Friday, March 10, 2017

SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds


WaPo |  We learn, for example, from Tuesday’s spectacular WikiLeaks dump that among the CIA’s various and nefarious cybertools is the capacity to simulate intrusion by a foreign power, the equivalent of planting phony fingerprints on a smoking gun. 

Who are you going to believe now? I can assure you that some enterprising Trumpite will use this revelation to claim that the whole storyline pointing to Russian interference in the U.S. election was a fabrication. And who was behind that ? There is no end to this hall of mirrors. My rule, therefore, is: Stay away. 

Hard to do with Washington caught up in one of its periodic conspiracy frenzies. Actually, two. One, anti-Trump, is that he and his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence. The other, anti-Obama-CIA-“deep state,” is that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower to ensnare candidate Trump. 

The odd thing is that, as of today, there is no evidence for either charge. That won’t, of course, stop the launch of multiple all-consuming investigations.

(1) Collusion:
James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, who has been deeply and publicly at odds with Trump, unequivocally states that he has seen zero evidence of any Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Nor has anyone else. 

(2) Wiretap:
The other storyline is simply fantastical. Congressional Republicans have uniformly run away from Trump’s Obama-wiretap accusation. Clapper denies it. FBI Director James Comey denies it. Not a single member of Trump’s own administration is willing to say it’s true. 

Loopier still is to demand that Congress find the truth when the president could just pick up the phone and instruct the FBI, CIA and DNI to declare on the record whether this ever occurred. And if there really was an October 2016 FISA court order to wiretap Trump, the president could unilaterally declassify the information yesterday.

The bugging story is less plausible than a zombie invasion. Nevertheless, one could spin a milder — and more plausible — scenario of executive abuse. It goes like this: