Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Abrams Explains. Should Muslims Feel Entitled? Remember Mosul? The Threats Behind Flynn's Departure.


Elliott Abrams responds to questions about his rejection by Trump to Number 2 Position in State Department.

Have  we have such little regard for our own country that we will allow anyone, legal or otherwise, come into our land?

Have we so cheapened the meaning of American Citizenship it is available to anyone who wants it regardless of their behaviour? 

Have we gone so nuts simply because many hate Trump? (See 1 below.)

Remember Mosul? (See 2 below.)
Why you should be concerned about Flynn's departure and how/why it came about. (See 3 below.)

Until Trump clears the government of Obamaites he will have nothing but grief.  Those appointed by Obama and who went along with and helped install his agenda have much to protect and seem unable to accept Trump's victory and desire to dismantle their achievements.

Even then, Trump's own degree of naivety and narcissistic tendency may remain his worst enemies.(See 3a below.)
I must confess, it was nice to see Israel's Prime Minister and his wife received graciously by The White House and our president and his wife.

Obama's treatment of Israel and thus, by extension America, was shameful.

Why should Muslims Feel Entitled to Move to America?

 Author: Matthew Voegtli

Why should Americans feel obligated to open our borders for Muslims to move here en masse?
Foreign nationals in foreign countries do not have U.S. Constitutional rights. As the Supreme Court has held, an unadmitted and nonresident alien “had no constitutional right of entry to this country as a nonimmigrant or otherwise.” (Mandel, 408 U.S. at 762; see Plasencia, 459 U.S. at 32.)
Beyond this fact, the president has plenary power over foreign affairs and this includes, under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the power to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals if he determines their entry “would be detrimental to the interest of the United States.” The president as commander-in-chief is given this power, not New York Times columnists, not wailing Democrats, not the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the many activists groups calling for massive increases in Muslim immigration.
Remarkably many supporters of enhanced vetting to protect Americans have gone into a protective crouch and have not articulated reasons why we should be very careful about admitting more and more Muslims into America.
But we should be concerned. There are claims that not one Muslim from the seven nations named in Trump’s executive order has been implicated in terrorism. The New York Times in a lead editorial stated that not one person from those nations has engaged in terrorism, despite a Somalian refugee going on a rampage at Ohio State University last year. Seattle-based District Court Judge James Robart asked a federal prosecutor how many citizens of those seven countries were arrested for terrorism since September 11. “Let me tell you, the answer to that is none, as best as I can tell.”
Then he issued an injunction freezing Trump’s executive order. More significantly, even the San Francisco appeals court that upheld that injunction turned a blind eye (justice is supposed to be blind but not this type of blind) to the fact that 72 persons from the seven mostly Muslim nations covered by Trump’s extreme vetting order have been convicted of terrorism — not arrested, not indicted but convicted. Deroy Murdock of National Review provides a few thumbnail sketches of some of those immigrants who have terrorized or planned to terrorize Americans and is correct to conclude that Trump’s executive order is meant to protect us from real-life mayhem
Scott Johnson, one of the founders of Powerline, has one superb work in uncovering the terrorism epicenter that the Somalian community of his hometown of Minneapolis has become over the years. Many Syrian refugees (and many other refugees from other Muslim majority nations) support ISIS, according to a poll by the Arab Center for Policy and Research Studies; they harbor anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideologies and are primed to turn those views into action.
What has also been pronounced is the media blackout and amnesia over the litany of Muslim terror attacks over the years in America. Here is a sampling: the first World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, Boston Marathon massacre, San Bernardino, the Orlando nightclub massacre, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, the aforementioned Ohio State attack, and on and on and more to come (for a much longer list see, “A Complete List of Radical Islamic Terror Attacks on U.S. Soil Under Obama”). There have also been planned attacks that were not successfully completed, among them the Underwear Bomber and the plot to blow up Times Square.
Apologists are wont to say some of these attacks were done by U.S. citizens. That is true, but they are often the sons of Muslim immigrants, and members of the second generation of Muslim immigrants too often become alienated from America and radicalized by mosques in America or by online campaigns to stoke terrorism against America. The conclusion can be made that but for their parents moving to America there would be fewer murdered Americans.
Terror groups have openly boasted of their efforts to slip terrorists into the stream of immigrants coming into America from Muslim nations. James Comey, head of the FBI, and James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, warned that vetting procedures were inadequate to protect us from the threats of terrorists coming to America .
