Russiagate Open Thread – The 270 People Connected to the Russia Probes


Politico has a data base for you to play with, color coded and with a bit of explanatory text.

If you’ve been feeling like there are just too many people to keep track of, you are right. Two. Hundred. Seventy. That begins to rival War and Peace.

The search function is limited to fifteen categories, including “Other.” This is not a sophisticated database. And, for me at least, each category turns up more people than I can easily comprehend. But perhaps Politico will add functions as time goes on.

And hey! At least they don’t have all those diminutives and patronymics that War and Peace has. Not all of them, anyway.



84 replies
  1. 1
    zhena gogolia says:

    Rostov family: Count Ilya, Countess Natasha, Nikolai, Petya, Julie, cousin Sonia

    Bolkonsky family: Prince Nikolai, Prince Andrei, Princess Marya

    Pierre Bezukhov

    Kuragin family: Prince Vasily, Hélène, Anatole, Ippolit

    Got that?

  2. 2
    moops says:

    For reference, Voldomort would be an acceptable variation of Vladamir.

  3. 3
    eclare says:

    Wonder if Mueller has a wall like Claire Danes had in the first season of Homeland.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Derp of a Nation, with a cast of thousands!

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    What about the Grushenkos? There’s Boris, Ivan…

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @zhena gogolia: That was such a frustrating book for just that reason.

  7. 7
    Yarrow says:

    The database includes people like Barack Obama. I don’t think he’s “connected” in the same way that Donald Trump is.

  8. 8
    patroclus says:

    I just saw the Brothers Karamozov on TCM a few days ago – William Shatner’s first movie role!

    On the shutdown, I’d take the deal tomorrow, put CHIP in the bag, re-open the government for 17 days, put Yertle’s word to the test and get ready to take more hostages (er policy accomplishments) on 2/8. I don’t think they’ll ever be an omnibus budget deal until the Dems take over next January, so my preferred way of proceeding is to keep the CR’s short-term and extract concessions every single bloody time.

    I realize most of y’all probably want to continue the hardball, but I think my suggested approach would be more productive.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yarrow: Don’t pick at it. Use it.

  10. 10

    I picked up a copy of Jacobin today and flipped to an article purporting to tell me how democrats are misinterpreting the 2016 loss. The second sentence dismissed concerns about the Comey letter and about Russia as ‘bogus’ and ‘conspiratorial’. I set it down without reading the third.

    Leading leftist thought in America, everyone!

    ETA there was also an article about how Obama-era Democrats lost power in West Virginia that as far as I can tell didn’t mention race.

  11. 11
    JR says:

    @Major Major Major Major: they need to study up on the actual jacobins

  12. 12
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    I hope Mrs. BillinGlendaleCA is feeling better and that his birthday was as good as one can have with a sick spouse. Happy Birthday BillinGlendaleCA.

  13. 13
    efgoldman says:

    Here’s a handy reference

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JR: They need to go the way of the actual Jacobins. Idiots.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    John Revolta says:

    Great graphic. Tomorrow’s headlines:

    Democrats Top List of Russia Probe Suspects

  17. 17

    @Jay S: As usual, Abramson gets some things right, others not so much. After about his point 5, he’s adding in some that figure more prominently in his fantasies than in more responsible analysis.

    I see the database as a tool to remind me of people I might have forgotten in various connections. I’d also like it to show connections between people, but I don’t see an easy way to do that. I hope Politico will build on it. I still suspect that my idea of covering a wall with paper and writing the connections out would work best for me.

  18. 18
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    ETA there was also an article about how Obama-era Democrats lost power in West Virginia

    And West Virginia Democrats had been such stalwart progressives-verging-on-hard-leftism right before that! Damn that Obama for throwing it all away. At the beginning of the string they had statewide representatives like Joe Manchin, and now they’re stuck with statewide representatives like Joe Manchin.

  19. 19

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Thank you, and a happy B-day to you as well. Madame took me out for dinner(take out burger) after I’d finished my hike and timelapse photography.

    ETA: From the ridge I was taking my pictures, I could see the hospital I was born in.

