Apologies for my absence yesterday. The big news, obviously, concerns the leak of a classified NSA document
revealing that the GRU had used "spearfishing" tactics to hack into the vote counting machines
We've long had many excellent reasons to deduce that such a hack-attack won the election for Donald Trump. Here are two.
: Trump "drew to an inside straight" on election day. The sheer unlikelihood of his win was about as plausible as the theory of two unconnected
assassins firing at JFK in 1963. (And yes, that ridiculous scenario appeared in at least one mainstream publication -- either Time
I forget which -- when the HSCA closed up shop.)
: Throughout the recount process, Trump's lawyers continually raised objections, often quite silly and petty objections. Any attempt to impede a recount is tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Reasons 1 and 2 are hardly the only indicators of fraudulence. Interested parties should study Brad Friedman's coverage of the recounts.
And now we have an NSA document proving what I surmised at the start.
Election fraud is the only conceivable reason for the GRU to have done what it did. No one can deny that Russia has demonstrated intent
to hack the vote, just as no-one can deny that Russia has demonstrated the ability
to commandeer the necessary computers. Given the obvious absurdity of what happened on election day, we need no further evidence of Russia's guilt. We already have our smoking gun. If you now say "A smoking gun isn't enough," if you insist on seeing video of the bullet actually striking a vital organ, you are guilty of the fallacy called moving the goalposts
The leaker of this document was wise to offer it to The Intercept, since Glenn Greenwald can hardly be called a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Many Democrats have come to despise Greenwald. For precisely that reason, his publication was the ideal venue.
At first, I suspected that this disclosure might have some relation to the upcoming testimony of NSA Director Mike Rogers, who reportedly has a "bomb" to drop on Donald Trump
. By day's end, however, we learned that the leaker was a 25 year-old contractor in Georgia -- a linguist (fluent in Pashto and Farsi) with the unlikely name of Reality Leigh Winner.
Like Chelsea Manning, Winner appears to have acted purely out of conscience. She was caught rather easily. Only about six people had printed out that particular document, and the FBI was able to determine that she was the only one of the six to contact The Intercept. (I presume that the Bureau learned this information by examining her email metadata.)
Her actions were criminal. No doubt about that.
In spite of that fact -- no: BECAUSE of that fact -- I consider her a hero.
On very rare occasions, excruciatingly harsh circumstances may force one to choose between loyalty to the law and adherence to a higher moral code. To cite the most obvious example, I give you these three names: Miep Gies, Victor Kugler and Jan Gies. They, along with about a dozen other people, helped to hide Anne Frank and her family in that well-known attic. All of these "helpers" were lawbreakers. All were heroes.
This blog displays the symbol of the White Rose atop each page. The left column features a picture of the extraordinary Sophie Scholl, leader of the White Rose resistance movement in Hitler's Germany. Her first leaflet contained these words:
Nothing is so unworthy of a nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by a clique that has yielded to base instinct…Western civilization must defend itself against fascism and offer passive resistance...
In following the dictates of her conscience, Scholl felt that she had no choice but to break the law. She was executed in 1944.
I consider her a hero as sublime as Joan of Arc -- who was also a lawbreaker.
So was Rosa Parks. So was Gandhi.
So was Martin Luther King. In his famous letter from Birmingham Jail -- long recognized as a masterpiece of rhetoric -- King writes:
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
King was right: There are indeed two types of laws, just and unjust. Just as King argued that a law is unjust if it degrades human personality, I would argue that any law is unjust if it protects the subverters of democracy.
Our cup of endurance has indeed run over. Loyalty to a usurper is disloyalty to America.
Ms. Winner may be a criminal, but she is not a traitor. In my view, the true traitors are the five people who saw the same document and did not
leak. One day, when reason and democracy are restored, I hope that those five people are named and shamed. They
deserve punishment, not Ms. Winner.
We may safely presume that there are many similar documents within the computers of our intelligence community. Any NSA employee -- from the lowliest contractor to Director Rogers -- who has seen this kind of information and maintained silence may be considered Trump's co-conspirator.
When treason enters the Oval Office, the rule is simple: If you see something, say something. Shout
something. Damn the consequences.
