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 1 
 on: Today at 02:12:04 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
http://gatesofvienna.net/2017/10/a-bang-followed-by-whimpering-and-silence/

A Bang Followed by Whimpering… and Silence
Posted on October 18, 2017 by Dymphna
EMP blast

Gotta love The Swamp. Now that North Korea (probably) has the capability to fire a missile into our airspace, TPTB have shut down the one governmental organization with the ability to do anything testicular to deter the Fat Boy driving the looming disaster.

Did you think NoKo is going to do something fissionable with its missiles and is going to simply try to “bomb” us? Well, it would seem that’s the intention, but the real problem is the payload on their missiles. All they need is one EMP detonated in our skies (over the East Coast, where lies most of our outdated electrical infrastructure) to send the continent back to say, 1850…and that will mean ninety percent of our population gone within six months or less. One can envision the follow-up: a leisurely walk-through by China. It would be easy-peasy to sort through the pieces of what remained of Canada and the United States.

From The Center for Security Policy [with my emphases — D]:

Inexplicably, just when we need the country’s most knowledgeable and influential minds advising about how to protect against a potentially imminent, nation-ending peril, the Congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Threat Commission is being shut down.

For seventeen years under the leadership of President Reagan’s Science Advisor, Dr. William Graham, this blue-ribbon panel has warned that we had to protect our electric grid from just the sorts of EMP attacks North Korea is now threatening to unleash upon us. Successive administrations and the electric utilities have shamefully failed to heed those warnings and take corrective action.

Consequently, we could experience on a national scale the sort of devastating, protracted blackouts now afflicting Puerto Rico. President Trump should give Dr. Graham and his team a new mandate as a presidential commission to oversee the immediate implementation of their recommendations.

This disaster happened at the end of September, while the MSM dithered away on their fiddles about the eeevil Trump. Meanwhile, two men who served on the panel appeared in front of this subcommittee to get the views of the panel into the permanent record, i.e. the Congressional Record. If/when it all goes down, their warnings will still exist, if anyone can access them after an EMP explosion:

STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD
DR. WILLIAM R. GRAHAM, CHAIRMAN
DR. PETER VINCENT PRY, CHIEF OF STAFF
COMMISSION TO ASSESS THE THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES FROM
ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE (EMP) ATTACK
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND MANAGEMENT EFFICIENCY HEARING
“EMPTY THREAT OR SERIOUS DANGER:
ASSESSING NORTH KOREA’S RISK TO THE HOMELAND”

Here is an excerpt from that “Statement For the Record” [any emphases are mine — D. The footnotes, which have been omitted here, can be found in the pdf linked at the end of this post]:

During the Cold War, major efforts were undertaken by the Department of Defense to assure that the U.S. national command authority and U.S. strategic forces could survive and operate after an EMP attack. However, no major efforts were then thought necessary to protect critical national infrastructures, relying on nuclear deterrence to protect them. With the development of small nuclear arsenals and long-range missiles by new, radical U.S. adversaries, beginning with North Korea, the threat of a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the United States. It is critical, therefore, that the U.S. national leadership address the EMP threat as a critical and existential issue, and give a high priority to assuring the leadership is engaged and the necessary steps are taken to protect the country from EMP.

By way of background, the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack was established by Congress in 2001 to advise the Congress, the President, Department of Defense and other departments and agencies of the U.S. Government on the nuclear EMP threat to military systems and civilian critical infrastructures.The EMP Commission was re-established in 2015 with its charter broadened to include natural EMP from solar storms, all manmade EMP threats, cyber-attack, sabotage and Combined-Arms Cyber Warfare. The EMP Commission charter gives it access to all relevant classified and unclassified data and the power to levy analysis upon the Department of Defense.

On September 30, 2017, the Department of Defense, after withholding a significant part of the monies allocated by Congress to support the work of the EMP Commission for the entirety of 2016, terminated funding the EMP Commission. In the same month, North Korea detonated an H-Bomb that it plausibly describes as capable of “super-powerful EMP” attack and released a technical report “The EMP Might of Nuclear Weapons” accurately describing what Russia and China call a “Super-EMP” weapon.

Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Homeland Security has asked Congress to continue the EMP Commission. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would replace the existing EMP Commission with new Commissioners. Yet the existing EMP Commission comprises the nation’s foremost experts who have been officially or unofficially continuously engaged trying to advance national EMP preparedness for 17 years.

And today, as the EMP Commission has long warned, the nation faces a potentially imminent and existential threat of nuclear EMP attack from North Korea. Recent events have proven the EMP Commission’s critics wrong about other highly important aspects of the nuclear missile threat from North Korea:


Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was primitive, some academics claiming it had as few as [six] A-Bombs. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea has [sixty] nuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s ICBMs were fake, or if real could not strike the U.S. mainland. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea’s ICBMs can strike Denver and Chicago, and perhaps the entire United States.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea was many years away from an H-Bomb. Now it appears North Korea has H-Bombs comparable to sophisticated U.S. two-stage thermonuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts claimed North Korean ICBMs could not miniaturize an A-Bomb or design a reentry vehicle for missile delivery. Now the intelligence community reportedly assesses North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons and has developed reentry vehicles for missile delivery, including by ICBMs that can strike the U.S.
After massive intelligence failures grossly underestimating North Korea’s long-range missile capabilities, [its] number of nuclear weapons, warhead miniaturization, and proximity to an H-Bomb, the biggest North Korean threat to the U.S. remains unacknowledged — a nuclear EMP attack.

North Korea confirmed the EMP Commission’s assessment by testing an H-Bomb that could make a devastating EMP attack, and in its official public statement: “The H-Bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons, is a multi-functional thermonuclear weapon with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”

As noted earlier, Pyongyang also released a technical report accurately describing a “Super-EMP” weapon.

Just six months ago, some academics dismissed EMP Commission warnings and even, literally, laughed on National Public Radio at the idea North Korea could make an EMP attack.

Primitive and “Super-EMP” Nuclear Weapons are Both EMP Threats

The EMP Commission finds that even primitive, low-yield nuclear weapons are such a significant EMP threat that rogue states, like North Korea, or terrorists may well prefer using a nuclear weapon for EMP attack, instead of destroying a city: “Therefore, terrorists or state actors that possess relatively unsophisticated missiles armed with nuclear weapons may well calculate that, instead of destroying a city or military base, they may obtain the greatest political-military utility from one or a few such weapons by using them — or threatening their use — in an EMP attack.”

The EMP Commission 2004 Report warns: “Certain types of relatively low-yield nuclear weapons can be employed to generate potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas, and designs for variants of such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked for a quarter-century.”

In 2004, two Russian generals, both EMP experts, warned the EMP Commission that the design for Russia’s Super-EMP warhead, capable of generating high-intensity EMP fields over 100,000 volts per meter, was “accidentally” transferred to North Korea. They also said that due to “brain drain,” Russian scientists were in North Korea, as were Chinese and Pakistani scientists according to the Russians, helping with the North’s missile and nuclear weapon programs. In 2009, South Korean military intelligence told their press that Russian scientists are in North Korea helping develop an EMP nuclear weapon. In 2013, a Chinese military commentator stated North Korea has Super-EMP nuclear weapons.

Super-EMP weapons are low-yield and designed to produce not a big kinetic explosion, but rather a high level of gamma rays, which generates the high-frequency E1 EMP that is most damaging to the broadest range of electronics. North Korean nuclear tests, including the first in 2006, whose occurrence was predicted to the EMP Commission two years in advance by the two Russian EMP experts, mostly have yields consistent with the size of a Super-EMP weapon. The Russian generals’ accurate prediction about when North Korea would perform its first nuclear test, and of a yield consistent with a Super-EMP weapon, indicates their warning about a North Korean Super-EMP weapon should be taken very seriously.

EMP Threat From Satellites

While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large. No reentry vehicle is needed because the warhead is detonated at high-altitude, above the atmosphere. Missile reliability matters little because only one missile has to work to make an EMP attack against an entire nation.