  20. 20
    Mike J says:

    @JR: They need to take more baths.

    eta: not a dirty hippie joke, a Marat joke.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    @Mike J

    A Marat joke? Sade!


  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Yeah, that worked out well for Marat.

  23. 23
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Jay S: That’s a really good thread.

    So Mark Corallo – the DOJ spokesperson who resigned because he believed Drumpf dragged him into a conspiracy to obstruct justice by cooking up the fake adoptions story – hired well connected and very expensive DC criminal defense lawyers Victoria Toensing and her husband Joe diGenova.

    Man, these are not moves you make unless you’ve touched something radioactive.

  24. 24
    Feebog says:

    Because I am home bound after my knee replacement I read the Glenn Simpson testimony before the Hoouse Intelligence Committee yesterday. 165 pages. One takeaway was that although Simpson sub-contracted with Steele to ferret out the Russian information, Fusion GPS did a ton of research on Trump’s properties world wide. He described Trump’s golf courses in Ireland and Scotland as “sinks” with millions from unknown sources pouring in to prop them up. Russians buying condos at his Florida project and then selling them at a loss. Lying about pre-sales for the Panama Tower to obtain financing from Bear-Stern’s. If Fusion GPS could discover all this through public record research think about how much Mueller has.

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eclare: More like this:

    And this:

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: That’s what he wants you to think…//

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay S: Seth Abramson couldn’t find himself with a GPS, a flashlight, a sherpa, an indigenous scout, a map, and a bloodhound.

  28. 28
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Adam L Silverman: Yeah. There are a few good catches though. For example, not including Devin Nunes on that list is… kind of impressively bad, as he’s the chief congresscritter running interference for Trump.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    well connected batshit insane and very expensive conspiratorial DC criminal defense lawyers Victoria Toensing and her husband Joe diGenova

    Those two are bugfuck nuts. They went off the rails during the Clinton Administration and never found their way back.

  30. 30
    sharl says:


    I was interviewed at length for this Glenn Greenwald piece. I spoke abt gender. I also compared Greenwald's skepticism of the RU story w/my increasing focus on it, w/o losing focus on civil liberties. Count how many women quoted in it.Does This Man Know More Than Robert Mueller?
    Glenn Greenwald’s war on the Russia investigation. By Simon van Zuylen-Wood
    — emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 21, 2018

    From the thread following that tweet:

    emptywheel @emptywheel

    People NYMag thought had more pertinent insight into Glenn Greenwald than me: Ben Wittes AND Stewart Baker, Tucker Carlson.

    Apparently, no women — not even Laura Poitras or Betsy Reed — have anything interesting to say about Glenn Greenwald.

    FWIW, one of the things I said in the interview was that I thought Glenn had an important point about not just taking RU claims w/o scrutiny. But said diff between Glenn and I is that I have looked at all the evidence closely, probably more so than anyone else.

    I talked about how when we were both “bloggers” women and men were treated very differently. I had some equally unflattering things to say about Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias, as it happens.
    The point was largely about the way that celebrity came out of the blogosphere but not for–say–Jane Hamsher. Or Digby.
    Oh, I also had some REALLY unflattering things to say about Chait.

    But then my views on Chait are well known.

    Doug Sherrod @Sherroddefense

    what in the world does “gender” have to do with a topic that touches all Americans simultaneously, independently of their sex??
    emptywheel @emptywheel

    We talked about far more than gender. But we did talk about gender. I raised it here, bc this guy seems to have worked hard not to quote a single woman in his piece.
    Again–not saying it had to be me, though Glenn and I cover the same beat and came to very different places on RU. But there are very prominent women not quoted here, and idiots who are irrelevant are.

    Brian Dear @brianstorms

    Did you record their interview with you? You should post the transcript of it on your blog.
    emptywheel @emptywheel

    I did not. Guess that’s a lesson.


  31. 31
    James E. Powell says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    How about Old Nehamkin?

  32. 32
    Yarrow says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s just somewhat misleading. And as others have noted, there are some obvious omissions. It’s important to have this information collected so that the public can begin to see just how big this is so I’m glad they started the database. Perhaps they’ll improve it and add more people over time.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    Your action has been observed.

