Streetwise Professor

May 26, 2019

Leftist Media Types (But I Repeat Myself) Confused on the Difference Between “Bug” and “Feature”

Filed under: Military,Politics — cpirrong @ 3:54 pm

Leading the squealing parade (I’ll bet you’ll be SO surprised to learn) is the NYT, which includes this gem in its article on the Trump declassification gambit (and “gambit” is the perfect word):

President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that led to the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A. It effectively strips the agency of its most critical power: choosing which secrets it shares and which ones remain hidden.

The NYT writers (Barnes and Sanger) obviously think this is a bug, a defect, a horrible thing. But it is in fact the strongest feature of Trump’s gambit.

Information is power. Why should the CIA have this power? Who elected them? What is the Constitutional source of this power?

In fact, the US Constitution does not establish the CIA, or grant it independent powers. It is part of a co-equal branch of government that is established by the Constitution: the Executive. It is subordinate to the Chief Executive. It is a creature of the Chief Executive. It may disagree with the Chief Executive’s decision. Oh well. Tough shit. If the order is a legal one–and no one can dispute that the law establishes the POTUS as the ultimate classifying authority in the US government–it must obey or it is violating the law–including the highest law of the land.

Even liberals knew this, once upon a time. Indeed, back in the 1970s, a rogue CIA flouting presidential authority was a stock trope in movies, TV, and fiction (all dominated by liberals). The Pike and Church committees that went after the CIA post-Watergate–Democrat dominated.

But now, they are basically shills for the CIA, and willing to shred the Constitution when doing their shilling.

What the NYT is currently freaking out about–an attempt to make an overly powerful CIA accountable and subordinate to legal authority–is long past due. Hopefully this is the beginning of a concerted campaign to cut the CIA down to size, and the most important tool for doing that is to take back the control of information that it has arrogated to itself–and which its handmaidens in the media and the Democratic Party (again I repeat myself!) currently think is a great thing.

A related thought. Another argument the governing class is raising against the Trump/Barr declassification campaign is that Barr will declassify selectively, and the selective declassifications will present a misleading picture.

That’s easily fixed–declassify it all!

But I’m guessing that the governing class really doesn’t want that.

But here’s another point: the CIA is notorious for its long history of very, very selective leaks intended to advance its institutional interests and the agendas of its leadership. So cry me a fucking river if they get hoist on their own petard. Serves the bastards right.

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  1. This also relates to your previous post, SWP.

    And – this makes sense. It’s all coming together. There was massive abuse from 2012 to 2016 by the Obama administration. They were tracking political opponents.

    Fusion GPS was not needed to establish anything about Trump – it was needed to establish a “counter-intelligence” operation to —– cover up ——- all of the previously occurring abuse/unlawful surveillance.

    And, of course, selective leaks to the media idiots are part and parcel of the whole thing.

    Here is a very methodical review of the whole thing:

    Comment by elmer — May 28, 2019 @ 9:31 am

  2. I expect the opinion to “let the CIA do what it wants without executive oversight” is a very rare one in the NYT. They are masters of hypocrisy.

    Comment by Rob — May 28, 2019 @ 11:11 am

  3. You comments remind me of the “5 tests” set out by the former UK politician Tony Benn. He was a devout if somewhat hypocritical socialist but even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut:-

    1. What power have you got?
    2. Where did you get it from?
    3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
    4. To whom are you accountable?
    5. How can we get rid of you?

    Slightly off-topic these same 5 tests could be ruthlessly applied to the present structure of the European Union and Britain’s relationship with it. Sadly Comrade Benn has long since passed away and his successors seem disinterested.

    Comment by John — May 29, 2019 @ 12:43 am

  4. All points said about the CIA goes double for the FBI. The entire outfit should be disbanded. From the very first day of the FBI they have been a political tool of one side or the other. The worst thing in the world for a rights based governing system is a political state actor with badges and guns. The fact they haven’t become this centuries SchutsStaffel is due only to the limits in place by the potus.

    Comment by doc — May 29, 2019 @ 6:34 am

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