelligence and defense communities argue that a Chinese pilot simply ventured too close in his intercept and flew into one of the EP-3’s propellers. Tragically, the Chinese plane crashed into the sea, costing the pilot his life. The American surveillance aircraft, badly damaged, had to make an emergency landing. The only place that could conceivably work: Hainan Island…in China. The Initial Response: Read full article

15 января, 18:41

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze: Goodbye to the American Century

**Adam Tooze**: _[USA: Goodbye to the American Century][]_: "The rise and fall of US hegemony. Or Donald Trump and the sunset of American hegemony... >...The American Century is over. We can tell, not only because the Americans have elected a ludicrous President, but because, for all his nationalist braggadocio, Trump’s...

10 января, 01:05

Narrative Economics and the Laffer Curve

Tim Taylor: Narrative Economics and the Laffer Curve: Robert Shiller delivered the Presidential Address for the American Economic Association on the subject of "Narrative Economics" in Chicago on January 7, 2017. A preliminary version of the underlying paper, together with...

08 января, 15:15

Newt, Trump’s inconvenient truth-teller

The former House speaker is one of the few surrogates openly willing to flout the Trump transition party line. And Trump is usually OK with that.

05 января, 21:22

Draining The Swamp, Then And Now

Don't think the fad for "draining the swamp" began on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. It didn't, although the "swamp" to be drained in the days after the 9/11 attacks wasn't in Washington; it was a global one. Of course, that's ancient history, more than 15 years old. Who even remembers that moment, though we still live with its fallout -- with the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions of refugees, with Islamophobia and ISIS, with President-elect Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and so much more? In the never-ending wake of one of the most disastrous wars in American history, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, it's hard to imagine any world but the one we have, which makes it easy to forget what the top officials of the Bush administration thought they would accomplish with their "Global War on Terror." Who remembers now just how quickly and enthusiastically they leapt into the project of draining that global swamp of terror groups (while taking out the Taliban and then "decapitating" the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein)? Their grandiose goal: an American imperium in the Greater Middle East (and later assumedly a global Pax Americana). They were, in other words, geopolitical dreamers of the first order. Barely a week after 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already swearing that the global campaign to come would "drain the swamp they live in." Only a week later, at a NATO meeting, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that, "while we'll try to find every snake in the swamp, the essence of the strategy is draining the swamp [itself]." By the following June, in a commencement address at West Point, President George W. Bush would speak proudly of his administration's desire to drain that swamp of "terror cells" in a staggering "60 or more countries." Like Washington for Donald Trump, it proved the most convenient of swamps to imagine draining. For the top officials of the Bush administration launching a global war on terror seemed like the perfect way to change the nature of our world -- and, in a sense, they weren't wrong. As it happened, however, instead of draining swamps with their invasions and occupations, they waded into one. Their war on terror would prove an unending disaster, producing failed or failing states galore and helping to create the perfect atmosphere of chaos and resentment in which Islamic extremist groups, including ISIS, could thrive. It also changed the nature of the U.S. military in a way that most Americans have yet to come to grips with. Thanks to that permanent war across the Greater Middle East and later Africa, a secretive second military of startling proportions would essentially be fostered inside the existing U.S. military, the still-growing elite forces of Special Operations Command. They were the ones who, at least theoretically, would be the swamp drainers. TomDispatch regular Nick Turse has long been following their development and their increasingly frenetic deployment globally -- from, as he reports today, an already impressive 60 countries a year in 2009 to a staggering 138 countries in 2016. Those special operators would train and advise allied armed forces, while launching raids and drone strikes against terrorists across a significant part of the planet (including, of course, taking out Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011). In the process, they would be institutionalized in ever more ways, even as the terror groups they were fighting continued to spread. Perhaps you could say that they didn't so much drain the swamp as swamp the drain. Today, as we approach the new era of Donald Trump, in "The Year of the Commando," Turse offers his latest report on their rise and possible future. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

09 декабря 2016, 14:56

Буша-младшего тянут в суд за войну в Ираке Первые слушания состоятся 12 декабря (проверяется)

5 декабря с.г. Апелляционный суд США по 9-му округу (Западное побережье) подтвердил, что 12 декабря состоятся устные слушания по делу «Салех против Буша». Председательствовать будут судьи Сюзан Грейбер, Эндрю Хорвитц и Ричард Бульвэр.