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:


    But there is at least one voice within the “Blue Detective” brigade who still appears to carry some credence beyond his Twitter followers.

    Despite his scant relevant expertise, as well as his public history of outright, fantastical fabrication, Seth Abramson (434,000 followers on Twitter currently) has managed to separate himself from the rest of his conspiratorial claque and carve a niche on both social media and cable news as a Trump-Russia analyst. Where Mensch, Taylor, Khan, and Garland generate as much mockery as they do retweets, Abramson has thus far managed to see his credibility somehow remain afloat.

    Much of that has to do with Abramson’s legal background, which lends certain credence to his “META-THREAD[S]” — some of which run into triple digits — on Trump’s relations, real or otherwise, with Russian operatives. Unlike the others, Abramson served as a public defender in New Hampshire, and teaches at the University of New Hampshire.

    But saying that Abramson is a more veritable source than Mensch is, of course, not saying much at all.

    To wit, according to his LinkedIn, Abramson hasn’t worked in any legal capacity in over a decade. A representative from the New Hampshire Bar Association told ThinkProgress that Abramson hadn’t been an active member of the bar since at least 2014. Likewise, while Abramson is often introduced as a “professor” in his media appearances, it’s almost always unsaid that he’s actually an assistant English professor — one whose primary project appears to be editorship of the “Best American Experimental Writing Series.”

    Moreover, as opposed to Garland or Taylor, Abramson entered the Trump era with a distinct history of pushing what can charitably be described as misinformation — or what others would call outright lying.

    For much of the 2016 primary campaign, Abramson claimed that Bernie Sanders, despite all evidence to the contrary, was actually on his way to the Democratic nomination. (As one of Abramson’s headlines read, “Bernie Sanders is currently winning the Democratic primary race, and I’ll prove it to you.”) The claims were outlandish enough to prompt the Washington Post’s Philip Bump to write a direct rejoinder, with The Atlantic describing Abramson’s writing as “often den[ying] basic human logic.” His writing even appears to have inspired a mocking video at College Humor:

    When confronted, Abramson called his writing “experimental journalism” aimed at creating a “metanarrative” that would be “every bit as powerful and present and perceivable as any other.”

    All of that, though, was forgotten as Trump entered office — and as Abramson began crafting his excruciatingly long Twitter threads, all while picking up media appearances on CNN, CBS, BBC, and elsewhere. It didn’t seem to matter that Abramson had negligible expertise on any of the topics at hand — there are any thousands of other lawyers, still active members of the bar, who could comment on Mueller’s investigation — or that his history of conspiratorial fallacies nearly match the others. (Abramson has denied that he’s a conspiracy theorist.)

    Thankfully, where cable news outlets have ignored Abramson’s history, print and digital media have begun pushing back against his misleading claims or supposed expertise. In one of the earliest pieces focused on the holes in Abramson’s ongoing narratives, Paste Magazine’s Jacob Weindling wrote that “Abramson is poisoning a very legitimate narrative by inserting a wave of falsehoods and wishful thinking into the minds of a populace genuinely afraid and confused as to our president’s association with a foreign adversary.”

    Over the past few months, other outlets have begun picking up the ball and voicing their criticism of Abramson. For Fast Company, Abramson “operates… [by] making grand generalizations about news already reported, but misconstruing even the easiest-to-understand parts in the name of an ideological goal.” For Slate, “[Abramson’s] schtick is less credulous fabulism than hyperbolic sleight of hand.” And for the Washington Post, “Abramson’s tweets link copiously to sources, but they range in quality from investigative news articles to off-the-wall Facebook posts and tweets from Tom Arnold. The New Republic and Atlantic have both dismissed the professor as a conspiracy theorist.” GQ, Deadspin. The Outline, and Vice have also publicly called out Abramson’s conspiracy-mongering.

    When it comes to Abramson’s continued ability to land media appearances — as opposed to Mensch — Weindling pointed to Abramson’s willingness to bend facts to fit his narrative, rather than craft new realities wholesale.

