National Security

NATO general echoes Trump’s critique of NATO

Featured image Donald Trump has been criticized for declaring NATO obsolete. In my view, the truth of Trump’s statement depends on what he meant by “obsolete.” If Trump meant that NATO is no longer useful, I think he is wrong. If Trump meant, as he seemed to, that NATO needs to be revised and restructured, I think he is right. I’m not the only one. Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post reports »

Trump acknowledges Russian election-related hacking efforts [Update: media dishonesty ensues]

Featured image President-elect Donald Trump was briefed today by senior intelligence officials who laid out their case regarding Russian cyber-intrusion into American politics, especially the recent presidential election. After the meeting, Trump acknowledged that Russia hacked the Democrats. He also said that Russia attempted to hack the Republicans. Here is his statement: I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect »

GOP Senators bring clarity to the Russia election hacking debate

Featured image Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Russian hacking especially as it pertained to last year’s presidential election. Paul Kane, a liberal at the Washington Post, gives this account: Senate Republicans walked a tightrope Thursday trying to show their toughness against Vladi­mir Putin’s Russia without undermining the legitimacy of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in November. Again and again during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Russian »

How not to respond to Russian cyber meddling

Featured image Let’s say you’re Vladimir Putin and your agents caused hacking of the emails of John Podesta and the DNC. If U.S. intelligence officials concluded that you were responsible for the hacking, what reaction would you want from the U.S. government? My guess is that Putin would want the U.S. to be reacting just about the way it is now. He would want the president officially to accuse Russia of meddling »

Obama to probe alleged Russian election meddling; Senate might too

Featured image President Obama has ordered his intelligence agencies to conduct a review of hacking during the 2016 presidential election and present their findings before he leaves office. Alleged Russian hacking during the election might also become part of a broader Senate probe into Russian cyber-threats. Donald Trump has been dismissive of reports of Russian interference and critical of the U.S. intelligence community for assessing that Russia interfered. He insists that the »

Three more Trump selections

Featured image President-elect Trump has made at least three more selections for top-level jobs. Gen. John Kelly is his pick to head the Department of Homeland Secretary. Trump has also chosen Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and Iowa governor Terry Branstad to be the U.S. ambassador to China. Pruitt’s selection will cause liberals the most heartburn. As the attorney general of his state, he has led the fight »

Mike McCaul: the wrong man to run Dept. of Homeland Security

Featured image Like nearly all conservatives I know, I’ve been impressed by most of Donald Trump’s selections for key posts in his administration. Jeff Sessions, Mike Pompeo, Tom Price, Gen. James Mattis, and Nikki Haley all seem like excellent choices. Trump hasn’t yet selected a head for the Department of Homeland Security. Under current conditions, this job is as important as any in the administration. One of the frontrunners is said to »

Gen. Mattis reportedly tabbed for Secretary of Defense

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense. Team Trump has not confirmed this report. Gen. Mattis retired from the military four years ago. Under federal law, defense secretaries must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years. Thus, Congress will be called on to grant an exception for Gen. Mattis, as it did for General »

Hillary Clinton: Architect of disaster

Featured image Many conservatives hold out hope that, as president, Hillary Clinton will be okay on foreign policy and national security issues. A few even plan to vote for her for this reason, seeing Donald Trump as worse than Clinton on these matters. Keith Kellogg, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and adviser to the Trump campaign, demonstrates that hopes for a sound foreign national security policy can only be founded on »

Is Clinton as bad as Trump on his worst issues?

Featured image Plenty of conservatives are balking at the prospect of voting for Donald Trump, and not just the NeverTrumpers. There is also the “Hardly Ever” Trump contingent, some of whom, like me, are still making up their minds. One option I would thought have no conservative would choose is to vote for Hillary Clinton. Yet, some conservatives intend to do just that. As far as I can tell, they consist mainly »

Memo sheds new light on Clinton-Russia uranium scandal

Featured image Of all the Clinton Foundation/Clinton cash scandals, the one I’ve always considered most disturbing involves the Russians gaining control over a large share of America’s uranium. Relying on a New York Times report, I wrote about this scandal here. Newly uncovered State Department documents shed additional light on this scandal. But before getting to the new material, I’ll summarize what the New York Times reported. What we knew already In »

And Now: DNC Voicemails!

Featured image When Wikileaks first released classified materials embarrassing to the Bush Administration, the left either celebrated or was silent about the security implications of this kind of disclosure of classified information. This contrasts with the case of the Pentagon Papers way back in 1971. Since those secret documents were deeply embarrassing to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Nixon’s political operatives briefly considered exploiting them for partisan gain. But Nixon and Kissinger »

“Soul Searching” for thee but not for me

Featured image Jennifer Rubin, whose “Right Turn” space at the Washington Post seems reserved lately for attacks on Donald Trump, finds “problematic” last night’s “Make America Safe Again” theme at the GOP convention. The most consistent anti-Trump voices in the party, she notes, have been foreign policy conservatives. This is probably true. But Rubin doesn’t explain why the fact that Trump disagrees with foreign policy conservatives on some matters renders problematic the »

James Comey’s baffling testimony (3) — Criminal intent

Featured image Yesterday, I watched James Comey’s testimony from start to finish (okay, I fast-forwarded through some of the questioning by Democrats). Comey came across well. In a better world, all government witnesses would answer questions as straightforwardly as he did. Yet, Comey’s testimony continued to baffle me. Scott and I have discussed his seemingly nonsensical contention that more than gross negligence is required to establish a violation of a statute that »

Experts say Hillary’s email was probably hacked

Featured image According to David Sanger of the New York Times, experts believe that Hillary Clinton’s email account probably was hacked successfully. They also say that James Comey’s statement on the subject suggests he believes this too. Comey chose his words carefully. He said his investigators found no “direct evidence” that Hillary Clinton’s email account had been “successfully hacked.” It’s reasonable to infer that they found circumstantial evidence of successful hacking. Circumstantial »

Dereliction of duty in the Persian Gulf

Featured image On the evening in which the capture by Iran of the crews of two U.S. Navy boats hit the news, I happened to be in the company of three retired high ranking military officials. The reaction of all three was the same: the crews were derelict in their duty; heads should roll. The Navy, having wrapped up its investigation of the matter, has reached the same conclusion. Its report finds »

A Risen in the sun, cont’d

Featured image James Risen is a New York Times reporter who has done great damage to the national security of the United States, some through leaks he has published in the Times and some through leaks the Times has passed. The case of fired CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling involves one such leak on which the Times passed but that Risen included in his book State of War. Sterling was prosecuted and convicted »