09 декабря 2016, 12:28

Буша-младшего тянут в суд за войну в Ираке

Первые слушания состоятся 12 декабря

08 декабря 2016, 04:49

Georgia Has a Key Role to Play in Europe's Future

Tedo Japaridze Security, Eurasia Europe cannot go back to being divided into spheres of influence. In the 1990s Europe was coming together, politically, economically and institutionally. That was a project associated with the emergence of the United States as the last remaining superpower. One generation down the line, leaders as diverse as Donald Rumsfeld and Angela Merkel agreed that “the West” is no longer a geographic specification. The Euro-Atlantic “community” refers to nations that opt for certain kinds of sovereignty, values, norms and institutions. We live in societies with open markets, a democratic level playing field, rule of law and freedom of speech. And we defend them together. One thing is certain: Europe cannot go back to being divided into spheres of influence, for practical rather than ideological reasons. Location and Governance Georgia is a European democracy, with checks and balances, an electoral level playing field, the rule of law and the freest media landscape in Eastern Europe. On the foundations of strong institutions and political accountability, the country develops an attractive economic narrative. Located between emerging and developed economies, Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, the Caspian and the Black Seas, Georgia is attractive because it facilitates all kinds of flows: data, energy, talent, goods and services. Georgia’s comparative advantage is location, but its location is relevant because of governance. Situated at the tip of the ancient Silk Road, Georgia is contributing to its reanimation. Tbilisi has concluded a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, preferential trade agreements with the United States and Japan, and is nearing the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement with China. Beyond market access, Georgia offers one of the easiest places to do business in the world, with low regulations and a low taxation regime. Increasingly, the software matches the hardware, with private investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure, in transport and logistics, energy, tourism and human resources. Read full article

04 декабря 2016, 17:55

James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

Many in the Pentagon worry that Trump’s pick for defense secretary is looking for a fight in the Middle East.

30 ноября 2016, 00:35

Even If Trump and the Trumpists Were to Try to Be Honest, We Would Be in Big Trouble...

**Understanding Trump: Even the Good Scenario Is Bad:** Q: Are we in Europe misunderstanding Trump? A: The non-legislative powers of the president are extremely large. Thus the risks of disaster-from-incompetence are quite high--even leaving to one side the chance of a Berlusconi bunga-bunga governance kleptocratic orgy... Some people do have...

26 ноября 2016, 01:12

Trump’s team of rivals: Fighting spills into public

Romney vs. Rudy spat for secretary of state reveals a deeper divide in Trump transition.

23 ноября 2016, 18:09

Экс-глава Пентагона Дональд Рамсфельд призвал снять барьеры на пути Грузии к членству в НАТО

В статье для WSJ Рамсфельд написал, что Грузия на последних парламентских выборах вновь показала "глубокую приверженность западным ценностям". Ее следует поддержать, но не из филантропических соображений, а потому, что в этой бывшей советской республике на карту поставлены "жизненные интересы Америки", считает он.

23 ноября 2016, 13:10

Giuliani Took Money From a Group That Killed Americans. Does Trump Care?

I was at State when we took the MeK off the terrorist list. But team Trump’s ties to the group still worry me.

21 ноября 2016, 16:00

Военные США о своих операциях

Больше всего должны изумлять временные рамки (если б хоть кто-нибудь задумался об этом секунд на тридцать). Давайте начнём с конфликта в Афганистане, сегодня время от времени называемого самой долгой войной в американской истории. Началась она 7 октября 2001 года и скоро отметит 15-ю «годовщину». Считайте её падчерицей первой афганской войны Америки (против Советов), во многом […]

15 ноября 2016, 21:49

Bush aides could get a do-over in Trump administration

But some fear Trump's choice of Bush veterans could revive controversial practices like waterboarding.