    “As far as why [Abramson] has outlasted Mensch, he gets basic details in stories wrong where it’s easy to muddy the waters, while she says that the Grand Wizard of the Supreme Court is going to execute Steve Bannon,” Weindling told ThinkProgress. “My hope is… that he’s been taken for the spectacle that he is, rather than the reporter that he claims to be.”

  35. 35
    James E. Powell says:


    With respect. The desire for productivity – something anything – was the Obama administration’s fatal flaw. Right now the Democrats should forget about policies and policy outcomes. Everything must be focused on winning the 2018 midterms and as many governor’s races as we can. Nothing else matters as much as this.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Vhh says:

    @zhena gogolia: Don’t forget Princess AnnaDrubetskaya

  38. 38
    Vhh says:

    And the scheming Anna Drubetskayaand her son Boris Drubetskoy…..

  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    One or more of the cable nets has a very heavy promo rotation for a six part series purporting to be the “true story” of David Koresh/Waco
    Be prepared for all the crazies, freepers, sovereigns, and wackos of other description to come oozing out of the woodwork.

  40. 40
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No question he’s unreliable. I was just noting that he did find a few people that Politico should have included but didn’t. Nunes was the standout for me personally, but YMMV.

  41. 41
    SWMBO says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Happy Birthday to you! And I am happy Madame was feeling well enough to go out for dinner.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Steve Harper at Bill Moyers’ site has built an interactive timeline with detailed info on the people involved. It has gotten almost no publicity because, I guess, it’s Bill Moyers. Here’s the link:

  43. 43
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @sharl: emptywheel is a nut job

    Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

    The NGO she was accusing of being a “Deeeep State'” front was run by the publisher of The Intercept.

    Now, that’s an oof.

  44. 44
    mike in dc says:

    I have no idea what Marcy Wheeler’s current view on Russia-gate is. I do believe she’s scrutinized the evidence more closely than GG, but not that she’s done it “more than anyone else”.
    The intellectually dishonest approach of GG is to take each Russia story piecemeal rather than in the cumulative/aggregate sense, to cherrypick stories that might be overblown or red herrings, and to ignore those that more substantively establish that there is, indeed, a “there” there. This approach works, for a target audience already inclined to be skeptical, for so long as there are no substantive charges related to the Russian interference ops brought by Mueller. I’m curious what his fallback position will become.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sharl: Aside from GG getting a profile piece he didn’t deserve, the larger issue is one of expertise. She’s got none in national security work. None in defense work. None in intelligence. None in foreign policy. Other than knowing GG for a long time and largely being in agreement with him over that time period, what exactly does she bring to the discussion? And her lack of expertise in any of these areas would be just as glaring if she was a guy. Yes, she’s correct, we’re stuck with Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias who themselves have no experience or expertise with anything other than opining. Just as we’re stuck with guys like Eli Lake, women like McArdle, who know nothing about the areas he or she covers as a stenographic reporter. Or Chuck Todd who couldn’t be bothered and/or wasn’t actually capable of finishing a BA in political science as the Director of Political Reporting for NBC.

    This is the issue and problem so many have been complaining about for a very long time: actually having the educational and experiential background to know what it is you’re researching and to then be able to translate that in what you’re producing, whether a blog post, a new article, an op-ed, a book, or anchoring a news show is very important. Just because Yglesias and Klein don’t actually have any real expertise in anything, doesn’t mean that Emptywheel has any either. This has nothing to do with being a man or being a woman. It has everything to do with the low cost of entry the Internet created for a whole bunch of people nobody would have ever heard of otherwise to spout off about anything and everything regardless of whether they know anything or are accurate.

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:


    Marcy needs to stop endlessly re-reading her 2006-vintage press clippings.

    She’s not in Ben Wittes’ league, never has been, and never will be. And it has nothing to do with pair 23.

  47. 47
    joel hanes says:

    Shaun Mullen at Kiko’s House has been compiling a timeline of Russian/Team Trump intersections.

    Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad: An Analysis Of The Russia Scandal Timeline

  48. 48
    Mike J says:

    is the database available in some format other than me scraping the html before I load it into Dgraph?

