The Outsider Perspective, brought to you by The Beltway Outsiders.
Good Friday Morning! All things considered, we may have had our first positive news week for President Trump. There isn’t a massive earth shattering news story that derails the week. While there are certainly less than flattering stories going around. We aren’t dealing with a big deluge this week. Since we have a small reprieve from big stories, I wanted to focus a bit this week on media coverage. Specifically, I want to touch on Trump’s “war with the media,” and place it within proper historical context. Next I’m going to move from that context and show you how to break down the false report from last Friday that Trump was planning to sent out 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants. Finally, I’ll round things out with a look at the post-Flynn landscape. Links follow.
Trump’s Media War is not a threat to the First Amendment
Donald Trump’s tweets towards the press have received a voluminous amount of think pieces on the internet. Everyone and their grandmother has said or written something about his tweets regarding the media. The overwhelming consensus I’ve seen form on the left is that these tweets are a threat to democracy and the free press. For a sampling, see any of the following pieces: 1, 2, 3, and 4. The line I’ve seen is Trump’s attacks on the press are the “biggest threat to democracy.”
While I disagree with Trump’s tweets against specific media outlets, those tweets PALE in comparison to other incidents in American history. I’m going to walk through some of the worst offenders. At the end, you can decide yourself if these mean tweets are an actual threat to democracy. For me personally: Trump wouldn’t even come close to cracking a top 10 list of the worst Presidents. I’m not even sure I’d place him in the top 20.
1. The Alien and Seditions Act: Passed in 1798 and signed into law by President John Adams, the act, among many other things, made it a crime to make false statements that were critical of the US Government. Yes. That’s right. Under this Act, if you made a strong worded “false” Facebook post that was against the Feds, you’d be facing criminal punishment. The country was, at the time, in an undeclared naval war against France. The argument for these arguments was it strengthened the government in fighting this war.
The US Supreme Court at this point in time didn’t have the power of judicial review. Marbury v. Madison, which granted this power, wouldn’t be decided until 1803. So people at this point in time only had Congress to overrule this law (and Congress was responsible for the law). The Supreme Court wasn’t in the practice of deciding the Constitutionality of statutes at this point in time. That point should underline the need for 3 co-equal branches of government.
2. Civil War General shuts down newspaper for disloyalty: General Ambrose Burnside, who sported an epic set of sideburns, ordered the Chicago Times newspaper shut down. The paper was known for publishing anti-war and anti-Lincoln pieces. Ambrose charged them with disloyalty and suppressed the paper from being published and delivered. He specifically ordered:
GENERAL ORDERS No. 84 – 1. The tendency of the articles and opinions habitually published in the newspaper known as the New York World, being to cast reproach upon the government, and to weaken its efforts to suppress the rebellion, by creating distrust in its war policy, its circulation in time of war is calculated to exert a pernicious and treasonable influence, and is, therefore, prohibited in this department.
2. Postmasters, news agents and all others, will govern themselves by this order, as any person detected in forwarding, selling or in any way circulating the paper referred to, will be promptly arrested, and held for trial.
3. On account of the repeated expression of disloyal and incendiary sentiments, the publishing of the newspaper known as the Chicago Times is hereby suppressed.
Because the nation was in the middle of a Civil War, judicial review of such an order was, to put it mildly, unlikely.
3. Teddy Roosevelt sues Newspapers for Libel: President Teddy Roosevelt sued two different papers for libel. First, he sued Joseph Pulitzer (yes… that Pulitzer) in connected to several reports Pulitzer had run regarding corruption in connection to the US Government’s purchase of the Panama Canal Zone. The case was thrown out for lack of evidence on the part of Roosevelt.
Second, Roosevelt sued a local paper located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan called the Iron Ore, for alleging that Roosevelt was: “roaring drunk” and had been “smashing dishes” in a train car. Rumors had swirled around the country for years regarding Teddy’s drinking habits and he saw this paper as a chance to stop the rumors. Roosevelt ended up winning this trial after a media sensation of a multi-day trial where Roosevelt took the stand. Roosevelt won 6 cents in damages for his trouble:
On his way out of the court room a reporter asked Roosevelt what he would do with his penny and a nickel. He is reported to have said, “That’s about the price of a GOOD paper.” The Ishpeming Iron Ore cost three cents.