North Korea could make an EMP attack against the United States by launching a short-range missile off a freighter or submarine or by lofting a warhead to 30 kilometers burst height by balloon. While such lower-altitude EMP attacks would not cover the whole U.S. mainland, as would an attack at higher-altitude (300 kilometers), even a balloon-lofted warhead detonated at 30 kilometers altitude could blackout the Eastern Electric Power Grid that supports most of the population and generates 75 percent of U.S. electricity.

Or an EMP attack might be made by a North Korean satellite, right now.

A Super-EMP weapon could be relatively small and lightweight and could fit inside North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-3 (KMS-3) and Kwangmyongsong-4 (KMS-4) satellites. These two satellites presently orbit over the United States, and over every other nation on Earth–demonstrating, or posing, a potential EMP threat against the entire world.

North Korea’s KMS-3 and KMS-4 satellites were launched to the south on polar trajectories and passed over the United States on their first orbit. Pyongyang launched KMS-4 on February 7, 2017, shortly after its fourth illegal nuclear test on January 6, that began the present protracted nuclear crisis with North Korea.

The south polar trajectory of KMS-3 and KMS-4 evades U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radars and National Missile Defenses, resembling a Russian secret weapon developed during the Cold War, called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) that would have used a nuclear-armed satellite to make a surprise EMP attack on the United States.

Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative and a preeminent expert on missile defenses and space weapons, has written numerous articles warning about the potential North Korean EMP threat from their satellites. For example, on September 20, 2016, Ambassador Cooper wrote:

U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) interceptors are designed to intercept a few North Korean ICBMs that approach the United States over the North Polar region. But current U.S. BMD systems are not arranged to defend against even a single ICBM that approaches the United States from over the South Polar region, which is the direction toward which North Korea launches its satellites…This is not a new idea. The Soviets pioneered and tested just such a specific capability decades ago — we call it a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)…So, North Korea doesn’t need an ICBM to create this existential threat. It could use its demonstrated satellite launcher to carry a nuclear weapon over the South Polar region and detonate it…over the United States to create a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP)…The result could be to shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans — as the EMP Commission testified over eight years ago.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
This is the link to the whole report, fourteen pages long, which was read into the Congressional Record. Takes about twenty minutes to skim.

Here’s the website for The Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. Scroll down the list of members to see if your Congressman is on that committee. Better yet, write your own Congressman and tell him to get going on this critical issue. He doesn’t have to be a member of that subcommittee to nudge it forward. While you’re at it, send a tweet to Trump.

That commission was extant and active for seventeen years. Yet for some strange reason, it’s been disbanded now that we have two irrational actors on the world stage capable of bringing us to a neck-breaking halt.

At least Maine seems to be aware and active about the problem. Whether it’s past the initial stages of deciding what to do is hard to say, but its preliminary actions show the way forward for other states. States don’t have to wait for the Federal behemoth to move toward safety. They could even act regionally in a co-operative. This is especially important for our vulnerable northeastern corridor.

Here’s where you can find the contact information for your Congressional representative. It would be a good idea to lean on your state representatives, too. Send their assistants the pdf.

This time we can’t say we didn’t see it coming.

 2 
 on: Today at 12:54:11 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/372131.php

October 23, 2017
Russian Spy Ring Got Close to Hillary Clinton; Previously, State Department Denied Russian Spy Ring Got Close to Hillary Clinton
Breath deeply. Namaste. Prayer-hands. Warrior Pose.

Hillary Clinton may sometimes not be entirely truthful with you.

As Hillary Clinton was beginning her job as President Obama's chief diplomat, federal agents observed as multiple arms of Vladimir Putin's machine unleashed an influence campaign designed to win access to the new secretary of State, her husband Bill Clinton and members of their inner circle, according to interviews and once-sealed FBI records.
Some of the activities FBI agents gathered evidence about in 2009 and 2010 were covert and illegal.

A female Russian spy posing as an American accountant, for instance, used a false identity to burrow her way into the employ of a major Democratic donor in hopes of gaining intelligence on Hillary Clinton’s department, records show. The spy was arrested and deported as she moved closer to getting inside the secretary's department, agents said.

Other activities were perfectly legal and sitting in plain view, such as when a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy company hired a Washington firm to lobby the Obama administration. At the time it was hired, the firm was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pro bono support to Bill Clinton’s global charitable initiative, and it legally helped the Russian company secure federal decisions that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business, records show.