  49. 49
    opiejeanne says:

    @zhena gogolia: A different book that I was required to read in HS, Crime and Punishment, had so many characters and two with almost exactly the same last names*, that I had to take notes to keep track of them while reading the book.

    *I don’t remember the names but there was only one letter difference, like one name had an “r” where the other had an “l” or something.

  50. 50
    burnspbesq says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And yet, people who actually know what competent legal representation looks like continue to recommend them to people who are ass deep in alligators. And they continue to display the ability to disperse alligators.

    Go figure.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @burnspbesq: My understanding is they’re very competent and very well connected attorneys. But they went way off the reservation in the 90s politically and never found their way back.

  52. 52

    @Adam L Silverman: “They don’t know anything, they’re not briefed?” Marcy Wheeler is a conscientious researcher. Sometimes amateurs do have something to contribute and as far as I know none of the experts can speak freely on the subject.

  53. 53

    @patroclus: “my preferred way of proceeding is to keep the CR’s short-term and extract concessions every single bloody time.”

    And if the Administration starts the mass deportations while the Democrats are extracting concessions? That will not easily be set aside or forgiven.

  54. 54
    Mary G says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Belated happy birthday to Alternative Fax, as well as BillinGlendale.

    I am getting a bit tired of Twitter. I unfollowed Louise Mensch a long time ago, Seth Abramson when he started asking for money, and I just unfollowed Scott Dworkin. I know Joy Reid has him on all the time, but his incessant tweeting asking for retweets, then retweeting the retweets has just gotten on my nerves.

  55. 55
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I’d have to go to Covina for that. Come to think of it, I wonder if it’s still there.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raven Onthill: This isn’t about being briefed. This is about having the educational and experiential background to understand what you’re researching. I’ll give you an example: I don’t opine on gastrointestinal disorders. I wish the GI doc at my Mom’s synagogue would stop pretending to be an expert on the Middle East because he reads everything AIPAC sends him.

    Or that Islamophobia guy Spencer who is a surgeon. I don’t write about surgery, he shouldn’t be writing supposedly factual analysis of Islam.

  57. 57
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    You forgot a mirror. :)

  58. 58
    swbarnes2 says:

    War and Peace?

    No, you meant Tale of Genji. Wikipedia says it has over 400 named characters.

  59. 59
    mike in dc says:

    @Mary G: My “who to follow on Twitter on Russiagate”: Natasha Bertrand, Julia Ioffe, RVAwonk, Benjamin Wittes, Renato Mariotti(for legal analysis), Josh Marshall, Matt Tait(pwnallthethings), occasionally Malcolm Nance or John Schindler(sparingly), David Corn, Kyle Griffin(mostly just for any breaking news generally), and you could take your pick of a larger universe–Dan Drezner, Michael Isikoff, Laurence Tribe, Preet Bharara, Adam Parkhomenko, Thomas Theiner, et al.

  60. 60
    mike in dc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The Russia story touches on matters of cybersecurity, national security, counterintelligence, various kinds of law and legal processes, congressional investigations, social media manipulation, dissemination of fake media stories, domestic politics, foreign relations, Russia studies, recent world history, and a few other things. So there are quite a few subject matter experts who could potentially weigh in on at least some aspects of this sprawling tale. But if you’re going to claim subject matter expertise, someone may politely ask you for a CV ;)

    (I have a law degree and I know something about the nature of investigations into high level exec branch wrongdoing, because I wrote a paper on it–that makes me an informed dilettante on that subject. ;) )

  61. 61
    joel hanes says:

    @mike in dc:

    who to follow on Twitter on Russiagate

    No love for Adam Khan ? He was very early and correct about Sater, Rybolovlev, Bogatin, et. al.

  62. 62
    opiejeanne says:

    @efgoldman: I saw the Koresh/Waco ads and shuddered. The stories of what he did with the little girls is awful enough without the apocalyptic ending, and I’m sure they will leave that part out.