07 ноября 2016, 17:24

The U.S. Has Intervened In Syria, But Not In The Way You Think

The United States intervened militarily in Syria under the premise of the “war on terror” and the fight against ISIS, but their presence is actually helping the Syrian government. BEIRUT – On September 17, U.S., British, Danish and Australian warplanes attacked a Syrian military base in Deir Ezzor that had been holding out against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) for months. The U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes killed at least 62 Syrian troops before a frantic Russian officer called U.S. officials to tell them they were hitting the Syrian military and not ISIS. The coalition called off the airstrikes; minutes later, ISIS fighters launched an assault and seized the base. The U.S. military immediately went into damage control mode, apologizing to the Syrian government, through Russian intermediaries, and U.S.military sources even tried to plant a story that the troops were conscripted prisoners instead of regular soldiers. (Since the Syrian army is almost all conscripts, fighting closely with paramilitaries and irregulars, that distinction doesn’t mean much.) But it was too late: On September 22, in an interview with the Associated Press, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad suggested the U.S. had coordinated its airstrike with ISIS fighters waiting nearby. “The ISIS troops attacked right away after the American strike,” Assad told the interviewer with his usual self-assured calm. “How could they know that the Americans are going to attack that position in order to gather their militants to attack right away and to capture it one hour after the strike?” It was classic war-on-terror rhetoric – former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld used the same logic in 2003 to insinuate that the Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite channel was in league with Iraqi insurgents. Assad’s implication was clear: The United States and ISIS were secretly working together to overthrow the Syrian government. This idea is widely believed across the Middle East, by people of all political persuasions. “The U.S.wants ISIS to take Raqqa and Deir Ezzor,” Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on October 11 in Beirut. “Why is the U.S.being generous to the Nusra Front and ISIS? Simply because the times of geopolitical servitude are still upon us.” For the U.S. government, the defining question of the Syrian conflict, for more than five years, has been whether or not to intervene, and how. This is the question that moderators ask U.S. presidential candidates to answer at debates; it is the dilemma that has launched 1,001 op-eds and think tank papers; it is the debate that all Americans who follow the news from Syria are having with each other. Yet all this deliberation over a theoretical American intervention against Assad is obscuring two central facts. First, the United States already has intervened militarily in the Syrian conflict. The U.S. campaign pales in comparison to the scale of military intervention by Russia and Iran. But in the name of the war on terror, the U.S. military and its allies have been bombing Assad’s enemies in ISIS – and any civilians or Syrian troops who happen to get in the way – for two years now. As of October 25, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS had carried out 5,616 airstrikes in Syria, the vast majority of them by U.S. warplanes. In the two years since it intervened in Syria, the U.S.-led coalition has killed 6,295 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based Syrian watchdog group that monitors casualties from all sides in the Syrian conflict. The Observatory calculates that at least 642 of those killed – about one in 10 – were civilians. “We strongly condemn targeting civilians anywhere, under any pretext and at any time by the international coalition and these parties,” wrote the Syrian Observatory. “The Observatory also renews its call to spare the civilians from any military action on Syrian soil.” So far, the U.S. military has acknowledged a handful of incidents that killed at least nine civilians inside Syria, including one strike in 2015 that killed two children. But it has yet to release the results of an investigation into airstrikes it conducted around Manbij, in the Aleppo governorate, this summer that observers believe killed more than 100 civilians. In new analysis released October 26, Amnesty International studie just 11 attacks, including the ones around Manbij, and found credible evidence that 300 civilians had been killed. The total number of civilian deaths from all coalition attacks, Amnesty warned, “could be as high as 600 or more than 1,000.” From the early days of the Syrian uprising, President Barack Obama’s administration has called for Assad to step down. The administration’s position is that the only way to reach a political settlement in Syria is to remove Assad and his family from power. Yet despite this bluster, Washington did little to counter Assad’s initial crackdown against the peaceful uprising. The U.S. government has provided funding, weapons and logistical support to a number of groups inside Syria, both armed and unarmed. But on the ground, the U.S. and Syrian militaries are not fighting each other. Instead, they are both engaged in simultaneous military campaigns against the same enemy. The U.S. intervention in Syria falls under Operation Inherent Resolve, a military campaign by the Combined Joint Task Force, a coalition of 14 countries set up by the Obama administration in late 2014. In July 2016, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS began to coordinate with the Syrian-Russian campaign against ISIS, through the U.S. military’s limited cooperation with Russia. “Russians and Americans have agreed to freeze the current situation so that the two military powers can carry on their endless war against terror,” wrote a group of 157 Syrian writers, artists, journalists and thinkers in a joint statement, released in late September, denouncing both Russian and U.S. intervention in Syria. “At least since 2013, these two powers have been working to co-opt the Syrian liberation struggle under the rubric of the ‘war against terror.’ This is a war that has failed to score a single success since its outset, and has led instead to the destruction of a number of countries.” By allowing Assad to effectively outsource the battle against ISIS, the U.S.-led bombing campaign has freed up Syrian and Russian firepower for fighting other groups inside Syria – including the very groups that the U.S.supports. If the U.S. military intervention has helped any of the players in the Syrian conflict, it has probably been more to Assad’s benefit than to any of the opposition groups the U.S. government officially supports. This kind of tacit mutual cooperation between the American and Syrian governments is not new. In 1989, a peace deal brokered by Saudi Arabia installed the Syrian regime, with America’s blessing, as the guarantor of peace in Lebanon. When General Michel Aoun – then the army commander and now unveiled as Lebanon’s new president – refused to accept Syrian hegemony, and declared himself the true president of Lebanon, the U.S. and Syria responded in concert: Syria bombed Aoun out of the presidential palace, and U.S. officials kicked Aoun’s ambassador out of the Lebanese Embassy in Washington, calling the Syrian-dominated Lebanese government “an essential ingredient to United States foreign policy in the Middle East.” In 1991, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s president at the time, signed on to the George H.W. Bush administration’s “coalition of the willing,” which was intended to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. In exchange for his support, Assad gained full dominion over Lebanon. The cooperation continued under President Bill Clinton’s administration, when Washington shepherded negotiations for a peace agreement between the Assad government and Israel. They came close to signing a deal before negotiations collapsed. When Bashar al-Assad took power in mid-2000 following his father’s death, the George W. Bush administration, which took power in 2001, maintained intelligence contacts with the Syrian government. After the September 11 attacks in the U.S., that relationship blossomed into full-fledged security cooperation over the “war on terror.” In theory, this cooperation was intended to combat al-Qaida and other militant groups. In practice, it resulted in shameful episodes like the “extraordinary rendition” of Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canadian software engineer whom the American government kidnapped, on the basis of faulty intelligence linking him to al-Qaida, and delivered to Syria to be tortured. (Arar was exonerated, became a human rights activist, and now runs a tech start-up that connects millennials with charities like Amnesty International.) The “war on terror” has been a golden opportunity for autocrats all over the world, including Assad. A key part of the Syrian government’s rationale for its relentless bombing is that it is fighting “terrorists” – a term it routinely uses, as does the U.S. military, to describe most of the civilians killed in the course of its bombing campaigns. One month after the airstrike that killed the Syrian soldiers in Deir Ezzor, the U.S.-led coalition carried out six strikes using warplanes and drones, against “ISIL terrorists” in Syria. Among the targets they “engaged with” were six oil tanker trucks; an oil pump jack; four ISIS supply routes; an ISIS tactical unit. Near Raqqa, one strike destroyed two oil pump jacks. Among the “ISIL terrorists” killed in the airstrikes was a child named Borsan Nasr Al Borsan, along with his entire family, and several members of a neighboring family, according to the independent Syria watchdog group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which monitors killings by ISIS as well as by the coalition. “May God release our people of Raqqa and Syria,” wrote one commenter, in Arabic, on the Facebook page where visitors left messages of condolence and outrage. This, too, was clearly a mistake. Yet so far, no presidents, from Syria or anywhere else, have commented on the child or his fate. No U.S.presidential candidates have been asked to answer, in any presidential debates or press interviews, questions about why this happened, or what they might be planning to do to stop it from happening again. This article originally appeared on Syria Deeply. For weekly updates about the war in Syria, you can sign up to the Syria Deeply email list. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

