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Cole writes: "Donald Trump is a braggart. He grabs a piece of information the way a crow grabs paste jewellery. Unlike the crow who will likely hoard it, Trump passes it around for all to see."

Donald Trump. (photo: USA TODAY)
Donald Trump. (photo: USA TODAY)

"Can You Believe the World We Live In?" Trump Doesn't Understand "Classified"

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

16 May 17


onald Trump is most probably not a Russian spy. He may have unusual connections to Russian businessmen (that isn’t clear), and seems to have made $100 million off Russia since 2008 (not that huge a sum for a multi-billionaire).

Donald Trump is a braggart. He grabs a piece of information the way a crow grabs paste jewellery. Unlike the crow who will likely hoard it, Trump passes it around for all to see.

Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe at WaPo got the story. Trump was bragging to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak and a whole gaggle of Russian reporters from outlets like RT and Sputnik (the US press was excluded, apparently for being the worst people in the world).

We have the best intelligence, he said.

Then he told the story of how we know from an ally who has a spy inside ISIL (ISIS, Daesh) in a particular city, and who discovered that ISIL has an evil plot. They want to take the batteries out of laptops, and fill the space in with a special explosive that is hard to detect. That explosive has to be detonated with a fuse lit on fire, it can’t be done remotely. So the plan was to get a laptop-bomb aboard a plane and light a quick match and … kablooie. This is a variation of previous al-Qaeda plots– the shoebomber put the material in the heel of his shoe, which is why we have to take off our shoes at the airport. They were thinking of dissolving it in a big cup of liquid, which is why we can’t take receptacles of liquid bigger than 3 oz. The underwear bomber over Detroit in 2009 used the same substance, but it is hard to ignite and he had it in a pouch in his underwear, and well, I think he probably can’t have kids anymore, besides doing life in a Federal penitentiary. The underwear bomber had a pouch on his body, which is why those machines at the airport want to see under our clothes.

The big deal is not that Trump told the Russians the vague outlines of the plot. It had more or less been announced because the US is putting pressure on the airlines not to let customers bring laptops into the cabin. I figured that out immediately on hearing it.

The big deal is that Trump told them from which city the foreign intelligence partner of the US derived the information, i.e. which ISIL cell has been penetrated. The US has not told that to anyone among allies, for fear of compromising an ongoing intelligence operation.

Trump may have just killed the spy who with incredible bravery penetrated ISIL.

But if Trump had wanted to slip the Russians this information, he could easily have done so indirectly, through back channels, using some of his private bag men.

He wasn’t deliberately leaking.

He cannot understand the concept of classified information or the consequences of revealing sources and methods.

Despite the attempt to whitewash all this by National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, it is clear that a serious violation was commited by Trump.

Trump is not fit to be president, as a matter of temperament. But his temperament was on full display before the American public and they voted for him anyway, so those voters deserve him.

I can’t let another irony go by. The intel officials who leaked all this to the Washington Post were doing exactly what Edward Snowden did. The WaPo editorial board, despite having itself published some Snowden revelations, has called for him to be jailed. Would they like to call for these leakers to be jailed, too? Or are only some leaks good and others bad.

Another irony is that Snowden is not proved to have endangered any US intelligence assets, whereas we now know that Trump has certainly endangered that of an ally. Snowden made his revelations to protect the US constitution from the American deep state. Trump made his to show off to Lavrov, sort of the way he would boast of his sexual prowess to a night club date.

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+53 # Wise woman 2017-05-16 11:31
Mental midgets are leading the country. But what can one expect? They were voted in by the same who still don't understand the workings of a child's mind in a grownup body. What you don't have, you you can't realize. That leaves the rest of us shaking our heads and worrying about what's coming down the pike next. Are the dems in congress at all concerned? If so, what the hell are they doing about it?
+12 # sayenitnow 2017-05-16 19:32
#Wise woman
Understanding that the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives are all held by the GOP, What "the hell" would you like the Dems to do about Trump that they aren't all ready doing or that they Can Do ???
+14 # Art947 2017-05-16 13:29
It is a good thing that the I.Q. scale goes from 0 - 150+, with an average at 100. If not, then the Drumpf's intelligence would probably rate in negative figures!
+2 # ericlipps 2017-05-17 05:11
Actually, it goes beyond 200; about 1 person in 10,000 has an IQ of 160 or more, and one in a million an IQ of 180 or more. A handful even have IQs over 200.