Sometimes the future is visible in the present, and this is one of those times, since we can see how the European experiment with open borders and welcoming of Muslim refugees has turned out for them: mass terror attacks that have become so routine that even James Taylor has given up trying to bring solace to the beleaguered and endangered Europeans. Crime waves have followed refugee waves. Too many Europeans have paid a price for the generosity they have shown to Muslims, who have reciprocated by upping their demands, truck attacks, nightclub attacks, stadium attacks, Louvre attacks, attacks on women, beheading of priests, desecration of churches, torture of Jews, London subway and bus bombings, and beheading a British soldier. Are there any safe zones for Europeans?
Is it any wonder most Europeans are opposed to further migration (a bar on further Muslim migration has wide majority support in Europe? A leaked German Intelligence report stated:
“We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law. German security agencies are unable to deal with these imported security problems, and the resulting reactions from the German population.”
According to the Federal Labor Office, the educational level of newly arrived migrants in Germany is far lower than expected: only a quarter have a high school diploma, while three quarters have no vocational training at all. Only 4% of new arrivals to Germany are highly qualified.
For now, the vast majority of migrants who entered Germany in 2015 and 2016 are wards of the German state. German taxpayers payed around €21.7 billion ($23.4 billion) on aid for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016, and will pay a similar amount in 2017.
A Finance Ministry document revealed that the migrant crisis could end up costing German taxpayers €93.6 billion ($101 billion) between now and 2020. About €25.7 billion would be for social spending, such as unemployment benefits and housing support. About €5.7 billion would be destined for language courses and €4.6 billion for integrating refugees into the workforce.
Mass migration has also increased the demand for housing and has pushed up rental costs for ordinary Germans. Some 350,000 new apartments are required each year to meet demand, but only 245,000 apartments were built in 2014, and another 248,000 in 2015, according to the Rheinische Post.
Meanwhile, migrants committed 208,344 crimes in 2015, according to a police report. This figure represented an 80% increase over 2014 and worked out to around 570 crimes committed by migrants every day, or 23 crimes each hour, between January and December 2015.
Mass migration is fast-tracking the rise of Islam in Germany, as evidenced by the proliferation of no-go zones, Sharia courts, polygamy, child marriages and honor violence. Mass migration has also been responsible for social chaos, including jihadist attacks, a migrant rape epidemic, a public health crisis, rising crime and a rush by German citizens to purchase weapons for self-defense — and even to abandon Germany altogether.
Rolling out a welcome mat for Muslim immigrants and purported refugees has wrought havoc in Europe.
Is this what we want in America?
President Trump’s executive order has been attacked on other specious grounds. One of them is that it mars America’s image. Yet, other nations sell residencies if migrants have enough money –and these nations include Canada and New Zealand. Six of the seven nations of Trump’s list bar entrance into their countries based on nationality. A number of Arab nations agree with Trump on the need for such an executive order. Contrary to claims from activists, the executive order is not recruiting more terrorists.
One might ask where is the gratitude from Muslims around the world for what America has done for them: America liberated Kuwait and Iraq from the murderous Saddam Hussein regime, established no fly and protected zones for them in Bosnia and Iraq, toppled the murderous Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, provided untold billions of dollars in aid over the years to Muslims throughout the world and allowed over 1.6 million Muslims to settle in America since 9/11, when we were attacked by Muslims in the name of Islam.
What have we received in return? Oil embargos, oil price gouging, terrorism and mass murder.
Emma Lazarus’s poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is not a law; nor is it a suicide note. The promise to open our doors to the needy has been met over America’s history. The poem was written for another age and another world. Activists might ignore facts and manipulate emotions to achieve their goals, but America should not be fooled and let down its shield. Concerns about safety is not a paranoid delusion but even if it were, sometimes it is true that only the paranoid survive. And as Joseph Heller put it, just because a person is paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t after you


Damaged buildings eastern in Mosul, Iraq.
The neighbourhood of Hay al-Arabi in eastern Mosul city has the appearance of a place recently visited by apocalypse. This was one of the last areas east of the Tigris River vacated by the Islamic State organisation, before the advance of the Iraqi armed forces in late January. The river now forms the line separating the various forces of the Iraqi government from the jihadist fighters.

The signs of recent battle are everywhere in the neighbourhoods along the river, testimony to the nature of the fight that took place here. One must traverse enormous craters, now filled with water from the February rains. These are the product of the US Air Force, whose B-52s played a vital role in softening up the jihadists and destroying emplacements and arms supplies before the Iraqis moved in.
In the side streets, the metallic and scorched skeletons of cars are strewn everywhere — evidence of
the employment of suicide car bombers, who have emerged as one of the most notable and dangerous
tactical aspects of the jihadist way of war in Iraq and Syria.

In the courtyard of one ruined house, the mangled and misshapen remains of a black-clad suicide
bomber are among the rubble. Islamic State fighters have turned self-annihilation into a tactical
instrument. For them, homicide by suicide is no longer a practice especially designed to produce
terror in the opponent. It is merely a tactical option. Jihadists in Mosul routinely wear suicide belts.
If cornered, or facing capture, they detonate them, with the arithmetical intention of taking as many
of their enemy with them as they can. These black-clad clumps and the soot and rubble around them
are the result.

Islamic State propaganda on a wall in east Mosul.
And for all this, life is coming back
to Hay al-Arabi. Even among the
ruins, civilians may be seen, their
 belongings on wooden carts,
making their way back to what
remains of their homes. Men,
women and children.
The evidence of trauma is very
clear. It may be seen in the hard,
sidelong stares with which strangers
are acknowledged here. Strange,
piercing, direct-eye contact that
seems to contain within it an
element of entreaty, along with a
certainty that some of the things
experienced in Mosul in recent weeks defy communication.

This is Iraq's second city, with a remaining population of about 650,000. It no longer resembles an
urban centre. There is still small-arms fire coming from close by, from neighbouring Rashidiya. But
the civilians in Hay al-Arabi largely ignore it. The army has cordoned off this neighbourhood, though
officially it is described as "liberated." The official explanation is that the jihadists are shooting from
the other side of the river. Noise, confusion and rumours proliferate. Welcome to the battle for Mosul.

Slow progress

So how is the fight against Islamic State in Iraq's second city going? Slower than expected, but in the
right dir­ection, is the verdict of Captain Ra'ad Karim Qasim of the Golden Division. I catch up with
Qasim and the men of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces' Najaf battalion in the al-Beker
neighbourhood of the city, south of Hay al-Arabi. They are preparing to withdraw from the city, to
Bartala to its immediate south. There, they will wait for the order to begin the final part of the assault on Islamic State in the city. The 1st Iraqi Special Forces Division is taking the key role in the fight for Mosul. Its
10,000 fighters form part of an independent command structure, answering directly to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The ISOF men we meet are clearly exhausted. But morale is high. This US-trained force has borne
 the brunt of the fight against Islamic State throughout Iraq. Established by the Americans after the
2003 invasion, it is a separate structure from the Iraqi Army. ISOF was the first force to enter the
city, on November 1. It has pushed on, slowly and steadily, deeper into the city since then. Accurate
casualty figures are impossible to come by in Iraq, but all accounts suggest that many, many ISOF
men have died in Mosul.

"At the beginning of the operation, we came in mainly with vehicles, and we met with suicide cars
and IEDs in the street, so we had to change our tactics," Qasim says. "So we moved at that point to
fighting on foot. We'd enter IS-controlled neighbourhoods by night. We'd come in divided into seven
-man sections. IS tried to use the suicide cars against them. But on foot we were able to use
subterfuge, conceal ourselves, enter houses, and so on."

Captain Ra'ad Karim Qasim
Speaking from his headquarters in a large
private house in the Beker neighbourhood,
Qasim paints a picture of a chaotic,
terrifying combat zone, one in which
 jihadist resistance is slowly and
remorselessly being ground down.

"Sometimes as many as five suicide cars
would attack us at a given time. But as the
battle progressed, the number was reduced. They began to use civilian cars instead of the improvised
armoured cars they'd had at the beginning.
Suicide bombers on motorcycles too."

Islamic State has continued to produce
surprises, even as it retreats. A particularly
notable aspect of the fight for Mosul city
has been the employment by the jihadists of commercial drones as weapons of war for the first time.
The drones are used for reconnaissance missions, with cameras attached to them, and as weapons of
war, able to drop grenades on the Iraqi forces. They are able to target vehicles as well as groups of
fighters, and are obviously intended to produce fear and disorientation. It is easy to ­imagine the
effect the sudden appearance of one of these customised commercial toys, carrying an explosive
payload, might produce.

"We try to shoot down the drones using sniper rifles," Qasim says. "But sometimes they're too high,
so we just have to hide ourselves."

ISOF General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, speaking at his headquarters in the village of Basakhra outside
Mosul, explains the relatively slow and grinding progress of the special forces into the city as
deriving not from the particular prowess of the jihadist tactics. Rather, he says, "we're moving slowly
out of concern for civilians. We've told civilians to stay in their homes. If we told them to leave, IS
would begin to slaughter them.

"But because of the presence of the civilians, we have to limit the use of planes and heavy weapons.
" This, in turn, increases the casualty rates for the special forces.

ISOF is the main attacking force being used by the Iraqi government in the fight against Islamic
State in Mosul. Its task is to spearhead the attacks in the most difficult areas and to conquer ground.

Once the ground is taken, it is handed over to the Iraqi Army or the Federal Police — the
paramilitary units of the Interior Ministry. Irregular fighters attached to the Popular Mobilisation
Units are also present in the city. The differing quality of the forces available to the Iraqi government
necessitates this process. Neither the army nor the Federal Police has the training or the abilities of
the ISOF. The result is that the special forces are suffering very heavy casualties — as high as 50 per
cent in some formations, says a recent report in Politico.

The Iraqi Army, which collapsed before the advance of Islamic State in the summer of 2014, still lags
far behind the ISOF in its capabilities and motivation.

A visit to the 16th Infantry Division in the north of Mosul confirms this. The troops are older and
very obviously less physically fit. The equipment is less well-maintained, even the security
surrounding the position is laxer. US policy appears to have been to invest in ISOF as a centre of excellence. But if the hope was that this would then serve as an example for the larger army, it does not yet appear to have

The Interior Ministry's Federal Police were largely responsible for the conquest of southern Mosul in
early January. The forces there are currently engaged in the task of dealing with IEDs left by the
retreating jihadists, and ensuring supervision of the provision of food supplies and the reconnecting
of electricity in the conquered areas. Members of the force freely acknowledge the gap in capabilities
between themselves and ISOF. They note the more complex training made available to the special
forces by the US as the obvious explanation for this. It looks likely that heavy losses or not, ISOF will
lead the way into densely populated western Mosul in the next phase of the operation, when it comes.

Civilian life under IS rule

For civilians in the newly recaptured areas, the departure of Islamic State does not represent
anything as simple as the return of legitimate government and the departure of an occupying force.

Mosul is an overwhelmingly Sunni Arab city. It was a stronghold of support for the old regime of
Saddam Hussein. Many of its inhabitants welcomed the jihadists when they arrived in the summer
of 2014. They saw Islamic State as a force directed against the Shia-dominated Baghdad government, which they viewed as the main source of their troubles.

As Mohammed Fadel Khdeir, from the Tal al-Roman neighbourhood in western Mosul tells me, "the
(government) army had mistreated us before. Too many checkpoints, too much harassment. So it's
our fault, what happened to us. We welcomed ISIS (Islamic State) when they came. And in the
beginning there were no checkpoints, no ID cards, as they'd told us. But then they became much
harder on the people. ISIS promised freedom, but they are doing the same thing. So now we are
tired of them too."

A woman from Mosul at a refugee camp in Syria.

Ahmed Ali Obeid, from the same neighbourhood and now living in the Khazer refugee camp just outside the city, says: "There is no food now in western Mosul, and no gas to make food. So people began to use wood to make fires. Then ISIS stopped people from cutting wood — they wanted it just for themselves.