05 ноября 2016, 20:58

Seeking a Context for "Hillarygate"

In a season of disturbingly ill-informed political dialogue, no topic has left the public with a more distorted understanding of the facts than the one which has taken center stage in the final days of the campaign: the handling of sensitive information by Secretary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. There are Four basic questions that need to be addressed to place Secretary Clinton's mistakes in context and determine how to weigh those mistakes in the larger decision of who to support for president. 1. When the word classified material is used, what are we talking about? 2. What are the procedures for those who must deal with classified information to communicate with one another about its meaning for the policies they are responsible for shaping? 3. How often do officials violate the best practices for handling classified material? 4. How significant were the Clinton violations? 5. How has the government responded to significant mistakes in the handling of classified material in recent history? The federal government generates a stupendous amount of information each day that could be sensitive to our country's interest in one way or another. This information is collected in order to help those working on a wide array of government programs to be more effect in performing their assigned responsibilities. The collection of information that never reaches those who need it to better perform their duties is a complete waste of money. On the other hand information that is shared too broadly can often be an embarrassment and at times may compromise the safety of citizenry. But almost every analysis that has been done of the government classification system has found that a large portion of the information that has been classified should not have been and a large portion of the information that should have initially been classified should have been declassified after time. Security classification experts such as Thomas Blanton who directs the National Security Archive at George Washington University has testified before Congress that "50% to 90% of our national security secrets could be public with little or no damage to real security." His testimony is corroborated by the testimony of numerous officials who have access to the subject area such as former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, who co-chaired the 9/11 commission. Kean has stated that "three-quarters of what I read that was classified shouldn't have been." Rodney McDaniel who was Secretary of the National Security Council under President Reagan estimated some years ago that only 10% of classification was for "legitimate protection of secrets." Striking a proper balance between facilitating the needed dissemination of information and insuring its security is a continual struggle for those who must deal with it. Officials working to resolve pending policy choices frequently must decide whether to terminate a telephone conversation on an insecure phone line, deferring the conversation until it can take place over an encrypted phone or face to face in a secure location. When time period for decision making is short and the information which the parties need to discuss is of dubious sensitivity from a security perspective or has already appeared with some frequency in newspapers, best practices are often not adhered to. That is not to say that best practices are not important or that there are not secrets that could do grave damage to our national interests if they were inappropriately handled. But the amount of potentially sensitive information that our government generates each day is so massive that it would require a huge bureaucracy rivaling the size of the current federal government to sift through it and make well considered determinations as to whether a particular piece of information should be classified and if so at what level. No one wants to pay for that and so we hobble along with a system that errs on the side of caution and consistently over classifies. By the latest count there are 4.5 million people with federal security clearances but only a tiny fraction have access to a significant range of government information that is classified or information that is truly sensitive or would be significantly damaging if released. Those who do, live with significant burdens that those outside of the system do not generally appreciate. These include the careful cataloguing and safe storage of materials and the constant issue of what pieces of information can be discussed with which people and in what environment or over what type of communication system. In the real world, the answers to those questions are rarely straight forward or easy to determine. If best practices were used in all instances with all pieces of classified information, government decision making and policy implementation would screech to an almost total standstill. So given the system we have for defining what our secrets are and taking the necessary steps to protect them, how serious was the breach that occurred as a result of the decision by Secretary Clinton and her staff to use a private server intended to handle non classified official emails but which inevitably ended up including a number that were classified? We cannot fully answer that question because ultimately none of the emails containing classified information leaked and so we don't know their content or the sensitivity of their subject matter. We also have no information indicating that they were intercepted by unfriendly parties so in real sense there was probably no real damage to American interests. But it is none the less important to insure that people with access to sensitive information do the best job that they can in protecting that information whether bad practices result in the compromising of secrets or not. Secretary Clinton has admitted that she did not but how serious was her transgression and what would be the appropriate remedy for that transgression. The answer to that question depends in part again on the sensitivity of the information. Although we do not know the content to the information in the emails, we do know what portion was classified and at what level. Of the 30,000 emails on the server, 110 had some type of classification associated with them but only 8 email chains contain information classified as "Top Secret". That means that 99.6 percent of the emails had no classified material and of the 0.4 percent with some form of