Archive for the ‘national security’ Category

Collectors of Classified Documents

January 25, 2023

Collectors of Classified Documents

When leaving the White House, everybody takes home some souvenir secret documents. It seems like that, anyway. Trump had 300. Ex-VP Biden had a few. Now it turns out that ex-Veep Mike Pence had some back home in Indiana, too. It’s a questionable hobby.

The federal government began the modern system of document classification in 1951, updating it in 1953 and 2009. Maybe the FBI also needs to search the homes of Harry Truman, Alben Barkley, Ike, Nixon, JFK, LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George W. Bush,  Dick Cheney, and Barack Obama.

Kamala Harris, take heed.

More:

“Trump Angrily Orders Pence to Return All Classified Documents to Mar-a-Lago,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Updates:

See? We told you.

“Classified records pose conundrum stretching back to Carter,” Zeke Miller, Farnoush Amiri, Colleen Long, and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

“US National Archives asks ex-presidents to check for classified papers,” Hugo Lowell, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Anvils Over Kabul

August 8, 2022

Anvils Over Kabul

In Kabul on Sunday morning, July 31st, Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda, was out on the balcony of his villa, smoking a cigarette, maybe, when his revery was interupted by two Hellfire AGM-114R9X missles, which killed him instantly without disturbing other occupants of the building.

The R9X (Romeo Hellfire) missile does not have an explosive warhead. While it has been called the “Flying Ginsu” since it sprouts a bunch of knife blades immediately before impact, it is the blunt kinetic force of the laser-guided, rocket-powered 100 lb. object dropping out of the the sky like a falling anvil that makes it effective. The missiles have been used to minimize collateral damage to bystanders while eliminating targeted individuals, often while they are in automobiles.

Face it, it’s a precision-guided assassin’s weapon, often called the Ninja Bomb, more a tool of vengeance than justice. Whether it’s an appropriate or ethical instrument for anti-terrorism or foreign policy is another matter.

More:

“Ayman al-Zawahiri: How US strike could kill al-Qaeda leader – but not his family,” Bernd Debusmann Jr, BBC News

“Ayman al-Zawahiri’s death: What is the Hellfire R9X missile that the Americans purportedly used?” Sandra Favier, le Monde

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Russia Tried To Hurt Biden In the 2020 Election

March 17, 2021

Russia Tried To Hurt Biden In the 2020 Election

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday released a declassified report on foreign actors’ attempts to influence and interfere in the 2020 election.

The U.S. intelligence community found that Russia and Iran conducted influence operations aimed at affecting the outcome of the election, but that China did not. The report found no indications that foreign actors attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process.

U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the election and sowing divisions.”

— “U.S. intelligence: Putin authorized influence operations to hurt Biden’s candidacy,” Zachary Basu, Axios

More:

“Intelligence Report: Russia Tried To Help Trump In 2020 Election,” Greg Myre, NPR News

“Putin likely directed 2020 U.S. election meddling, U.S. intelligence finds,” Christopher Bing, Joseph Menn, and Raphael Satter, Reuters

“Russia and Iran Tried to Influence 2020 Presidential Election, But China Did Not, Intelligence Report Says,” Julian Barnes, New York Times

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Short link: https://wp.me/p6sb6-wPt

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.