Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Risen risin’

Featured image New York Times reporter James Risen is under subpoena to testify in the prosecution of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. Sterling is under prosecution for blowing a CIA program intended to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. The program was classified beyond top secret. To no discernible public good, Risen publicized the program in his book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The government thinks that »

Ellison remembers to forget

Featured image I bought and read Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison’s My Country, ‘Tis of Thee within a few days of its publication this past January. The book is Ellison’s memoir, written for a national audience. I bought and read the book upon publication because I was interested to see how Ellison would deal with his background as a local activist on behalf of the Nation of Islam. I wrote up »

Who tortured what? Let’s go to the sources

Featured image John Hinderaker took a preliminary look at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Democrats’ report on the CIA detention and interrogation program here. I am still trying to get a handle on what the Democrats have done. I offer the partial list of sources and commentary below as a resource to others like me trying to understand what has happened here. Dianne Feinstein et al., Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll returns with a very special welcome: WELCOME TO PLANET DIVERSITY: AS SEEN ON TV! She writes: We didn’t get T.V. until I was 12, and except for sports, I just never really took to it. Mr. Ammo Grrrll makes up for it, though. Either the T.V. is on or he’s not home. Oh, some programming is decent; but, I find most commercials since the retirement of the E-Trade »

Defeat the omnibus

Featured image So far as we can tell, just about everything appears to be wrong with the omnibus spending bill coming before Congress for passage this week. To the extent that we are able to do so, I would like to amplify the voice of the editors of National Review in their editorial “Defeat the omnibus.” They write: The federal government’s funding authorization expires tonight at midnight, and the Republican plan to »

The royal decree explained

Featured image On Tuesday President Obama was questioned from the left about his royal decree regularizing millions of illegals by Jorge Ramos in “The Fusion interview.” If you always possessed the authority you now claim, Ramos asks, why the delay in the decree? Why the deportations in the meantime? You could have stopped them, Ramos says. Obama’s irritation is visible. He begins to say something to the effect of “we’re not going »

Who tortured what? The Feinstein factor

Featured image I confess that I do not understand the rationale supporting the publication of the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. On its face, it seems like ancient history (of a highly tendentious kind) in the service of a personal grudge. It is not clear to me what is new and it is not clear that what is new is reliable, given the absurd limitations »

Who tortured what? Let’s go to the tape

Featured image The Washington Free Beacon has compiled a set of videos commenting on the torture report issued yesterday by the Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I want to set this up with the clip below from the Media Research Center. In the clip, NBC news anchor Brian Williams asks former CIA Director Michael Hayden “How are we better than our enemies?” (and more). What a ponderous fool Brian »

Dr. Gruber regrets

Featured image Listening to MIT Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber testify before the House Oversight Committee yesterday, we were treated to the full panoply of the Watergate variations. The text of Gruber’s opening statement is posted here, C-SPAN video of the entire hearing is posted with automated transcript here. Gruber groveled. Gruber regretted. Gruber apologized. Gruber was sorry. Gruber pleaded guilty — to vacuous offenses against taste, such as inexcusable arrogance and inappropriate »

Questions that perplex Biden

Featured image Following up on the adjacent post, I want to note that Vice President Biden keynoted the Saban Forum conference in Washington this past Sunday afternoon. The Saban Forum is an annual event including American and Israeli leaders from across the political and social spectrum, organized by Haim Saban and the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. The White House has posted the text of Biden’s remarks here. »

Iran caught cheating

Featured image Yesterday morning the Israel Project’s Omri Ceren wrote us to point out Colum Lynch’s Foreign Policy scoop: The Iranians got caught trying to buy parts for their plutonium-producing reactor at Arak. “Remember that when the Iranians cheat,” Omri wrote, “they have two goals in mind.” He elaborated: (1) Most obviously, cheating advances their nuclear program. (2) More subtly, cheating shifts the leverage in negotiations to the Iranian side. #1 is »

Another side of C.J.

Featured image C.J. (Cheryl Johnson) writes the gossip column for the Star Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities. Her current column shows how hard it can be to come up with material in Minnesota, yet C.J. has kept it going at a brisk pace for lo, these many years. The Minnesota Monthly profiled C.J. in August 2007. The article is accessible online here. It affords a glimpse of her at work around »

Those revolting Swedes

Featured image If you read the Reuters headline — “Firebombs thrown at police in Stockholm riot” — experience will let you fill out the rest of the mysterious story without further effort. Reading the report is actually not much more informative. Some translation is required. Nevertheless, we can do it: Police were attacked with firebombs and rocks in a poor suburb in Sweden’s capital late on Saturday, leading to the arrest of »

NPR drills down

Featured image Falling oil prices are a boon for the common run of mankind. As Steve Hayward notes, however, “environmentalists are all upset about falling oil prices.” As a result, the mainstream media will be searching for stories seeking to convey the dark side of falling energy prices. NPR has now conducted its initial exploration in this vein, drilling down a little too deeply to turn it into a seasonal story. The »

CRB takes a request

Featured image I passed over Angelo Codevilla’s foreign policy essay “While the storm clouds gather” when we previewed the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books. professor of international relations emeritus. Before he went into academia, he served as a Navy officer, a foreign service officer and a member of the professional staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I did so largely because I thought the essay was more »

McSally’s sally: An update

Featured image When they finished counting the votes in Arizona’s Second Congressional District — I believe it’s the redistricted version of the district formerly represented by Gabrielle Giffords — Republican challenger Martha McSally led incumbent Democrat Ron Barber by 161 votes. The final count is subject to a mandatory recount that is underway. The recount is to conclude by December 16. Republicans held two seats in Louisiana’s runoff election yesterday. (In one »

Landrieu lauds herself

Featured image Incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu lost by 12 points to Rep. Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s runoff election yesterday. The Landrieu family business is Democratic politics, Louisiana style. Cassidy is a practicing physician. As she faced imminent defeat, Landrieu charged Cassidy with defrauding whose in the profession Landrieu sought to turn into a scandal as she faced imminent defeat. She charged Cassidy with defrauding LSU in connection with his part-time work »