classification only a fraction might have had real import. This is not to argue that there is no justification for classifying information as "Secret" or "Confidential" but rarely would the disclosure of such information have significant or lasting consequence to our national interests. An example would be a diplomatic cable that I recently found on WikiLeaks which was classified "Secret". It was from more than a decade ago and indicated that a diplomat from a friendly Middle Eastern country had met with a delegation from neighboring country. That delegation did not believe that they had received the courtesy the deserved in a visit to a third country in the region. This kind of gossip can often be useful in the day to day world of diplomacy. The Foreign Service officer who picked up and reported this gossip was probably providing a useful tip to his colleagues and it was worthy inclusion in a cable and it was also appropriate that it be classified so as to protect the Foreign Service Officer and his source from being viewed as indiscrete. It is highly unlikely however that this message would result in measurable damage to our long term national interests if Russian or other foreign intelligence had intercepted it. Further it is probable, based on the statistics sited above, that even a significant portion of the emails classified as "Top Secret" contained information that might have actually damaged national interests. Also important in determining the appropriate response to the mistakes made in the use of the case of the Clinton server is the fact that such a tiny portion of the emails contained information classified at any level. That clearly indicates that those using the system were making a serious effort to exclude such information from such communications. Historically, significant penalties have been applied only in instances when not only the information in question would have posed a significant threat to American interests but also when the information was deliberately and knowingly provided to individuals who were not supposed to see it. One example of how security protocol violation has been handled in the past is a case I remember involving a former Congressional staffer who left his office without returning a number of very highly classified materials to the safe where they were they were required to be stored. He was unfortunate to have done that at when a security audit was performed on his office and as a result his clearance was suspended for an extended period forcing his superiors to reassign him to work on unclassified programs. In a separate case, a State Department official provided a member of Congress with extremely sensitive information which the Member was not cleared to possess. Shortly after that, the Congressman used the information in a press conference which resulted in exposing a CIA foreign agent and completely compromising an ongoing intelligence operation. Again the government revoked the official's security clearance and he was forced to find employment elsewhere. If the individual who compromises sensitive information or violates security protocols is a Member of Congress or a high ranking executive branch official, the formal suspension of a clearance for a stated period of time is often seen as impractical. One of the nation's most famous and most damaging disclosures of classified information occurred in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Senator Orrin Hatch who at the time was the Ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over the FBI and U.S. counter intelligence programs, told reporters hours after the attacks how the U.S. government had identified the perpetrators. "They have an intercept of some information that includes people associated with [Osama] bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit" He later told other reporters that the information had come from officials at the CIA and FBI. Following those disclosures, al Qaeda discontinued its use of the satellite phone that had allowed U.S. intelligence to track their activities for several years. In the following Congress which began in January of 2003, Hatch was selected by his Republican Colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In another instance, Richard Armitage, (one of the few people in the Bush 43 foreign policy team that I truly looked up to) made another serious blunder in discussing sensitive matters with reporters. Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State under Collin Powell, revealed to columnist Robert Novak in a July, 2003 interview the identity of an undercover CIA officer named Valerie Plame. The revelation of her identity as an agent clearly compromised her ability to function as part of a sensitive on going operation and in all probability compromised the operation itself. Armitage also shared this information with Washington Post correspondent Bob Woodward. An investigation by the Justice Department determined that Armitage's mistake was inadvertent and no action was taken. It should also be noted that Presidents and senior administration officials seem at times to follow their own judgment in whether to abide by government classification policy. In his book Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward describes a meeting between Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan who later became the head of Saudi intelligence services. During the meeting the Cheney and Rumsfeld show Bandar a map of the plan of attack--a map so secret that even the Speaker of the House would not be cleared to view it and a map that was explicitly labeled "No Foreign". In another extraordinary transgression of rules governing the sharing of classified information during the Bush 43 Administration involved a foreign national named Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi had been placed on the CIA payroll at the direction of Congressional Republicans. After only one year CIA rebelled saying that Chalabi was unreliable refused to continue his contract. Congressional Republicans then pressured the State Department to finance Chalabi but they soon rebelled and when the Bush 43 administration came to power in January of 2001, Chalabi was placed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's payroll. At some point around the time of the invasion of Iraq, Chalabi was given extraordinarily sensitive information which seems likely to have come from one his strong supporters with in the Bush-Cheney inner circle. Chalabi, who was being openly