Incidental Unmasking

Now we know that then-National Security Advisor to then-President Barack Obama (D) Susan Rice asked several times for American names to be unmasked that had been masked since their presence in communications of foreign nationals that were being legitimately monitored was entirely incidental to the communications and the reasons for which those communications were being monitored.

Rice’s requests were strictly legal; the NSA incumbent is one of the Executive Branch officials with the legal authority to ask for, and to receive, the names to be unmasked without having first to go through a court, even the secretive Star Chamber FISA court.

Distractions

Congressman Adam Schiff (D, CA), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, wants them.  He’s so anxious to have them that he’s insisting that Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R, CA) to stop being Chairman.

Mr Nunes should step aside from any congressional investigation pertaining to Russia or to the “incidental” collection of intelligence information, like what Mr Nunes said occurred to Mr Trump’s transition team.

Mr Schiff said in a statement it was “not a recommendation I make lightly…. I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.”

Inadvertent Tapping and Leaks

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R, CA) revealed the other day enroute to the White House, intelligence community personnel, in the course of surveilling the communications and other activities of foreign nationals (vis., Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak), also surveilled incidentally members of then-President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams, and perhaps Trump himself.  Wire tapping, indeed, if loosely and metaphorically.

Of larger import, though, is this, also from Nunes.

…the intelligence “ended up in reporting channels and was widely disseminated.”

It was previously reported that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was “unmasked” in this way; however, Nunes said “additional names” were unmasked as well.

The Party of No Refugees

…doesn’t turn out to be Republicans, or even President Donald Trump.

Recall the Vietnam War, and our collapse in it, including the abandonment of South Vietnam by the Democrats then controlling the Congress when North Vietnam began its final invasion and that Democratic Congress refused to allow the US to try to rescue the South.

Recall the vasty numbers of refugees trying to escape the North’s takeover and to come to the US.

The Democrats said, “No!”

…a chorus of big name Democrats…refused to accept any Vietnamese refugees when millions were trying to escape South Vietnam as it fell to the communists.

Is It 20 January Yet?

It’s always someone else’s fault with these Democrats.

At a final press conference in Washington, DC Thursday….

Kerry disagreed with the narrative that Obama failed to enforce the red line, however, saying the president did intend to act—but was steered off course after the British Parliament narrowly voted against bombing Syria in August 2013.

The motorboat skipper said this:

The president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, did decide to use force. And he announced his decision publicly and said we’re going to act, we’re going to do what we need to do to respond to this blatant violation of international law and of warnings and of the red line he had chosen[.]

Slow-Motion Surrender

Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian industrialist and philanthropist, seems to want one.  Here’s his suggestion in a Wall Street Journal op-ed with the subheadline Crimea should not get in the way of a deal that ends the war. The lives that will be saved are worth it.  In particular, Pinchuk recommends the following for Ukraine to agree:

  • Ukraine should consider temporarily eliminating European Union membership from our stated goals for the near future. We can build a European country, be a privileged partner, and later discuss joining.

Federal Green Expenditures

Watts Up With That has some ideas for budget cutting in the next administration.  Or, actually, these ideas come from Salon (!) via WUWT (never mind that cutting isn’t what Salon meant).

  • Energy Department

2017 climate-related budget: $8.5 billion

  • Interior Department

2017 climate-related budget: $1.1 billion

  • State Department

2017 climate-related budget: $984 million

  • NASA

2017 climate-related budget: $1.9 billion

  • Environmental Protection Agency

2017 climate-related budget: $1.1 billion

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2017 climate-related research and development: $190 million

That works out to $13.8 billion of “useless waste.”  Yes, indeedy.

Why Trump Needs To Stop Ditching The Press Pool

At least that’s what Juan Williams thinks in his Fox News piece last Thursday.  He’s far from the only pressman who thinks so, too.

It seems that President-elect Donald Trump was rude enough to want to have dinner out with a few folks without the madding crowd of papparazi and other reporters hanging over their shoulders.  So he and his group evaded the press pool that was following him around.

“THERE’S GUNFIRE—WE’RE MOVING THE PRESIDENT.”

I heard those scary words from a Secret Service agent on October 23, 1983. I was covering President Reagan for The Washington Post and happened to be near the tiny group of journalists—the so-called “presidential press pool,” as he attended the Master’s golf tournament.

Honeypots

In the cyber world, a honeypot

consists of data (for example, in a network site) that appears to be a legitimate part of the site but is actually isolated and monitored, and that seems to contain information or a resource of value to attackers, which are then blocked.

Of course, nothing prevents nefarious persons or entities from using honeypots to draw in honest folks for nefarious purposes.  Purposes like the following.

The trove of leaked Democratic National Committee emails posted to Wikileaks on July 22 has sparked concerns about malware as users access the vast trove of documents.

On the day of the leak, Google’s Transparency Report warned users of dangerous downloads from Wikileaks.org. Google has not revealed specifically what was detected….

The Feds Want to be in your Child’s School Bathroom

…right along with anyone else confused about who should or should not be there.

The Obama administration will send a letter to every public school district in the country telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity, as opposed to their birth certificate.

President Barack Obama (D) threatened in his letter to withhold Federal funding for those school districts impertinent enough to not comply with his decree.  South Dakota v Dole might have an impact on his threat, but Obama has never let legitimacy get in the way of his edicts, and this is another lame duck/what’re-you-gonna-do-about-it-in-my-last-8-months example.