    We met him a few years before he had a large following, maybe 7 or 8 years before Waco, around 1985. He was standing on the steps of the main library in Riverside, CA and tried to offer his divine insight to us. We’re Methodists and were active in our church, and I’d already had a taste of store-front churches and the various street preachers who were thick on the ground since the 70s and we shied away from him, giving him a wide berth. He took offense and when I apologized, feeling that I’d unnecessarily hurt his feelings, he turned away from us declaring that now we would never hear what God had in mind for us. He was “shaking the dust off of his sandals”. We shrugged and escaped into the library. I didn’t recognize him until a few years after Waco when the SF Chronicle ran an article about him, and there he was, standing on those library steps. It still disturbs me.

  63. 63
    joel hanes says:


    Wikipedia says it has over 400 named characters.

    A Song of Fire and Ice

    Just sayin’

    And it’s not even complete.

  64. 64
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Adam L Silverman: but the GI doc did stay at a Holiday Inn the night before

  65. 65
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @burnspbesq: she’s not even an attorney. She’s a lit major. yet she pretends to be Matlock.

  66. 66
    Jay S says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Adam L Silverman: OK, I get the message and I have always take Seth with more than a grain of salt, but I think he did flush out a few rats along with the bilge water. Hopefully some news organization will fill in the missing pieces and do a clean database.

  67. 67

    @Adam L Silverman: “This isn’t about being briefed. This is about having the educational and experiential background to understand what you’re researching.”

    So if only people within the national security state are to speak on these matters, how is it possible to form an independent opinion? But, also, Wheeler has studied this at some depth. She probably is making amateur mistakes but she is doing her homework. And sometimes amateurs get things right when the experts have trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: She has a doctorate from the University of Michigan on a particular form of written political dissent. Any doctorate from a respectable department of a respectable school takes substantial erudition and discipline to complete, so she is most likely a competent scholar and researcher.

    Her response on that Ukraine remark is here. She says she was taken out of context. Mmmm. I haven’t studied the whole thing; it is 2500+ words of detail.

  68. 68
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Raven Onthill: Oh look, it’s the King of Crap.

  69. 69
    prostratedragon says:

    1. A article that discusses the problem of mapping Trump-Russia connections, with examples of what a map would look like:
    “Mapping the Trump-Russia network”

    2. One of several maps a search engine gives of the Buzzfeed “Trump World” database, a frankly spectacular interactive graph at Graph Commons (it’s public) spanning Trump’s business dealings in general. See the link to “Graph info” for description. If you do this stuff sometimes, beware of induced imposter syndrome.
    “The Trump Network”

    The ProPublica base looks like node info cards of data that would be stored on each entity. It’s a way from yet from something useful for network analysis.

  70. 70
    prostratedragon says:

    @prostratedragon: The Buzzfeed spreadsheet shows the data in a useful way even without the diagram.

  71. 71
    JR says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Abramson writes a lot of copy. I think it’s that simple. Andrew Sullivan used the same model to great effect in the ore-Twitter era.

  72. 72
    clay says:

    @joel hanes: Pshhht, ASOIAF is for amateurs. Try the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. 2782 named characters.

    (Actually, it’s hard to recommend the series unless you’re a huge fan of the genre. While the first five books are pretty strong and the last three are excellent, it really drags in the middle.)

  73. 73
    sharl says:

    @Raven Onthill: Welp, I guess if you’re the King of Crap, I am your Court Counselor and Chief Steward of Crap. May I serve you well, Sire!

    This is either a meeting of the Emptywheel Haterz Club or embittered members of the Scooter Libby Fan Club; in the latter case, some Marcy Derangement Syndrome is entirely understandable; she certainly didn’t make him look very good back in the day.

    More seriously, I largely agree with Raven Onthill about Wheeler, who was (and is) so unlike, say, a number of the oh-so-properly credentialed and experienced government officials and their advisers who helped us into our Glorious Iraq Adventure. May there always be gadfly outsiders like her, even with all her flaws and lack of credentials, poking and prodding people in power, and basically working her ass off mostly uncompensated and generally giving a damn in deed as well as in words.

    I think she has been a bit grumpy lately, judging by her occasionally lashing out at folks who I don’t think deserve it. I don’t know what’s going on there, Maybe financial circumstances? She has mentioned, rather unhappily it seemed to me, maybe having to move to France (which I presume would be necessitated by her partner’s work situation). She also posted recently about why she didn’t stay at the Intercept very long, when she (briefly) had a position with them a few years ago. The question of fair compensation was a major factor in that account. She kinda went in hard on some folks in comments there, maybe harder than was warranted. Whatever is going on, I wish her well.