4. WWI – Woodrow Wilson passes Sedition Act of 1918: Much like 1798 Alien and Sedition Act, President Woodrow Wilson passed a similar wartime act that sought to suppress and punish any false negative reports about the war-time effort. You’ll note something interesting here: false, but positive, reports about the Government war effort are perfectly fine. Only the negative ones are targeted. The famous case of this era surrounded the communist, Eugene V. Debs, who was charged with violating the act to stop military conscription. Once the war was over, the act was largely null and void as it only applied to war-time coverage, not peacetime. Congress repealed it in 1920. And it wasn’t until 1969, in Brandenburg v. Ohio, that you started seeing a modern interpretation of the First Amendment which is inclusive towards all speech (the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan gave the press more protections from public figures in libel cases).
5. Nixon and the Pentagon Papers: Probably the biggest leak of the Vietnam era, were the Pentagon Papers. The papers leaked in this case showed that the Kennedy and Johnson administrations lied to the public about the full involvement of the US in the Vietnam War. After much discussion, the Nixon administration decided it was in the best interests of the Executive Branch to prevent the papers from being leaked AND to stop the NYTimes from publishing news articles about the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration successfully received injunctions against the NYTimes and the Washington Post regarding the stories. The press ultimately won the cases before the Supreme Court and were allowed to continue publishing stories about the Pentagon Papers.
6. Obama DOJ subpoenaed, wire-tapped, and tracked journalists reporting leaks: In 2013, it was revealed that the Obama administration had subpoenaed phone records for 20 Associated Press reporters. The subpoenas surrounded reporting of a failed al-Qaeda attack to detonate a bomb on an airplane headed for the United States. The DOJ expanded this to charge FoxNews reporter James Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act in order to gain access to his personal records and phone. The Obama admin was seeking to find out who was leaking to Rosen in order to stop the leaks and reports.
It’s worth noting Obama attacked FoxNews with a similar regularity as Trump does CNN or the NYTimes. The only journalist chosen for the co-conspiracy charge was the one reporter of the network he hated the most. You might notice that trend from the other examples above. Presidents looking to chill speech very often single out their harshest critics or political enemies.
The secondary objective of the Obama administration was to scare leakers away from reporters. They used every legal means they had to “aggressively investigate” leakers. The AP Chief in 2013 had this to say about the Obama era treatment of leakers:
The actions of the DOJ against AP are already having an impact beyond the specifics of this case. Some longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking with us — even on stories unrelated to national security. In some cases, government employees we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone. Others are reluctant to meet in person.
In one instance, our journalists could not get a law enforcement official to confirm a detail that had been reported elsewhere.
Imagine: officials were so fearful of talking to AP they wouldn’t even confirm a fact that had already been reported by numerous other media.
And I can tell you that this chilling effect on newsgathering is not just limited to AP. Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me that it has intimidated both official and nonofficial sources from speaking to them as well.
Now, the government may love this. But beware a government that loves too much secrecy.
End point: Now, I want you to take a long look at the above examples, especially the previous administration. And I want you to compare those examples to Trump mean tweeting the media and calling them names. Tweets trying to discredit the media pale in comparison. Especially when you look at the amount of leaks coming from the Trump administration. The White House is leaking like a broken dam flooding a valley. His response thus far?
Donald Trump is a lot of things. He’s hardly the threat to democracy he’s being made out to be. We’ve seen threats before. Our court system is far stronger at stopping threats to free speech than previous generations. The campus rioters attempting to kill viewpoint diversity and limit speech are bigger threats to free speech than the current President of the United States. When Trump passes a Sedition Act or tries to use “aggressive investigative tactics” against journalists, then we can start talking about him being a threat to democracy. Until then, cool the hyperbole. Things aren’t bad as everyone believes.
h/t for the inspiration of this section goes to Weekly Standard writer Jay Cost – who you should follow if you’re on Twitter.