promoted with in the Bush Administration the successor to Saddam Hussein was told that the U.S. had deciphered the Iranian diplomatic code. Later, U.S. intelligence intercepted a telephone conversation between Chalabi and senior Iranian officials in which Chalabi told them their encryption had been compromised. There is no publically available information concerning any investigation as to who was responsible for giving Chalabi this information and there was no Congressional investigation into the matter. Following the Chalabi telephone conversation, Iran ceased using the compromised encryption. To date there is no publicly available assessment of the damage that this leak caused to American interests but it must have been massive. The leak clearly compromised U.S. efforts to counter Iran's persistent attempts to destabilize the new U.S. back government in Baghdad as well as U.S. efforts to negotiate limitations on Iran's nuclear program and the possible sale of equipment materials and technology to third countries or political entities. Clearly the leak resulted in a loss in our ability to monitor Iran's curb political, military and economic support to Hezbollah as well as the Assad regime in Syria. As stated previously, there is a significant distinction between the way in which the U.S. Government has historically dealt with security breaches that occur as the result of carelessness or bad judgment and those in which officials deliberately decide to break rules of which they are obviously quite aware. One example is the case of former CIA Director, General George Petraeus. In 2014 Petraeus confessed that he had over a period of time shared highly classified information from eight personal notebooks with his biographer and former girlfriend, Paula Broadwell--information that would have caused "exceptionally grave damage" to the United States if it had fallen into unfriendly hands according to the Department of Justice. The Washington Post reported that, "the notebooks contained code words for secret intelligence programs, the identities of covert officers, and information about war strategy and deliberative discussions with the National Security Council." Petraeus and Broadwell concealed their communication by using a clever arrangement in which they shared a single email and would leave draft emails for each other to read without ever actually sending an email. While this helped them avoid detection, it left little doubt as to whether they were in deliberate violation of the law. Petraeus plead guilty to a misdemeanor as part of a plea bargain arraignment. Another instance in which the knowing and willful violation of security procedures resulted in a criminal conviction involved former national security advisor Sandy Berger. In 2003, after he had departed his job at the White House, Berger smuggled from the national archives several copies of a classified report on the Clinton Administration's handling of the failed terrorist plots to attack U.S. targets during the millennium celebrations. Subsequently, he lied to investigators when questioned about the removal of the documents. Berger was sentenced to two years' probation, fined $50,000, required to serve 100 hours of community service and stripped of his security clearance for 3 years. How do the mistakes made by Secretary Clinton in sending and receiving official emails stack up against these previous instances of mishandling classified information? First of all, there was no evidence that the plan to utilize a privately maintained server was in anyway connected to providing classified information to any one not cleared to receive it. Secondly, as Director Comey pointed out in his July 5th news conference, all cases previously prosecuted involved "clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct. To the contrary, out of more than 30,000 emails examined, only 8 email chains contain information that was classified as "Top Secret" so clearly, as Secretary Clinton had earlier stated, significant effort was exercised to avoid sensitive topics in the email correspondence. It would not be dissimilar from the occasional mention of classified maters in telephone conversations on insecure lines, a bad practice but one which a large portion of those with regular access to classified material have at times been guilty. Finally, unlike the unfortunate mistake of Richard Armitage, the disastrous revelations by Senator Spector or the horrific conveyance of information about the Iranian diplomatic code to Ahmed Chalabi, there is no evidence that the mishandling of the Clinton emails did any damage to anyone but her. Senator Hatch and Secretary Armitage were never rebuked or formerly punished for their lapses. Each suffered significant damage to their reputation and public standing but far less than the damage that has already been inflicted on Secretary Clinton. So what will the FBI likely find among the emails recently discovered on the Abedin computer? No one knows. Director Comey himself stated in a communication with FBI staff, "We don't know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails." In all likelihood it will be more of the same. Will these emails contain evidence of the "willful mishandling of classified information," that the tens of thousands of emails already examined did not? That would seem highly unlikely. The choice now facing the American people seems to be between someone who used poor judgment in establishing a secure and reliable means of communicating with her staff, a lapse of judgment that ultimately caused no known damage or someone who has exercised poor judgment on an extraordinary range of national security issues from the proliferation of nuclear weapons, to the diminishing of our core international alliances and the encouragement of foreign adversaries to covertly inject themselves into our electoral process. That does not appear to be a difficult choice. (The author was an employee of the United States Congress for 31 years. During 24 of those years he held a Top Secret clearance and for a decade he held clearances at or near the highest levels. In addition he managed numerous staff with high level security clearances during that period and was responsible not only for his own use of classified materials but also that of his staff. He was also responsible for reviewing and revising the budgets of various agencies charged with collecting, classifying, sharing and securing sensitive information.) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