    P.S. That Ukraine business you referenced; basically, Mark Ames was back on his bullshit leveraging a Wheeler tweet to attack Pierre Omidyar, trying to make something big about Omidyar funding an NGO activity in Ukraine. I don’t know about now, but back then attacking Omidyar and his operation was one of the favorite activities of the Pando boyz.

    P.P.S. Subsequent to my original comment, I actually read that NYMag piece on Greenwald. Meh, it was two bros shooting the breeze, and generally lacking in much that is new or news. I don’t blame Wheeler for being pissed if that guy sucked up huge amounts of her time only to not use any of their interview. And the fact that he apparently* didn’t talk to even Poitras suggest a lack of journalistic diligence. (*Greenwald commiserated with Wheeler on Twitter regarding her complaints, and told her he had no idea whether the author actually talked to any women other than Wheeler. I’m picturing Wheeler going all wonky – or nuts, depending on your opinion of her – on the author, who maybe found the material too difficult for the story. That wouldn’t explain his failure to talk to or use content from Poitras or other women who’ve worked with Greenwald though. Whatev…)

  74. 74

    Here are some early morning thoughts on stuff that came up after I went to bed.

    Greenwald is simply not to be believed on L’Affaire Russe. (I like Ben Wittes’s phrase.) He hasn’t even been a major voice in it, at least via the people I follow, so I don’t know why New York Magazine did that long profile.

    I more or less agree with Sharl’s comments on Emptywheel. I haven’t been writing a lot on L’Affaire Russe, or at least not in proportion to the reading and thinking I’ve been doing on it. It could be an all-consuming job. I am talking to people behind the scenes, but there is SO MUCH speculation and outright fantasy in the area that I have wanted to avoid adding to that by writing too much. Marcy has chosen to spend most of her time on it, and I was pleased that a lot of her surmises agreed with mine, until a few weeks ago, when she attacked me heavily on Twitter for my Steele dossier compendium. I had included ONLY evidence that supported the dossier, she shouted at me, which wasn’t true. The document is available, add to it or not as you wish, I said. She then accused me of being a lousy analyst. She seems very sensitive about being the ONLY person who is really following and analyzing the material. I prefer to look at a variety of analysis, which is out there, but, as they say, ymmv.

    On the gender thing. For some reason, a lot of resentments from the blogosphere circa 2004 are resurfacing. It’s kind of amazing how many bloggers from that time have made their way into places like Politico and Vox, even the major newspapers. We all know each other to some degree; it was a much smaller community back then. I am amused and occasionally annoyed at how it’s gone. I blame Andrew Sullivan. But, anyway, gender. I have been tweeting about the effect of gendered discourse on national security recently and writing about it for longer than that. A few juicers have asked me to write up some of my tweets in a front-page post, and because of something that came up behind the scenes recently, I may do that. Men have kept women out of a lot of stuff for a long time, but national security in particular, and political science in general, have bigtime problems in the area, and they don’t see them. Carol Cohn wrote a NYT op-ed right after Trump’s tweet about his large and well-operating button, a very short version of her classic 1987 paper. I may just start with an exposition of what she has to say. I again agree with Sharl on gender and the GG article.

    On the role of expertise. I am a great believer in getting new eyes on a topic. Marcy, for example, is an English lit major, so she knows how to read a text carefully. I follow some folks on Twitter who were in national security posts in the Obama administration. They have interesting things to say about how decisions were made, but they are often stuck in a particular kind of thinking. There is a great deal that can be said about national policy by nonexperts. For example, most of us would prefer not to be incinerated in a nuclear war with North Korea, and it’s good that many people are saying that. A couple of people upthread have pointed out that L’Affaire Russe covers a wide range of expertise, which is why I like to read a wide range of analysis and Robert Mueller has a wide range of experts working on it. There’s value too in sitting back and looking at the big picture, which I’ve been trying to do lately. (And not write it up, I know…) So I would not criticize Marcy for not being an expert in national security. I have some other reservations about her recent analysis, but I’ve said enough for now.