Leaking Draft EO’s: A likely hunt for moles and government leakers
Last Friday, mere hours after my last issue went out, the AP reported on a draft Executive Order that would have sent out 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal aliens in the country. I was in the gym when this report dropped and went to go hit my head against a wall. Fortunately, the White House quickly denied the report and said it wasn’t even a White House document.
Leaked draft executive orders seem to be a common occurrence for the current administration. The AP report was particularly interesting however, since it appeared the report was false almost as soon as it was reported. This raises some interesting points on what could be happening here:
- The AP brazenly lied about the report. Falsely accusing the White House of doing something they never had any plans of doing
- The Trump administration is purposely leaking false/fake drafts they can bat down quickly. The purpose of which is to discredit the media and future leaks. People are less likely to believe leaks if you never know which ones are real or fake. Draft memos pack far less punch in the future.
- Democratic insiders are leaking fake memos as a means to discredit the administration
- The Trump administration is leaking fake memos as a means to determine where leaks are coming from in the White House. You do this by writing up several fake memos, put different typos and false information in them, give them to various departments and see which department is leaking (example of an obvious fake).
Given the obvious, and understandable at this point, paranoia in the White House over leaks, we’re likely looking at the last option. You’ll also notice that after this false draft went out, we’ve seen far fewer leaks in the current week. There were no leaks, for example, surrounding the President’s decision to rescind Obama-era executive orders on trans-protection. Which suggests the White House is getting better at two things: 1) Controlling who reviews the orders and, 2) Removing or freezing out the leakers.
As Obama-era loyalists and political appointees continue to quit, and release their “I couldn’t stay in the Trump Admin because of “X” reason” stories to the press, the Trump admin is choking out leakers. The hiring freeze in place combined with Obama loyalists quitting is giving the Trump administration a better idea of which civil servants are a part of the leaks. This is important, especially in the Intelligence Community, as I noted last week. Trump is unwisely at war with that segment of the government.
The end point here: view any drafts with healthy skepticism until it can be confirmed the draft or document is in fact a White House created document.
Post-Flynn landscape and Russia’s shifting intentions
If you haven’t already, I recommend reading last week’s breakdown of the Michael Flynn resignation. Today’s section will build off what I wrote last week.
Trump’s decision to nominate Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to replace Michael Flynn is a very promising sign. McMaster is generally considered to be cut from the same cloth as Jim Mattis, current Secretary of Defense. I would generally agree with this assessment of him in the role of National Security Advisor:
McMaster’s splendid record is all well and good but what can we expect from him as national security adviser? First of all, he possesses the temperament and experience for the position. I believe he will work well with Trump’s cabinet. For one thing, Secretary Mattis and McMaster have great respect for one another, which suggests a smooth and effective collaboration when it comes to providing for the common defense.
Those who study the role of the national security adviser postulate two models: the “honest broker” and the “policy entrepreneur.” The former seeks to bring competing alternative policies to the president. The latter pushes a particular outcome. I believe that McMaster will act as an honest broker at NSC meetings, ensuring the president hears from all parties in order to make informed decisions. Nonetheless, McMaster will be willing to tell the president what he may not want to hear but what he needs to hear.
As I said last week. The biggest issue facing Trump was sweeping his administration clean of people connected to the Kremlin. Sweeping Flynn out was a smart first step. Replacing Flynn with McMaster was a another smart step (and McMaster’s book is a classic). But the cleaning is far from over. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is back in the spotlight again over his connections to the Kremlin. Manafort and Flynn will be front and center again when the Senate and House investigate the matter. But the initial signs that Trump is willing to clean house are good.
The second set of good signs from the Flynn fallout is the repositioning of Putin. The Kremlin is telling its state propaganda networks to stop fawning over Trump. The Kremlin has also repositioned itself to start attacking American media outlets as “fake news.” Presumably this means we will see harsher coverage from the Kremlin regarding Trump. It also signals the Kremlin is seeing the Trump administration as a helpful ally. So Putin is positioning himself to have a plan in the event Trump is not a natural ally.
