July 12, 2019


PODCAST: Ben Wittes on What Congress Should Ask Mueller (Charlie Sykes, July 10th, 2019, The Bulwark)

On today's Bulwark podcast, Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss the upcoming Mueller hearing, the recent reporting about Russia's involvement promoting the Seth Rich conspiracy, the resignation of Ambassador Kim Darroch, and the future of the emoluments clause.

While the main discussion is, of course, worthwhile--Mr. Wittes lays out the rather simple task before Congress in their questioning of Mr. Mueller--the highlight is the exchange about Kim Darroch, whose intelligence background makes him particularly contemptuous of the current occupant of the Oval.  Mr. Wittes tells a variation of this story, to illustrate how closely knit the Anglosphere is and why our friends responded so forcefully to Donald's collusion with Vlad:

The Time U.S. Spies Thought Al Qaeda Was Ready to Nuke D.C. (Shane Harris, 09.10.16, The Daily Beast)

On Christmas Eve 2003, Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency, made a secure phone call to his British counterpart, David Pepper, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters.

"Happy Christmas, David," Hayden said, speaking to Pepper from NSA headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland, about 20 miles from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Such social calls weren't unusual. The NSA and GCHQ were the closest of allies in a global hunt for the phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications of spies and terrorists.

But Hayden had more on his mind than season's greetings. In recent days, the NSA had been collecting what Hayden would later describe as a "massive amount of chatter"--phone calls and emails from terrorists--that suggested al Qaeda was planning multiple attacks inside the United States, timed to the holidays.

"One more thing, David," Hayden said after the two men exchanged pleasantries. "We actually feel a bit under threat here. And so I've told my liaison to your office that should there be catastrophic loss at Ft. Meade, we are turning the functioning of the American [signals intelligence] system over to GCHQ."

There was a long pause as Pepper absorbed what his American colleague had just told him.

Posted by at July 12, 2019 6:55 AM