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    zhena gogolia says:


    Probably Zametov the police clerk and Zosimov the doctor?

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    Tenar Arha says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Regarding the gender discussion, did you see the Twitter thread on how western beekeepers finally figured out how bees reproduce? …What we now call ‘queen’ bees-the main female reproductive honeybees-were erroneously called ‘kings’ for nearly 2,000 years.


    Let’s explore the history of bees!

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    @Tenar Arha: I’ve seen it referenced but will read it now.

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    @Tenar Arha: That’s an excellent thread! The national security community is now about where the bee biology community was in 1609.

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    joel hanes says:


    Wheel of Time series

    Been there, got the tedium.
    Got drawn in, slogged on for six books, but early in the seventh realized that I didn’t give one thin damn about any of the characters, no matter how many pigtails were tugged or how bodices went up and down.
    Have no intention of ever touching it again.

  80. 80
    joel hanes says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    She seems very sensitive

    If I had done about fifteen years of amassing and connecting details by grinding through primary documents, and had been right about as many officially-denied things as emptywheel, and had gotten as little in recognition or compensation compared to the kewl kidz in my gang, I might be a little bitter and touchy too.

  81. 81
    J R in WV says:


    She [Marcy] has mentioned, rather unhappily it seemed to me, maybe having to move to France…

    OH NOES!!! The misery of having to move to a socialist nation with free health care for everyone. With high-speed trains between large population centers, and small quiet electric trains from village to village. With great universities and institutes of higher education, a aerospace center in Toulouse, Museums of ancient man, who began civilization right there in France.

    OHH NOOOES!!! don’t make me move to the heart of culture and civilization !!!

    So sad…

  82. 82
    bluefoot says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I would be very interested in a post about gendered discourse in national security and related areas. I just finished the book “The Woman Who Smashed Codes” and it’s the third or fourth time recently I was reading about the history of what is now considered a “male” field where women were instrumental in its development. I also have a good friend who has spent his career in international conflict resolution and grand strategy, and I’ve always found his blind spots…interesting.

  83. 83
    sharl says:

    @J R in WV: Eh, the heart wants what the heart wants, and if for Wheeler that is Grand Rapids Michigan – not what I’d call Michigan’s Paris on the Grand River – then it is not for you or me to judge.

    Though I will join you in befuddlement. Maybe she looked into options for getting NFL game broadcasts over there, and was disappointed in what she learned?

    More seriously, I DO wonder if she and her husband (an engineer of some sort, according to Wikipedia) have financial concerns. While she is younger than me, she is no spring chicken, and I think we both know that personal finances can take on a new, uncertain, and potentially ominous role in our later years. Whatever her personal deal is, I wish her the best.

    ETA: I lived in France (Lyon) for several months back in 1984 while on a postdoc. The country ain’t all l’Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Loire valley, and I don’t know what part of France is under consideration here. There are shitty parts of France though (like any country), and I’m guessing the Wheelers won’t have an unlimited budget.

  84. 84
    sharl says:

    @sharl: For posterity’s sake, and before comments close on this post, here’s a follow-up thing.
    Marcy Wheeler has a piece in the New Republic that follows up on her twitter complaint about the NYMag bro-fest featuring Greenwald:
    All Glenn Greenwald’s Women
    A big profile of Greenwald neglects to cite even one woman—thereby missing crucial nuance in the story of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

    The profile cites Greenwald critics like Ben Wittes, editor-in-chief of the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog, and Stewart Baker, a rhetorical flamethrower who was general counsel at the National Security Agency more than two decades ago. Missing is Susan Hennessey, an executive editor at Lawfare who worked as a lawyer at the NSA while it was struggling to respond to the Edward Snowden leaks. Van Zuylen-Wood quotes Greenwald’s old editor at The Intercept, John Cook (“He’s dead, tragically wrong on this”), but declined to cite his current editor there, Betsy Reed (“He’s always brilliant and usually half-right even when he’s wrong,” is what she told me).

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