A telling point on that front: people connected to the MI6 Steele dossier on Trump are mysteriously dying. At the time the dossier was released, I noted that it was mostly raw human intel. Impossible for journalists to verify, but not the IC. The dossier also likely included Kremlin disinformation. Since then, several US intelligence sources have verified portions of the dossier. However, seven people connected to it, or that hold important positions in Russia, have “mysteriously” died:
- Oleg Erovinkin: “A former general in the KGB and its successor the FSB, was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow on Boxing Day in mysterious circumstances. Erovinkin was a key aide to Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and now head of Rosneft, the state-owned oil company, who is repeatedly named in the dossier. Erovinkin has been described as a key liaison between Sechin and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Mr Steele writes in an intelligence report dated July 19, 2016, he has a source close to Sechin, who had disclosed alleged links between Mr Trump’s supporters and Moscow.”
- Sergei Krivov: “He was found just before 7 a.m. on Election Day, lying on the floor of the Russian Consulate on the Upper East Side. The man was unconscious and unresponsive, with an unidentified head wound — “blunt force trauma,” in cop parlance. By the time emergency responders reached him, he was dead. Initial reports said the nameless man had plunged to his death from the roof of the consulate. As journalists rushed to the scene, consular officials quickly changed the narrative. The anonymous man had not fallen dozens of feet from the roof of the consular building, they said, but rather had suffered a heart attack in the security office, and died.”
- Andrei Karlov: BBC: “A Turkish policeman has shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, apparently in protest at Russia’s involvement in Aleppo. The killer has been identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, a member of the Ankara riot police. It was not clear if he had links to any group. The incident happened a day after protests in Turkey over Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey’s president said the attack was aimed at hurting ties with Russia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone and, in a video message, said that they both agreed it was an act of “provocation.”” (Turkey, already moving towards Russia, used this assassination to get even closer to the Kremlin)
- Andrey Malanin: “A senior Russian diplomat was found dead in his Athens apartment on Monday, a Greek police official said. Andrey Malanin, 54, was head of the consular section, according to the embassy’s website. He was found on the floor of his bedroom by a member of the embassy’s staff with no evidence of a break-in, the official said on condition of anonymity. “At first sight, we are talking about natural causes,” the police official said, noting that police were investigating and authorities were awaiting the coroner’s report.”
- Yves Chandelon: “According to reports, Yves Chandelon, the 62-year-old auditor general of NATO was found miles away from both his home and office. His body was found in the Belgian town of Andenne, 62 miles away from his home in Lens on December 16. According to local newspaper reports Mr Chandelon was the registered keeper of three weapons however the gun found at the scene did not belong to him, it has been claimed. And more bizarrely it has been reported locally that the gun which killed him was found in the glovebox of the vehicle. Local news reports say Mr Chandelon’s family are concerned about the circumstances of the case. They say initial suggestions that it was a possible suicide are incorrect.And it has been reported that the former director of The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Luxembourg had complained of getting strange telephone calls before he died and “felt threatened.””
- Petr Polshikov: “A high ranking Russian diplomat has been found dead from gun shot wounds in Moscow, it was reported early today. Petr Polshikov, 56, was found at his home in the capital city with a bullet wound to his head. The shooting disclosed by Ren TV came soon after news broke of the assassination of Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrey Karlov. The circumstances of the shooting remained unclear, and it is understood police are examining all possible theories as to his death. Two empty bullet shells were found in the flat on Balaklavsky Prospekt.”
- Vitaly Churkin: “Russia’s combative ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly in New York on Monday after being taken ill at work, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry gave no details on the circumstances of his death but offered condolences to his relatives and said the diplomat had died one day before his 65th birthday. It declined to comment on reports that Churkin had been taken to a hospital shortly before his death. A U.S. government official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the case, said that Churkin had died of an apparent heart attack.”
The lesson from this is simple: My instructions to Trump last week were that he needed to clean house from Kremlin influences. The Kremlin is cleaning house too: killing off any potential leakers. Even if all of these deaths aren’t linked to leaks within the Kremlin, some of them undoubtedly are linked. And some of these people were linked as sources to the Steele dossier.