Yes, secrecy oaths should be considered sacred -- under normal circumstances. Current circumstances are not normal
. No oath, no law, no classification stamp can have more importance than these five words: The president is a traitor
My father worked with classified materials when he designed components used in the space program. He was a patriotic American who served in Korea and helped us get to the moon. Yet I feel certain that my father would not have maintained silence if he saw a classified document exposing Russian interference in a presidential election. I believe that he would have done the honorable thing regardless of personal consequences.
It will be argued that something like the "Coventry dilemma" may be at play here: Exposing secret information may burn sources and methods. Perhaps so, but isn't that kind of exposure going on right now anyways
? It is quite obvious to any thinking person that the Trump administration has compromised our national security. Our moles within the Russian intelligence system have been arrested and led off to grim fates. God only knows what military and defense secrets these Trumpian traitors have already divulged.
Trump has refused to nominate personnel to fill important security positions (including the Assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense!
Trump refused to honor our NATO commitment, thereby furthering Putin's goal of weakening or ending the alliance.
When Sputnik published a story which haughtily demanded that Trump return the compounds in Maryland and Virginia, Trump did as the Russians commanded, just like a dog following the orders of a master who kicks him.
What more evidence do we need? Do not ascribe to stupidity that which is best explained by betrayal.
Let me quote Jack Goldsmith
, Harvard professor and founder of the Lawfare blog. I have translated his tweets into conventional prose:
Trump’s actions since January, & especially in last month, take us so far beyond normal that it’s hard to have any faith in Exec branch. In the last month alone he has told many lies, fired Comey related to Russia probe, dissed long-time allies, re-attacked courts, shut out & viciously attacked the press, reacted whole inappropriately to London attack, spilled deep secrets to Russians, called appointment of Mueller by his DAG Rosenstein a “witch hunt,” called honorable former officials liars, etc. etc. etc. Given POTUS’s instability, it is not just courts that have reason to relax presumption of regularity for this Prez.
The impulsive, uncontrolled, ill-informed President infects the legal soundness of everything his administration does. As best I can tell, no President’s actions have ever so adversely affected trust in his administration, including Nixon during Watergate.
Louise Mensch. Her reaction to Reality Winner
left me stunned and sickened:
Reality Winner is spying for Russia and leaking to America's enemy Greenwald. Lock her up and throw away the key. @snowden caught
Spying for Russia?
There is absolutely no evidence of this. None. Winner's online history is clear: She genuinely despises Trump. How can a woman who revealed Russia's election hacking be considered a Russian spy? (Besides, a trained agent would have sent the document via Tor or snail mail.)
The CIA used to have a term for the paranoid attitude that Mensch is now displaying: Sickthink
For the past few weeks, I have struggled to come up with ways to defend Louise Mensch, even after many others had turned against her, and even after so many Menschian "scoops" turned out to be baseless. But this smear of Winner is absolutely unendurable.
Malcolm Nance has strongly hinted that Mensch herself is the "agent," intent on destroying the credibility of the Resistance. I don't know if he is right, but one can point to the following pieces of evidence against Louise Mensch:
1. Her many false claims, always attributed to unnamed "sources."
2. Her pre-election attempts to smear Hillary Clinton.
3. Her ties to Rupert Murdoch.
4. Her membership in the Tory party, which has indisputable ties to Cambridge Analytica
5. Her refusal to discuss the possibility that a faction within western intelligence aided in the rise of Trump. Cambridge Analytica may indeed have obscure indirect
links to Russia, but that firm's ties to British and American intelligence are strong and indisputable. Mensch refuses to acknowledge those ties. Why?
Now Louise Mensch, in defiance of both evidence and logic, has smeared Reality Winner as a Russian spy. If Mensch had simply voiced disapproval or even detestation of Winner's act, we could agree to disagree. But...a Russian spy?
Ridiculous. What's next? Is she going to say that Ulysses Grant was the puppet of Jefferson Davis? Is she going to say that Charles I worked for Cromwell? Is she going to say that Alex Jones takes money from the Clinton Foundation?
Hm. I smell something. What's that perfume you're wearing, Louise? Sure seems familiar. It reminds me of the cologne favored by Larry Johnson back in 2008. I got a good whiff of it back then, and I'll never forget the stench. I believe it's called Eau de rat