Friday, December 01, 2017

Dead Man Walking

I'm no defender of SecState Rex Tillerson. The poor rich sap signed on to the Ship of Fools and will walk the plank soon as one of the shortest serving SecStates in history. I can almost feel his pain. But he did call Trump "a fucking moron" in front of people, so he has my respect as a man who both recognizes reality and experiences regret.

It's the dude who everyone says will replace Tillerson at State that we need to watch, Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who accepted Trump's appointment to head the CIA and who looks very much like the ass-kisser who has Trump's number. Pompeo has paved his path upward by delivering the CIA's "daily briefing" personally to the president, and Trump has evidently come to love the news --  "doings out at Langley" -- so long as its laced with indulgence and flattery. Pompeo has demonstrated total slavish loyalty to Trump.

1. Pompeo obeys Trump's whims. Trump's consuming need to deflect on the subject of Russian money/influence became an everyday gripe session with Pompeo. Trump latched onto an alternate theory of how the hacking/leaking/publication of DNC stolen emails could have happened -- a conspiracy theory promoted by a former National Security Agency official. It wasn't the Russians! It was someone on the inside of the DNC who did it. The entire intelligence apparatus of the US, including not just CIA analysts but analysts from other spy agencies, had conclusively agreed that the hack was Russian. But Pompeo was more than ready to indulge Trump's deflection. So under orders,
Pompeo, with Trump.
Photo AP/Andrew Harnik
Pompeo met with the DNC inside job theorist and apparently swapped slobbers.

2.  Pompeo publicly proclaimed in October and in front of cameras that “the intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.” Pompeo neglected to say that the intelligence community never said any such thing.  The intelligence assessment had found, rather, that the Russian operation was unprecedented in its scale, and it concluded that Moscow’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process and help elect Donald Trump. It took no position whatsoever on whether the infiltration actually influenced voting numbers in the election. (As Russian manipulation of Facebook users continues to unfold, the direct impact of Russian meddling on voting statistics seems more certain every day.)

3. Again on orders from Trump (obviously), Pompeo was put on the phone to reporters from the WashingtonPost and The Wall Street Journal to try to knock down a story out that very day in the New York Times, headlined "Trump Aides Had Contact With Russian Intelligence: U.S. Officials Tell of a Flurry of Phone Calls Intercepted Before the Election." Pompeo reportedly told the reporters that the story wasn't true but refused to offer any substantiating detail of how it was untrue.

4. In August, Greg Miller reported, "Mike Pompeo has taken a special interest in an agency unit that is closely tied to the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, requiring the Counterintelligence Mission Center to report directly to him." Hmmm. Good place to be -- directly in charge of agents doing work you don't want them to do successfully. But, also, are you freaking kidding me?

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