Which should underscore a second point here: dealing with the threat of Kremlin compromised individuals in the US government is a deadly business. The IC is worried about those connections with Trump, himself. They understand the deadly proposition of dealing with a Putin-led Kremlin. They’ve long looked at Trump’s financial dealings in Russia with worry, and a recent report on the bank underscores that point:
The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned. Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.
The Guardian has also learned that the president’s immediate family are Deutsche clients. The bank examined accounts held by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as a White House adviser, and Kushner’s mother. The internal review found no evidence of any Russia link, but Deutsche Bank is coming under pressure to appoint an external and independent auditor to review its business relationship with President Trump.
Remember, the IC is currently withholding intelligence information from Trump out of fear their information and methods will be compromised. And that fear is controlling IC attitudes towards Trump and the leaks they make to the press, as John Schindler noted this week:
The Russia angle is most troubling to the IC. Behind closed doors, plenty of American intelligence experts believe that President Trump is the pawn of the Kremlin, wittingly or not, and assess that it’s only a matter of time before unseemly Moscow ties are exposed and the White House enters unsurvivable political crisis.
Rebellion is brewing in Washington. The resignation of the CIA’s spokesman, a career intelligence analyst, is a sign of how fragile IC morale has gotten under the new administration. If President Trump keeps upping the ante in his war on the spies, he can expect more damaging leaks to reach the media. Leaks happen in every administration, and Nixon’s ignominious fall ought to serve as a cautionary tale to any president who thinks he can find the right “plumbers” to fix the leaky faucet.
I was listening to some conservative podcasts this week, the Editors Roundtable for National Review specifically. And it shocked me how little concern they’re giving this topic. So I would issue a warning to conservatives: do not sleep on the issue of Trump and Russia. The connections are real and dangerous. I firmly believe we’re headed towards a failed impeachment attempt of Trump. The emoluments clause doesn’t offer the same firepower that the potential leaks regarding Putin and the Kremlin could offer. Which is why it is important for Trump to clean house now, rather than later. It’s important for the security of America and for his own White House.
Links for your radar
“George S. Schuyler (1895–1977) is one of the most consequential black conservative columnists in American history. His autobiography Black and Conservative, published in 1966, sketches the voyage of his life. It explores his journey from being the son of a head chef, his time in the military, to his eventual days as a conservative columnist—a drastic change from his quondam Marxism. Although the book becomes tremendously fascinating when the text centers around the development of Schuyler’s philosophical and political views, the rest of the narrative is stultifying. The details of his life are of less interest than the ideas that life produced.”
“”Today, sports writing is basically a liberal profession, practiced by liberals who enforce an unapologetically liberal code,” writes Bryan Curtis at The Ringer. He’s right.
You can see it in the way sportswriters police a consensus against the Washington Redskins’ name, or for on-field political activism. They tweet against President Trump, and for undocumented immigrants. They pile on populist loudmouths like former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, and may even be punishing him for his politics with their Hall of Fame ballots. They proudly admit that they are at a remove from their readers. HardballTalk’s Craig Calcaterra owns it: “It’s folly for any of us to think we’re speaking for the common fan.”
Curtis is generally pleased with sports journalism’s leftward shift, and treats the possibility of non-conforming writers as a potentially amusing but unnecessary curio. “Would it be nice to have a David Frum or Ross Douthat of sports writing, making wrongheaded-but-interesting arguments about NCAA amateurism?” he asks. “Sure. As long as nobody believed them.””
The Conservative Movement: What Happened? – The Warren Henry Report
“A conservative movement that is broad but shallow will be more likely to claim it embraces constitutional conservatism but ignore constitutional and prudential political constraints when they become frustrated, for example, that a GOP Congress seemed so ineffective in advancing a conservative agenda. This is part of the reason many conservatives wrongly discount some of the achievements of the GOP to which Rothman correctly refers.
Conversely, however, the shallowness of many ostensible conservatives also partially explains why the GOP could be as politically successful as it is today. The ascension of Pres. Trump is, if nothing else, a wake-up call to how little influence the conservative movement has had within the GOP, contra Rothman’s claim that the current “Congress is also one of the most conservative in the country’s history.””
