I mentioned in one of my recent posts a nostalgic reference to the “Plumbers”, this group of ex-spooks that Richard Nixon (or perhaps more accurately CREEP, the Committee to Re-Elect the President) engaged in breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate and other places.
We could use some real plumbers around here these days because leaking stuff seems to be all the rage and is being held responsible for numerous infractions, each punishable according to his or her means. Or connections.
Bradley Manning, while serving in the uniform of his country, leaked 750,000 classified and sensitive, unclassified documents to Wikileaks while serving as an intelligence officer. He was found guilty of 22 offenses and could have been sentenced to death. The day after his sentencing of 35 years in prison was announced, he declared that he felt he had been female since childhood, wanted to henceforth be known as Chelsea and wanted to begin hormone therapy (at the taxpayers’ expense, one might parenthetically add).
It was reported that his disclosures may have caused the deaths of numerous Afghanis working with Americans at the hands of the Taliban (the phrase “killing spree” was used on the news) and, obviously, made the recruitment of other agents more challenging.
Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence today and she will serve 7 years of her term.
A 35-page dossier was released by a website called Buzzfeed which was openly supportive of Hillary Clinton during the election alleging that Donald Trump had numerous nefarious financial entanglements with the Russians and had defiled a hotel suite in Moscow because the Obama’s had once stayed there. No one has come forward to corroborate any of these allegations.
A 2 page summary of this dossier was presented to both Obama and Trump by James Clapper and John Brennan, the two highest political figures in American intelligence, so they were aware of the existence of these charges, never claiming there was evidence to support them.
By happenstance, the evening before Trump was to hold a major news conference, CNN made reference to the transmission of this summary without going into detail, and Buzzfeed determined that CNN’s reportage could shield their leak of the full dossier as a “legitimate news story”.
This all occurred within the context of yet another leak: that of the John Podesta emails that were hacked (or rather “phished”) from the DNC and fed to Wikileaks which released them in daily, chapter-like installments.
Trump was incensed by the timing of the leak and addressed it head on. He refused to take a question from a CNN reporter who loudly interrupted him as he was attempting to take a question from Mara Liasson, a reporter who works primarily for left-leaning National Public Radio, but also appears on Fox News.
Several days later, in one of his infamous tweets, he blasted the politically appointed leaders of the intelligence agencies for lending credence to the dossier and essentially accused John Brennan, an undisputed Obama loyalist, as the source of the leak. Bob Woodward, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate story, called the dossier “a garbage document” and called on the intelligence chiefs to apologize for its disclosure.
But this was all too little too late.
Russians Stole Election — Hillary Screwed Again
Rumors began to circulate that the Russians were responsible for the hack because they favored Trump over Hillary. The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians and others have been hacking us for years, it was admitted, but this incident had reached critical mass. The building was engulfed in flame and the onlookers were more interested in watching the conflagration than saving the structure.
Dammit, the Russians have swayed the election (along with their unknowing stooge, James Comey, Director of the FBI), they have made Donald our president and stolen the election from Hillary! She won the popular vote, right? He is illegitimate! He has no standing to take the oath of office! The inauguration must be boycotted!
As is often the case in Washington, particularly among Progressives, this narrative – again, still completely uncorroborated, except for the hacking allegation, although for what it’s worth, Julian Assange maintains his source was unconnected to the Russian government – has been repeated so often that it has become accepted truth.
Even Obama at his final press conference yesterday could have taken a magnanimous step and encouraged his Congressional delegation to set pettiness aside, attend the Inauguration as a sign of good faith and as the appropriate way to honor the Constitution’s transfer of power, and then pound the hell out of one another over disagreements of policy. But he refused to opine which in effect stamped their actions with his seal of approval.
So, as I write this, roughly 1/3 of the 194 Democratic members of the House have announced they will not attend the Inauguration tomorrow. The excuse most often mentioned is the contentious exchange between Rep. John Lewis, one of the last, legitimate icons of the Civil Rights Movement and Donald Trump. Rep. Lewis said that he could not work with the new president because he was illegitimate, because he won the election only because Russia wanted him to, Hillary Clinton was the rightful President and he would boycott an inauguration for the first time in his political career.
He seemed to have forgotten that he boycotted George W. Bush’s inauguration because he felt the election had been stolen from Al Gore.
Had Republicans boycotted Obama’s inauguration for any reason, the reaction in the press would have been cataclysmic. But, by and large, the press is supportive of this boycott because it, too, questions Trump’s legitimacy, it praises the courage of releasing Bradley/Chelsea Manning, it loved Wikileaks when it broke Manning’s confidential material and trashed it when it leaked Podesta’s. Poor Julian Assange: hero of the oppressed one day, tool of the “deep state” the next.