The "average" is 100 by definition (but actually stands at 106 and rising by constant measures, to keep it at 100, the tests have to be "renormed" every so often.
+19 # Marinski 2017-05-16 13:49
The best intelligence. The worst character.
+7 # pegasus4508 2017-05-16 14:22
I suggest you worry about YOUR OWN representatives in Congress and not random "dems" I know what my representatives are doing weekly. Why don't you?
+8 # Blackjack 2017-05-16 14:30
The Dems are doing what they always do--playing it safe, trying to protect their own circles of power, daring not to jeopardize their money sources. Plus, don't forget that most of the time they're clueless about the real dangers that the Repuke Party has been thrusting on the country for the last 40 years. By the time they have figured it out they have squandered another opportunity to prove that they truly want to be the party of the people.
+27 # Citizen Mike 2017-05-16 15:14
It must be bitter to all the conservatives who hoped Trump would advance their agenda that he turns out to be completely incompetent and useless to them. But his incompetence is what saves us from disaster. He is not as smart as Hitler, who also had a coherent plan and was a good public speaker. This man Trump is just an arrogant fool, no wonder the Russians wanted to elect him. A guy who is easy to schmooze out of anything with just a bit of flattery. Easy to deceive and manipulate.
+12 # jsluka 2017-05-16 16:36
He isn't "useless" to the Rethuglicans, just unpredictable and unreliable. He appointed Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which surely is exactly what the Rethuglican Party wanted to "advance their agenda."
+2 # Robbee 2017-05-16 16:41
Quoting Citizen Mike:
It must be bitter to all the conservatives who hoped Trump would advance their agenda that he turns out to be completely incompetent and useless to them. But his incompetence is what saves us from disaster. He is not as smart as Hitler, who also had a coherent plan and was a good public speaker. This man Trump is just an arrogant fool, no wonder the Russians wanted to elect him. A guy who is easy to schmooze out of anything with just a bit of flattery. Easy to deceive and manipulate.

- or, as robbee said, before election, putin will eat rump's lunch!
+15 # danireland46 2017-05-16 15:38
Every time the donald John Hancock's an executive order, he picks it up and displays it to the room as if his signature is a piece of Divinity. He reminds me of a stubborn, spoiled little kid who wouldn't be toilet trained because it was much easier to just unload in his diaper. Then, when the right bribe got him to start using the toilet, and his bribers made such a big deal out of it, he'd insist on parading everyone, even household guests into the throne room to see his royal deposit. Next time he does it check his face - so proud of his pile of shit.
+12 # Johnny 2017-05-16 16:30
Worse than stupid, Trump is a coward. He promised good relations with Russia when he was running for office. Now he grovels before the malevolent propaganda of deep state warmongers eager for World War III. Trump should state the obvious truth: Russia is not our enemy, and his duty is to the people of the United States, not to a handful of war profiteers and Zionists. Perhaps he simply is too accustomed to lying to tell the truth about anything.
+16 # chrisconnolly 2017-05-16 16:37
Trump may be completely incompetent (I know for sure he is) but that is not going to save us. There is a whole raft of republicans who are giddy about their ability to get their morbid wish list fulfilled. Power, profit and cruelty are in their daily prayers and those prayers have been answered with the buffoon-n-chief . We are not inoculated from corporate war mongering and greed just because he is an idiot. We stand to lose everything we hold scared and necessary to our lives.
0 # dbrize 2017-05-16 17:10
"I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time"
H L Mencken

"If voting mattered they wouldn't let you do it." Besides, it just puts you into another of their NSA databases.

While the ongoing, never ending beltway dog and pony show Chapter 45, continues its run with a new feature, fratricidal deep state civil war, we may all sit back and enjoy the show.

Trump has done what no other president in recent memory has, united deep state inhabitants who hate each other, into action against a common foe...Trump. He's out of control. Their control, that is.

At the the end of this drama, the FBI, CIA, NSA and other deep state interests that often squabble over who gets what share of the take, will not suddenly be chastened and munificent toward we plebes.

Indeed, if or when they dispose of the threat from Trump who frightens all, they will be free to resume their march toward an encompassing though (of course) benevolent national security state pseudo democracy. For our own good of course.

For populist progressive friends, many who inhabit these boards, it is suggested to work at local and state level activities developing strategies untainted by the major parties and their deep state connections.

Of the internecine goings on along the Potomac cesspool?

Let the fake news, largely produced from anonymous sources abetted by MSM imagination and deep state machinations, serve as entertainment value.
+4 # Texas Aggie 2017-05-17 00:21
It has to be admitted that Darth Cheney made the same error more than once of revealing intelligence that should have been kept secret for the sole purpose of advancing his agenda. In one case it meant that a cell of terrorists in the UK were able to get away before the Brits could arrest them.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-05-18 05:21
It is just good to see Trump speaking openly and freely with an important US ally -- Russia. The New Cold Warriors, of which Cole has become, are dead wrong. People voted for Trump partly because he stood for positive relations with Russia. This is a president conducting the foreign policy he was elected to carry out.

So what if the Wapo and the rest of the deep state don't like it. They were not elected. They are an illegitimate government. They think because they represent people with money and the CIA/Pentagon war machine they get to control US foreign policy. Well, there's something called the Wagner Act that makes it a crime for anyone other than the elected president to conduct foreign policy.

The spy inside ISIS is a joke. It is an Israeli fiction created to manipulate the US. Israel supports ISIS. ISIS fighters are treated in Israeli medical centers. The US and Russia should be against Israel and its determination to steal land from Syria. So who gives a shit about an Israeli spy.

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