Trump: Less Authoritarian than Obama – National Review Online
“Lost in most of the coverage of President Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s transgender mandates is a fundamental legal reality — the Trump administration just relinquished federal authority over gender-identity policy in the nation’s federally funded schools and colleges. In other words, Trump was less authoritarian than Obama. And that’s not the only case. Consider the following examples where his administration, through policy or personnel, appears to be signaling that the executive branch intends to become less intrusive in American life and more accountable to internal and external critique.
Indeed, if you peel back the layer of leftist critiques of Trump’s early actions and early hires, they contain a surprising amount of alarmism over the rollback of governmental power. Education activists are terrified that Betsy DeVos will take children out of government schools or roll back government mandates regarding campus sexual-assault tribunals. Environmentalists are terrified that Scott Pruitt will make the EPA less activist. Civil-rights lawyers are alarmed at the notion that Jeff Sessions will inject the federal government into fewer state and local disputes over everything from school bathrooms to police traffic stops.”
House Dem IT Guys In Security Probe Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money – The Daily Caller
Rogue congressional staffers took $100,000 from an Iraqi politician while they had administrator-level access to the House of Representatives’ computer network, according to court documents examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. The money was a loan from Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure, and was funneled through a company with “impossible”-to-decipher financial transactions that the congressional information technology (IT) staffers controlled.
Imran Awan, ringleader of the group that includes his brothers Abid and Jamal, has provided IT services since 2005 for Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman. The brothers are from Pakistan. The trio also worked for dozens of other House Democrats, including members of the intelligence, foreign affairs and homeland security committees. Those positions likely gave them access to congressional emails and other sensitive documents.
“Since the offensive against Mosul, the Iraqi capital of the Islamic State (IS), began five months ago, IS has expended a high number of lives quite deliberately in suicide attacks. One of the suicide-attacks conducted on 20 February 2017 was by Abu Zakariya al-Britani, a British citizen now identified as Ronald Fiddler from Manchester. In 2002, Fiddler, then calling himself Jamal Udeen al-Harith, was sent to Guantanamo Bay, before being released in 2004 while still protesting his innocence. After suing the British government over his imprisonment, Fiddler received a substantial cash settlement in order to avoid compromising state secrets. Fiddler’s demise invites some revisiting of widely-held assumptions surrounding Guantanamo.”
US factory CEOs to Trump: Jobs exist; skills don’t – Associated Press
President Donald Trump brought two dozen manufacturing CEOs to the White House on Thursday and declared their collective commitment to restoring factory jobs lost to foreign competition. Yet some of the CEOs suggested that there were still plenty of openings for U.S. factory jobs but too few qualified people to fill them. They urged the White House to support vocational training for the high-tech skills that today’s manufacturers increasingly require — a topic Trump has seldom addressed. “The jobs are there, but the skills are not,” one executive said during meetings with White House officials that preceded a session with the president.
Your satire piece for the week
Senior Pentagon officials have privately expressed suspicions that President Donald Trump’s understanding of military affairs may largely be based on 1980’s action films, sources confirmed.
Trump reportedly called the Pentagon last week to inquire about a recently-sighted Russian spy ship off the East Coast, and asked whether it was powered by a top-secret naval propulsion system which its disillusioned captain may secretly intend to deliver to the United States in a brazen act of defection.
The call was the latest in a string of statements from Trump since January that suggest his military policies may align with various national security experts, such as Dutch from “Predator,” and Maj. Scott McCoy from “Delta Force.”
Just days after he took office, the commander-in-chief interrupted a summary of Chinese drone capabilities to ask whether the US military was capable of sending a single highly-trained serviceman back in time to “stop all this cybercomputer stuff” in the event that “it ever gets out of control.”
Reports have also surfaced that Trump recently succeeded in getting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to concede that, should a U.S. pilot be captured by hostile forces in the Middle East, a response named Operation IRON EAGLE would “really let [the enemy] know we mean business.”
Sources say that over the weekend Trump asked Secretary of the Army Robert Speer whether the service maintained a list of disgraced former Special Forces soldiers — “tough hombres who got slammed for doing the right thing,” according to one source — who could be called up for an off-the-books, near-suicide mission deep into enemy territory if necessary.
Thanks for reading!