Agents were surprised by the timing and size of a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton with for a single speech in the summer of 2010. The payday came just weeks after Hillary Clinton helped arrange for American executives to travel to Moscow to support Putin’s efforts to build his own country's version of Silicon Valley, agents said.

...

"There is not one shred of doubt from the evidence that we had that the Russians had set their sights on Hillary Clinton’s circle, because she was the quarterback of the Obama-Russian reset strategy and the assumed successor to Obama as president," said a source familiar with the FBI’s evidence at the time, speaking only on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

How did the Russian spy going by the name Cynthia Murphy get close to Hillary Clinton? Through her biggest weakness, of course -- money. Murphy got close to a Hillary fundraiser named Alan Patricof.

Back in 2010, when the spy story broke, Hillary Clinton's office issued a statement that there was “no reason to think the Secretary was a target of this spy ring.”
Court documents and agents who worked the case suggest otherwise, saying the Russians were specifically targeting her department and any intelligence they could get on the new administration’s emerging foreign policy.

The article goes on to note an informant for the FBI -- whose disclosures about the Uranium One deal have made recent news -- reports that he kept hearing about Russian efforts to buy their way into Hillary's inner circle. That informant's lawyer, Victoria Toensing, states:

"I can confirm that my client while working undercover for the FBI and in the employ of the Russian energy firm TENEX witnessed numerous, detailed conversations in which Russian actors described their efforts to lobby, influence or ingratiate themselves with the Clintons in hopes of winning favorable uranium decisions from the Obama administration," attorney Victoria Toensing said.
Definitely click on the article because it links the spy ring encircling the Clintons' with the enormous amounts of Russian cash the Clintons were taking at the exact same time. But I can't excerpt the whole thing.

The informant is being blocked from going public by a Non-Disclosure Agreement the Obama administration forced him to sign.

That may change, though. Charles Grassley has invited him to speak to the Senate Judiciary committee. A majority vote on that committee would produce a subpoena, which would trump any NDA (and presumably immunize him against any attempted action against him for breaching it).

The NDA may not even be legal, but I know a lot of Benghazi whistleblowers believe it is, and aren't willing to talk without that grant of congressional immunity. (Which, bizarrely, Congress won't give them.)

 3 
 on: Today at 11:29:28 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mueller-now-investigating-democratic-lobbyist-tony-podesta-n812776

URLs in article about nature of investigation into Manafort too.

 4 
 on: Today at 06:51:40 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Maxine Waters offers to take Donald out for dinner and an evening on the town :

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/10/22/maxine-waters-i-will-go-and-take-trump-out-tonight/

Cantina D'Italia used to be a good Italian restaurant I would recommend if it still exists.  Back room with table for intimacy.

Melania 'might' be pissed  though

 grin

 5 
 on: October 22, 2017, 10:51:36 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/356323-bill-clinton-sought-states-permission-to-meet-with-russian-nuclear

 6 
 on: October 22, 2017, 10:59:04 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
https://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2017/10/18/who-pays-what-in-taxes-n2395681

 7 
 on: October 22, 2017, 09:54:08 AM 
Started by ccp - Last post by ccp
I am not an expert in education, of course, but if you ask me education starts in the HOME not in kindergarten.  More money for tech , and more data (endless data just endless  - here we go again with data)  collection in the schools and at best more marginal results is not going to change anything.

Maybe Gates should start doing his data collection in homes to find out the cultural reasons some groups do not perform well

why do asians do well despite the so called white privilege / supremacy?  Obviously it starts in their homes.  What are the cultural differences that are far more likely to contribute to good or bad academic performance?

(I know this is not a politically correct approach -lets keep blaming it all on white/anglo supremacy or privilege)

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/21/common-core-backer-bill-gates-announces-plan-invest-1-7-billion-public-education/

 8 
 on: October 22, 2017, 06:30:06 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://www.dickmorris.com/clinton-bribed-twice-uranium-deal-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports

 9 
 on: October 21, 2017, 09:34:40 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/21/how-the-state-department-is-undermining-trumps-agenda/

How the State Department is Undermining Trump’s Agenda
By The Editors| October 21, 2017



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation.