01 ноября 2016, 20:22

THE ATLANTIC’S MOLLY BALL: HILLARY IS ULTIMATE VICTIM OF 2016: What had she been through over the…

THE ATLANTIC’S MOLLY BALL: HILLARY IS ULTIMATE VICTIM OF 2016: What had she been through over the past year and a half—what had America been through? She had prepared for a normal campaign, prepared for something like 2012, a boring slog against a sane and decent regular Republican whom she would strain to argue was […]

31 октября 2016, 22:31

Hillary Clinton Is Left With One Option: Put The Heat On James Comey

Hillary Clinton had not planned to spend the closing week of the year-and-a-half presidential election waging war with the director of the FBI. Yet, after James Comey vaguely announced the discovery of new emails that may or may not have been pertinent to its previous investigation into Clinton’s private email account, her campaign concluded it had no other option. As Donald Rumsfeld once said, you go to war with the army you have. In interviews with Democrats in and around the campaign since Comey’s announcement, The Huffington Post found that none second-guessed the decision to ratchet up the attacks on the FBI director for interjecting the bureau into an election so close to Election Day ― a move that breaks from Department of Justice precedent. Not only was the criticism morally justified, they argued, it was the only prudent political option. “I don’t think they have any choice but to go hard after him. If they didn’t do that, the story would be dictated by [Donald] Trump and the misleading attacks that he has launched off of it,” said Tad Devine, a top strategist to the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Still, as the pressure on Comey heightened over the weekend, there was concern that the Clinton campaign’s reaction could boomerang in damaging ways. “They have a legitimate grievance in that Comey, in an apparent effort to protect his reputation and that of his bureau, intruded on the race in an awkward and potentially prejudicial way,” said David Axelrod, a longtime Barack Obama aide and CNN commentator. “But pushing it too far, by implying that he had the intent to put his finger on the scale, would be risky, particularly in light of their past, laudatory statements.” I don’t think they have any choice but to go hard after him Tad Devine on the Clinton campaign's attacks on FBI Director James Comey Clinton’s campaign against Comey comes with pitfalls. There is the risk of looking craven because, as Axelrod notes, people in and around the campaign praised the FBI director’s conduct in past moments. There is also the risk of elongating a story that the campaign would rather have go away entirely. (Democrats may be changing the subject from Clinton’s conduct to Comey’s, but the conversation still revolves around an FBI investigation.) And then there is the risk of blowback. One worry in Democratic circles is that the FBI will selectively leak information to justify the investigation, thereby producing a continuous drip of context-free stories. A Wall Street Journal item on Sunday, detailing the discovery of the potentially related emails on the computer shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), is seen as an illustration of what might happen when Comey comes under siege. “They didn’t have any choice but to go after Comey,” said Matthew Miller a former spokesman for the Department of Justice and a vocal critic of Comey. “What he did put them in a terrible situation in which there was no way for them to respond on the underlying substance because no one knows what it is. The FBI seems to be already retaliating with leaks, but based on their track record so far, they probably would’ve done that anyway.” function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Inside the Clinton campaign, these risks are appreciated. But they are underwhelming when placed alongside the other (non-existent) options. Comey’s letter on Friday left aides blindsided. Abedin, aides say, is unclear how her emails ended up on the computer, and even the FBI hadn’t been given access to review the emails when the letter was sent. Without the ability to point to exonerating evidence, the Clinton team felt the need to turn the saga into a process story. Part of the calculus was to rally Clinton’s base of voters, who otherwise would have been deflated by the latest email drama. But part of it was also a sense of aggrievement with how Comey handled matters. The campaign moved swiftly. After the Comey letter dropped on Friday, the Clinton team put out a statement from chairman John Podesta and had surrogates fan out on the airwaves. Saturday morning, it held a press briefing with Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook, this time calling more explicitly for more information from Comey about the case. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus held an event in Ohio to make a similar case. Clinton brought up the news on the stump. The campaign put out a video “fact-checking” the claims being made about the latest email revelations. And it blasted out op-eds critical of Comey, including one from his former boss, Attorney General Eric Holder. The biggest pushback came Sunday. The campaign organized a letter signed by former federal prosecutors criticizing Comey. Also, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wrote a blistering letter to Comey, accusing him of violating the Hatch Act, suggesting he was sitting on information tying Trump to Russia, and arguing that he had violated the faith and trust of those lawmakers who had confirmed his nomination. “We’re not worried,” a Senate Democratic aide said of the collective pushback against Comey going too far. Asked if there was any hesitation in Reid writing Comey, the aide replied, “No.” Monday brought some indication that the Clinton campaign’s strategy was working. Several Republican officials, including ones comically critical of Clinton in the past, publicly questioned Comey’s decision. Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general under George W. Bush, called the FBI director’s decision “a mistake.” This proved, one Clinton aide argued, that all sides agreed that Comey’s “actions were an indisputable breach of protocol, especially given he didn’t know the facts behind these emails.” That is certainly optimistic spin at this point. Comey may well be under a harsh spotlight now. But it’s hard to see this playing out as a net positive for Clinton: Even if she were exonerated before the election, voters have absorbed the initial headlines and her critics will point to that exoneration as evidence of a system rigged against Trump. And should Comey say nothing at all until Nov. 8, then it is left to the voter to sort out the story between the initial letter and the subsequent leaks. But Clinton had no other option. You go to war with the army you have. “I think it is the only card they can play, but a bad hand nonetheless. Comey has mishandled this since July, but he isn’t dumb. He didn’t do this for fun. I doubt he is voting for Donald Trump, and he has a 10-year term,” said Anita Dunn, a longtime Democratic operative. “So not a great situation for us, and the polls were tightening before now.  We need another debate!” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.