Clear and present danger


Jebus. All it takes to be qualified to participate in discussions of national security with our Resident* is to cough up for a $200,000 membership to Mar-A-Lago? I’m out. I can’t even imagine having that much money, period, let alone be able to throw it away on a country club. But at a dinner with the Japanese president, the American Resident* basically invited everyone at the table to peer at incoming information about a North Korean missile launch. Suddenly, I’m sure, every foreign intelligence agency has perked up at the idea that they can get access relatively cheaply, just by paying this old clown for the privilege.

I am kind of terrified. Didn’t we just have an election where the far right was shrieking about Clinton’s email server and the possibility that spies might compromise its security? I wonder how much it would cost to buy an email account on that server.

And then, christ, one of the hack fat cats and Trump supporters took photos and bragged of having hung out with the security guy carrying the nuclear football. Said hypothetical spy who bought his way into Mar-A-Lago can now look forward to snatching access to the biggest weapons system on the planet, or at least stealing it to prevent a response.

This is totally bonkers. I’m not normally one of those paranoid doomsday-preppin’ kinds of kooks, but maybe I should start pricing guns and giant tubs of survivalist chow.

Comments

  1. says

    I have a post up about this, too. Appalling doesn’t begin to cover it, and no, it was not up to Abe to deal with the situation in a proper manner.* It was up to our supposed president.
     
    *Sorry, really annoyed this excuse came up at my place.

  2. says

    to cough up for a $200,000 membership to Mar-A-Lago?

    Apparently the solution to a “swamp” full of lobbyists is to build another swamp somewhere else!!

  3. says

    It wasn’t just the far right shrieking about Hillary’s e-mails. It was the New York Times and the entire corporate media, who made it the single greatest issue in the election.

  4. blf says

    This is the so-called “excuse” (@2):

    Two observations: (1) Abe & his advisors were complicit — He / they should have said, perhaps initially, and in any case, as soon the conversation was apparent, “Mr President, This matter needs further discussion in a secure area”; and (2) When the news was delivered, it should have been something like, “Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, An incident has happened which security protocol requires to be discussed in a secure area”.

    Assuming the security staff from one or both nations are on the ball, it should be the case hair furor will get a chewing out, and — more effectively — his aids ordered to insist on only telling teh trum-prat in a secure area, with instructions to refuse any order / shouting with something like “Sir! The matter involves security and I will not jeopardize my country [or your profits –blf] by providing any further information here, in the open.” Which can be made possible by the individual not knowing what is up, her / his orders are simply to inform hair furor he is expected in the local secure area.

    Stopping hair furor would have stopped the incident. But hair furor can only have single-handedly made the incident possible in a magical world where he knows everything, correctly and (near-)instantaneously. Observing there were multiple failures leading up to (enabling) the “prime failure” is clearly not an attempt to justify teh trum-prat’s actions. Nor is pointing out it should not have been allowed to continue.

  5. blf says

    It was the New York Times and the entire corporate media, who made [Secretary Clinton’s e-mails] the single greatest issue in the election.

    Possibly in the States. Not everywhere else in the world.

  6. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Everyone knows you’re supposed to finish reading My Pet Goat before you deal with a crisis like this.

  7. michaelwbusch says

    Suddenly, I’m sure, every foreign intelligence agency has perked up at the idea that they can get access relatively cheaply, just by paying this old clown for the privilege.

    If the Guardian media group’s sources are accurate, various US intelligence agencies are already operating under the assumption that Trump and company are leaking information to Russian intelligence continuously. And the US intelligence community has begun systematically redacting the information that they provide to Trump and his staff to prevent the most sensitive data from being leaked, on the grounds that Trump has not been paying attention to the information himself anyway: http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trump-administration-mike-flynn-russian-embassy/ .

    In more encouraging news, polling last week found that 46% of the US population wants Trump impeached – a fraction that’s been steeply and continuously increasing since he was sworn in. Time for all 147 million of us who want Trump gone to tell our members of Congress to do their job and impeach him: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2017/02/americans-now-evenly-divided-on-impeaching-trump.html .

  8. goaded says

    “What about the wait staff?”

    Wouldn’t that be priceless, POTUS paying people to spy on him. :)

  9. Brian English says

    If Trump is successfully impeached, doesn’t that make Pence president?
    Out of the fire, and into the inferno, no?
    And if Pence is successfully impeached, doesn’t that make Mitch McZombie president?
    Out of the inferno, into the nuclear meltdown?
    And if McZombie is impeached, doesn’t that make Paul I worship women who aren’t sluts Ryan president?
    Out of the nuclear meltdown and into the Gamma ray burst….

  10. randyshane says

    While the consequences of each successive succession sound about right (brr…!), the line of succession is Pence, Speaker of the House Ryan, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch, and then down the cabinet in order oldest to newest departments, starting with State’s Tillerson.

    :pedantry off

  11. michaelwbusch says

    Brian English @12 and randyshane @13:

    At this point, Pence’s misogynistic would-be theocrat evil seems less bad than Trump’s “I want to nuke things” kleptocracy. That is the extent of the current disaster.

    And presumably if Pence became president he would purge those members of the cabinet who are most loyal to Trump and his handlers (e.g. Tillerson, Sessions) and replace them.

  12. michaelwbusch says

    @sarah00 @15: Oops. Sorry about that – I wrongly conflated the New York Observer with The Observer, the Guardian group’s weekly.

  13. DLC says

    Trump is dangerous in the same way allowing one of the passengers to command a giant cruise ship is dangerous. He may be clever or stupid but because of his ignorance his actions are much more likely to have negative consequences, and in this case the negative consequences could be disastrous.

  14. lanir says

    @blf #2:

    You’re looking at it as a static incident you get to react to while no one gets to react to any change you introduce. A foreign leader, especially one trained as a diplomat, is not obligated to inform his host during a sensitive incident that said host is being an idiot. Not even if he says it diplomatically. For all we know, he suggested something and was rebuffed.

    Strategically speaking, it was very smart of Prime Minister Abe to remain where he had access to apparently unfettered intelligence about the incident. Nations frequently behave like children. There’s no playground mom around to make the US ‘fess up if we decide not to tell Japan everything we know even if we’ve agreed to do so. Access to the same intelligence a foreign leader has is a pretty big deal. To risk not having access to that would be a very poor choice.

    This is probably the best diplomatic move Trump has done so far, I just wish it didn’t look like such an obvious train wreck with semi-random bystanders also getting the same information.

  15. ck, the Irate Lump says

    michaelwbusch wrote:

    At this point, Pence’s misogynistic would-be theocrat evil seems less bad than Trump’s “I want to nuke things” kleptocracy. That is the extent of the current disaster.

    Competent evil versus incompetent “I think we should use our nukes” evil. That shouldn’t be a tough choice. Yet many (arguably wrongly) framed the Presidental election in those same terms and decided they’d rather have the nuke-happy, incompetent one. What’s the worst that he could do, they asked. He’ll be stopped by congress before he does anything really stupid, they insisted. There’s limits on his power, they assured us.

    Today, the president “will not be questioned”, his spokespeople tell us. Great.

  16. stwriley says

    Didn’t we just have an election where the far right was shrieking about Clinton’s email server and the possibility that spies might compromise its security?

    And just to heap the security follies and hypocrisy on a bit more, it was just two weeks ago that Newsweek reported that top White House staff under Trump, including Conway, Kushner, Spicer, and Bannon all have accounts on a private RNC server. Not only is this the same server system that “lost” 22 million emails from the Bush administration, it’s also the one that was hacked by the Russians at the same time as the DNC servers were.

    I don’t even know if hypocrisy is a sufficient term for what the Trump administration is doing these days. We may have to invent a new word to cover just how bad this all is.

  17. gijoel says

    I don’t know what you’re complaining about. This just makes it easier for Drumpf to send his information to his Russian handlers.

  18. robro says

    I know it’s a bit orthogonal to the security question, but how much are we the people paying TweeterDumb to hold state dinners at his country club? This guy is really soaking us. I read that TweeterDumb said he would pay for it, but not clear what that “it” is.

  19. robro says

    erikthebassist — Yeah! Couldn’t happen to a nicer scumbag. One down and a few dozen hundred to go. (Guardian coverage here.)

  20. michaelwbusch says

    How much are we the people paying TweeterDumb to hold state dinners at his country club?

    A bit more than $3 million each time Trump spends a weekend at the place: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-mar-lago-taxpayers-234562 .

    Given how often Trump has been doing so and the costs to taxpayers for his family living in Trump Tower, Trump is on track to divert more than $1 billion directly from taxpayers to his personal accounts if he stays in office for 4 years.

    Trump is a kleptocrat.

  21. Rich Woods says

    @Moggie #8:

    Not everyone there had to pay $200k to eavesdrop. What about the wait staff?

    There’s a good probability that the world’s intelligence agencies have been infiltrating Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower for the last 8 months. Every time a job opens up, a dozen sleeper agents get activated.

    I expect the best way for the Secret Service to identify which new employee actually is a spy would be to assess who has been the most ambitious and worked to get a position which brings them into regular contact with Trump.

    Once upon a time I would have realised how paranoid this sounds.

  22. anat says

    If we survive the Trump administration without any major attacks, it wouldn’t be for lack of opportunity, it will be because the would be attacker doesn’t want to lose the entertainment provided by the stupidity of Trump and those surrounding him.

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