The Least Surprising Story Ever Told


In 2016, Erick Erickson could not have been clearer. Donald Trump was “a racist” and “a fascist.” It was no wonder, Mr. Erickson wrote, that “so many people with swastikas in their Twitter profile pics” supported him. “I will not vote for Donald Trump. Ever,” he insisted, adding his voice to the chorus of Never Trump Republicans.

Last week, Mr. Erickson, a well-known conservative blogger, titled one of his pieces “I Support the President.” In three years, he had come completely around, a transformation that is a testament to President Trump’s remarkable consolidation of support inside the Republican Party. The effort to impeach the president, Mr. Erickson wrote, was a desperate move by people “who have never come to terms with him.”

“Never Trump” no more, conservatives have largely resigned themselves to a more accommodating state of mind: “Never mind Trump.” And their change in attitude helps to mute the much smaller group of conservative voices who remain highly critical of the president and have questioned his conduct.

Glenn Beck, the radio host who once called Mr. Trump “an immoral man who is absent decency or dignity,” now says that his defeat in 2020 would mark “the end of the country as we know it.” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who so bitterly feuded with the president during the 2016 primaries that Mr. Trump gave out Mr. Graham’s cellphone number on national television, declared last week that impeachment was nothing but “a political set up.”

You mean to tell me that such upstanding citizens like Erick son of Erick and Glenn Beck are grifters and frauds whose only core principles are hating Democrats and making sure they are in on the grift? I’m shocked!

Speaking of Watching the Disinformation Being Made: The Stupid Edition

Absolute morons Jacob “I’m Really Going to Commit a Big Boy Crime Any Day Now” Wohl and his unzipped co-conspirator Jack Burckman, fresh off failing to actually dox the Intelligence Community Whistleblower yesterday and today, have reverted to their usual modus operandi of creating sex scandals out of nothing. Having failed to actually bring down Special Counsel Mueller and Mayor Buttigieg with bogus allegations of sexual assault and impropriety have have announced their latest masterpiece. Behold:

The stupid, it burns!

The Warax asked the important question:

It is important to remember that Jacob Wohl is the twenty-something aspiring career petty criminal who is currently facing actual real felony charges in California state court. He is also the son of one of the President’s key Jewish-American surrogates. I have been authorized on behalf of the Elders and our revered and venerated leader, the Supreme Babka, to apologize on behalf of the rest of the tribe. We are tremendously sorry about the Wohl mess.

And our own Food Goddess had the best take when I texted Burkman’s tweet too her:

If at 72 Elizabeth Warren is having a fling with a young Marine I say more power to her

Is everyone still enjoying this extra special Jewish New Year and Day’s of Awe Infrastructure Week?

Open thread!

The President’s Operational Security Failure

I want to just follow on to Cheryl’s post about the President’s operational security failure on Twitter earlier today. What the President did today, despite his standing outside the White House and saying to a reporter that he had a right to tweet out the imagery, was not declassification of the geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) imagery that he tweeted out. If that had been the case, then the original classification markers would be visible, they’d be struck through, and there would be a time and date stamp along with standardized language that the imagery had been declassified as of X time today. Instead, as you can see in the image in Cheryl’s post, there is a black rectangle in the upper left hand corner, which is most likely covering the classification code. In this case that is most likely TS/SCI/NOFORN – Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information/No Foreign Distribution. Though it could just as easily be UNCLASS/FOUO  – Unclassified/For Official Use Only. We know some of the provenance of the GEOINT the President tweeted, because everyone in the Intel Community began scrambling to cover their tuchases, which the President had exposed and hung way out the window for everyone to see. The President received the imagery during a briefing earlier today.

What Cheryl described is clearly what happened here. The President had someone on his staff, most likely his caddie Dan Scavino, who is currently serving as the Assistant to the President-Director of White House Social Media Communications and tweets as/for the President, bring an unsecure smart phone into a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) and take a picture of this classified information so he could tweet it out. Whomever took the picture, either at the President’s direction or their own initiative because they realized what they were doing was sketchy, placed a black bar over the classification markings, then loaded the image up so it could be tweeted out. Bringing an unsecure phone into a SCIF and taking pictures of anything in the SCIF is the type of thing that gets one suspended, one’s clearance stripped, and one prosecuted for stealing classified information.

As I stated above, this is not actually declassification. Here’s Brad Moss, whose law practice focuses on national security, clearance, and classification issues:

So what we have here is data spillage (emphasis mine):

Data spillage is the transfer of classified or sensitive information to unaccredited or unauthorized systems, individuals, applications, or media. A spillage can be from a higher level classification to a lower one. The data itself may be residual (hidden) data or metadata. Spillage may result from improper handling of compartments, releasability controls, privacy data, or proprietary information.The trend towards increased information sharing has weakened access controls, giving users without a need-to-know access to large volumes of sensitive or classified data. Malware that propagates via removable media has increased the risk of large data transfers outside the network. The risk of data spillage is a problem largely because of inadequate end user security awareness, unmanageable networks, and poorly implemented data policies.

The bigger issue is that anyone who has a clearance (hello!) and encounters this information (hello!) is, unlike the President, potentially liable for accessing compartmented information that they do not have a need to know. Unlike the President, no one else in the US has an Office of Legal Council memo from 1973 that places them above the law.

If you’re wondering how this could be the case, how someone with a clearance who was just scrolling through Twitter, reading Balloon Juice, or watching the news when this comes up can get in trouble, but the President can just put classified information out there, claim he has the right to do it, even if it hasn’t been formerly and properly declassified, and he faces no jeopardy and the rest of us with clearances do, it is because THE RULES WERE NOT CONCEIVED OF AND WRITTEN WITH THE CURRENT PRESIDENT IN MIND!!!!! NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!!! The assumption was, based on historic performance of previous presidents, that NO FUTURE PRESIDENT WOULD BE THIS STUPID AND CARELESS!!!!

As Cheryl indicated, what the President tweeted out was the good stuff. No one is supposed to know we have that good of resolution wherever and whenever we want. And because the Iranians and others – friends and foes alike – know when the test failed, combined with the shadows and other static imagery in the GEOINT, they’ll be able to work out where we were looking from.

This is not just a major Operational Security (OPSEC) failure by the President, it is also a major counterintelligence (CI) breach by the President.

As we have been since November of 2016, we are off the looking glass and through the map!

Open Thread!

* Just a quick note, because I was actually getting caught up on the news shortly after the President tweeted this out, I saw it. I then sent an email to my company’s security officer to inform him that I’d seen data spillage, that it was inadvertent, and provided the context. This was done to cover myself.

Saturday Night Cheap Shots Open Thread: Kid Rock Is Trending & He Isn’t Even Dead…

… although he might’ve written his own professional obituary, if Molly Jong-Fast’s tweet is any indication. Turns out Rum-Tum-Sleazy is *not* one of the Jellicle Cats!

Ah, well, he’s still got his biggest fan…

Late Night After Dark Open Thread: Revenge of the Moon Tardigrades

As some reporters pointed out when that Guardian article appeared, the Moon had already been biologically compromised when the Apollo XI astronauts left behind bags of their… wastes. (Some exobiologist spoilsports claim there were probably tardigrades on the Moon already.) No doubt the would-be schlockmeisters are hard at work scripting already!

Here’s a potential opening scene…


Big Horror climax: