Oh. My. God.
I never expected this -- and yet it makes a lot of sense.
After all, Devin Nunes is a former dairy farmer heading up the House intelligence community. The poor guy is in way over his head. He seems to have fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book
The fun started the day before Nunes made his instantly-infamous press conference, when (says the Daily Beast) he got a sooper-seekrit
text message while riding around in an Uber with a chief aide. Nunes suddenly left the car and, we now know, popped on over to the White House -- or rather, another building technically located on White House grounds. There, someone ushered him into a special sooper-seekrit room where he was plopped in front of a computer and allowed to look at sooper-seekrit classified documents
Nunes went to the building because he needed a secure area to view the information, he told CNN. He said he didn't believe the President nor any of his West Wing team were aware he was there, and the White House said Monday it learned of Nunes' visit through media reports and directed any questions to the congressman.
A former government intelligence official told CNN on Monday that members of Congress, like the general public, must be cleared and escorted into facilities on White House grounds.
"Every non-White House staffer must be cleared in by a current White House staffer," the official said. "So it's just not possible that the White House was unaware or uninvolved."
Nunes said he was there for additional meetings "to confirm what I already knew" but said he wouldn't comment further so as to not "compromise sources and methods." A spokesman for Nunes said he "met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source."
A government official said Nunes was seen Tuesday night at the National Security Council offices of the Eisenhower building which, other than the White House Situation Room, is the main area on the complex to view classified information in a secure room.
The official said Nunes arrived and left alone.
What a rube. What a rube
Although, to be fair, the idea of the White House pulling this trick on a sitting congressman is quite unusual. Perhaps unprecedented. Usually, spooks use this ploy on journalists -- if the journalists are really, really naive.
The Brits used to call this gambit the double bubble
. The CIA has another name for it which I've run into in the course of my readings, but which I've forgotten. (Perhaps a reader can refresh my memory.) Basically, it's the old "You may look, but you may not copy" trick, in which the mark is granted rare access to an impressively secret and secure room where he is allowed to look at classified documents. Sort of like that scene in Citizen Kane
, Donald Trump's favorite movie.
Are the documents real
? Or are they a cunning mixture of real and fake?
The mark doesn't know. He presumes
that they are real because he's caught up in a James Bond fantasy world. It's all so sooper-seekrit, and he is just soooooooo special because these bigwigs trust him and him alone with all of this sooper-seekrit classified material.
"I'm in on it! Nobody else. Just ME! I must be really important because they chose ME!"
The double bubble proved very effective in the 1970s, when it was used on American journalists covering "the troubles" in Northern Ireland. The marks were allowed to see sooper-seekrit documents which "proved" that the IRA was funded by the USSR. This was not
the case: In reality, the IRA received much of its funding from Irish-Americans, who would not have donated if they believed that the IRA was a Soviet front organization.
That's why selected American journalists were led into a very secure compound controlled by the British Army and left alone with documents that seemed
very real. You may look,
they were told, but you may not copy.
The trick worked. The disinformation about the IRA spread throughout the world.
Are you old enough to recall when imprisoned IRA fighter Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike back in 1981? I am. When I told my friends that I admired the guy, one of my college pals -- and we're talking about a rather left-wing guy -- became furious with me. "Don't you know that the IRA is a front for the Soviet Union?"
The double bubble has been tried on many other occasions; turn here
for a tale involving British journalist Con Coughlin. For reasons which no outsider can fathom, it has been used to spread some very strange rumors. As in: STRANGE.
The weirdest occurrence was in 1988, when a gullible newswoman named Linda Moulton Howe was invited into Kirtland Air Force Base and allowed to read (without copying) a document about aliens, allegedly produced in the 1950s to brief Ike. It was all pure bullshit, of course. If the Air Force really wanted to reveal that kind of secret, they would have chosen someone more important than Linda Moulton Howe.
The obvious question: Why
did they bullshit her? That's the mystery a lot of people are still trying to answer.
A lot of people -- but not me
. At least not here and now. I don't want this blog to be associated with all of that silliness, so I beg readers not to fill the comments section with their own ideas as to why Howe was hornswoggled. I'll say only that I do not
believe in aliens -- and if you believe otherwise, feel free to argue your case somewhere else. It's a big damn internet and this is just one small blog. I mention the Howe case in this context only because it offers such a perfect demonstration of how the double bubble works.
(If you want to do further research, check out a book called Mirage Men
by Mark Pilkington.)
Linda Moulton Howe is still working, bless her heart; I heard her voice the last time I caught a bit of the George Snore-y show, some years ago. I wonder what she
thought when she heard the latest news about Congressman Devin Nunes? I imagine that she smiled, nodded, and thought: "Welcome to the club, fella. Same thing happened to me
So: Those documents that Devin saw. Real or fake?
Think about it: If they were totally real, they would have been shared with the rest of the committee, or at least with the leadership. But they probably were not completely bogus. Good disinformation mixes genuine stuff in with the horsecrap.
Louise Mensch has her own views as to what the "genuine stuff" might be. See here
. In a coming post, I may deal at greater length with what she has to say.
(Has Louise Mensch herself been double bubbled? I wouldn't doubt it. She is mixed up with spooks whom she trusts completely. Her chick-lit books must have offered a wealth of material to the MI6 or MI5 agent tasked with writing up her psychological profile -- and you know damned well that there is
such a profile, because the spooks profile everyone
. All of her sexual fantasies and personal issues are right out there for anyone to see. It would be very easy for the right sort of "alpha male" to manipulate her.)
(Nevertheless, my crush on her remains as profound as ever.)
Getting back to dairyman Devin: I suspect that he was brought into that sooper-seekrit room because the Trumpers sized him up as naive and easily manipulated. Sort of a male version of Linda Moulton Howe.
In the past, one purpose of the double bubble was to expose the fake information as fake and thereby discredit the mark, who has no way to prove that he saw what he saw. The public tends to blame the messenger, as long as the tricksters retain plausible deniability. (That's why it's called a double
However, I don't think that this scenario explains the strange case of Devin Nunes. Something else is going on, although I'm not sure what that "something" is. It may be that Donald Trump simply wanted a news cycle in which he could claim vindication, even a partial vindication. Remember, he's playing to an audience of "redpilled" repugnants who live within an alternative news universe.
It must also be understood that Nunes was told about those documents
long before he was allowed to see them.
Look, it's been pretty obvious that he got this information from the White House since Trump himself telegraphed over a week ago that "something" was coming:
Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that despite all the denials from every institution and person in a position to know, “You’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
He always tips his hand. He can't help himself.
Trump's "wink and nudge" act is one of the reasons why I was convinced all along that Trump was going to gin up evidence against Obama. This may still happen. The tabloids (which always offer a fascinating view of the reality that the Trumpers want
us to accept) keep telling us that Obama and Hillary are going to be tried and convicted. When -- if -- Trump solidifies power, he may be in a position to convene Kangaroo Court.
By the way: This interview with Nunes
proves what I've been saying all along: There is a pro-Trump faction within our intelligence community
. The "spooks-vs-Trump" narrative that has been shoved down our throats is simplistic at best and deceptive at worst.
On an unrelated note:
A reader named Paul privately sent me a note which explained the "Google" oddity mentioned in the post below. Apparently, the phrase "the one identifying Boris Epshteyn as "Source E"" was contained in another post linking to
the story in question. Until now, I did not know that Google worked that way. Please forgive my ignorance. Live an' lurn an' shit!