News reports often depict a White House “in chaos.” But the real chaos, according to three State Department employees who spoke with American Greatness on the condition of anonymity, is at Foggy Bottom.

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

Hundreds of Empty Desks
About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions—assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts—remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the department like a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

‘Boxing Out’ Trump Supporters
The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers—true experts in international relations—from the secretary. As the New York Times reported in August, “all decisions, no matter how trivial, must be sent to Mr. Tillerson or his top aides: Margaret Peterlin, his chief of staff, and Brian Hook, the director of policy planning.” In practice, however, that has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions.

More important, sources who spoke with American Greatness say, Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department.

Margaret Peterlin
Margaret Peterlin

“Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda,” he added.

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff.

Brian Hook
Brian Hook

Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe.” In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

NeverTrumpers on Parade
In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. Hammond, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, is now the face and one of the leading voices of U.S. public diplomacy.

Many of these anti-Trump hires have occurred in the face of a hiring freeze Tillerson imposed earlier this year following an executive order to review agency and department staffing, along with the White House’s request to cut the State Department’s budget by 30 percent. But rather than put a check on untrustworthy career bureaucrats, the move had the opposite effect of empowering the president’s opponents.

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign.

Tillerson or No, Personnel is Policy
When he agreed to take the top diplomat’s job, Tillerson reportedly asked President Trump for autonomy‚ and got it. Unfortunately, his leadership style has changed from his days running ExxonMobil. In his definitive history of ExxonMobil, journalist Steve Coll described Tillerson’s approach as open and informal. By contrast, Tillerson’s modus operandi at state has been described as isolated, unapproachable, even “draconian.” 

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

Tillerson this week told the Wall Street Journal he would remain on the job “as long as the president thinks I’m useful.” But whether it’s Tillerson behind the secretary’s desk, or CIA Director Mike Pompeo, or any other foreign policy hand, a State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

 10 
 on: October 21, 2017, 09:33:31 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/21/how-the-state-department-is-undermining-trumps-agenda/

How the State Department is Undermining Trump’s Agenda
By The Editors| October 21, 2017



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation.

News reports often depict a White House “in chaos.” But the real chaos, according to three State Department employees who spoke with American Greatness on the condition of anonymity, is at Foggy Bottom.

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

Hundreds of Empty Desks
About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions—assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts—remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the department like a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

‘Boxing Out’ Trump Supporters
The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers—true experts in international relations—from the secretary. As the New York Times reported in August, “all decisions, no matter how trivial, must be sent to Mr. Tillerson or his top aides: Margaret Peterlin, his chief of staff, and Brian Hook, the director of policy planning.” In practice, however, that has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions.

More important, sources who spoke with American Greatness say, Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department.

Margaret Peterlin
Margaret Peterlin

“Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda,” he added.

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff.

Brian Hook
Brian Hook

Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe.” In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

NeverTrumpers on Parade
In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. Hammond, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, is now the face and one of the leading voices of U.S. public diplomacy.

Many of these anti-Trump hires have occurred in the face of a hiring freeze Tillerson imposed earlier this year following an executive order to review agency and department staffing, along with the White House’s request to cut the State Department’s budget by 30 percent. But rather than put a check on untrustworthy career bureaucrats, the move had the opposite effect of empowering the president’s opponents.

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign.

Tillerson or No, Personnel is Policy
When he agreed to take the top diplomat’s job, Tillerson reportedly asked President Trump for autonomy‚ and got it. Unfortunately, his leadership style has changed from his days running ExxonMobil. In his definitive history of ExxonMobil, journalist Steve Coll described Tillerson’s approach as open and informal. By contrast, Tillerson’s modus operandi at state has been described as isolated, unapproachable, even “draconian.” 

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

Tillerson this week told the Wall Street Journal he would remain on the job “as long as the president thinks I’m useful.” But whether it’s Tillerson behind the secretary’s desk, or CIA Director Mike Pompeo, or any other foreign policy hand, a State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

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