"You can get 15 to 20 lashes for not going to prayers, or for smoking. And of course the punishment for giving information to the army is death. They'll hang you and leave your body hanging up for three days, then cut it down and let the dogs eat it."
The stories told by the many refugees I interviewed depict an Islamic State regime combining ­religious obscurantism and ped­antry, an extreme capacity for ­cruelty, and a certain brutal incompetence. We
hear of mortars fired at the army which fell short and resulted in the deaths of civilians in jihadist-
controlled areas, of bizarre punishments for women who failed to wear veils or cover their hands, of
long mandatory hours spent in the mosques listening to endless sermons from emirs (commanders).
Of strange edicts against the placing of gravestones (regarded by Islamic State as a form of idolatry)
and of the teaching of methods of execution and slaughter to young children in the jihadist
education system.

There is a chronic shortage of medicines for people under jihadist control. Punishments for the
possession of unauthorised SIM cards are fierce. Loudspeaker vans trundling through the streets
issue exhortations to the residents to abandon and denounce non-Sunni Muslim spouses or relatives.

Yet for all the bizarre cruelty of the details gleaned in hours of conversation with refugees, it's clear
that Sunni Arabs willing to obey the rules and remain silent could maintain a semblance of normal
life under Islamic State rule.

This reporter was among the first to interview the Yazidi refugees fleeing the advance of Islamic State
 in Syria in the summer of 2014. They gave details not of stringent and bizarre punishments but of
mass slaughter, rape and enslavement. The difference between that population and the people of
Mosul is their religion.

For all the cruelties of Islamic State rule in Mosul, the jihadists were holding author­ity there over a
Sunni population they regarded as their own.

War without end?

These stark sectarian dynamics of Iraq mean that many Sunni residents are now mainly afraid not of
the departing Islamic State forces, but of the government troops coming in, and with them the
possibility of revenge attacks.The Iraqi government forces make little or no attempt to hide their
Shia sectarian allegiances. On many of the Humvees of both the army and the special forces, one
sees large flags bearing the visage of a serene, bearded figure. These are banners of Hussein Ibn Ali,
grandson of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam and a key figure of veneration for Shia Muslims.

The flags contain the accomp­anying exhortation "labayek ya Hussein!" (At your service, o Hussein).
They are markers of Shia identity and loyalty. And for Sunni residents of Mosul, they are an ominous sign of what may come."There will be sectarian war again," predicts Mahmoud al-Yunis, a Sunni refugee from the
city, from his tent in the Khazer camp. "The situation will remain the same after IS goes. The army
will do the same as they did before. They will come to take revenge. Everyone thinks this."The army
wants revenge forthe Speicher massacre," he says, "but they'll take it on the innocent."  (The Speicher
massacre was the systematic slaughter of 1566 Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets by Islamic  State during its lightning advance across western Iraq in 2014.)

So what of the future? "People are afraid to talk," says Ahmed Ali Obeid. "They keep it in their heart.
But if people had a chance to leave, they would all leave."

"Iran has its hands all over Iraq," concludes al-Yunis, "Iran is taking revenge on Iraq. Revenge on
the Sunnis." The ISOF, army and police commanders interviewed for this article indignantly reject
any accusations of sectarianism among their forces but the picture is not simple. The fighters of ISOF
 in particular appear to have a genuine ethos of non-sectarianism and Iraqi identity. Captain Qasim
proudly points out that among his officers are Kurds and Sunni Arabs. But this notwithstanding, it is
unlikely that Iraq will break the sectarian spiral, even after the defeat of Islamic State.

The Hussein flags can be seen even on the vehicles of the special forces. And in the empty land west
of the city, the openly sectarian Shia militiamen of the PMUs are assembled. The powerful militias f
rom the Shia south that make up this gathering are political ­forces as well as military ones.

The most potent of them, the Kata'ib Hezbollah group led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and the Badr
Organisation of Hadi al-Amiri, are supported and financed by Iran, and pursue a frank agenda of
Shia ascendancy. These, and not the US-trained ISOF, are in tune with the stark realities of
intercommunal war that underlie the dynamic of events in Iraq.

Civilians stand in a queue to receive humanitarian food aid being distributed by the Iraqi Red Crescent.
One is reminded irresistibly of WH
Auden's lines from September 1, 
1939: "I and the public know / What
 all schoolchildren learn, / Those to
whom evil is done / Do evil in

The fight for Mosul is of course not
yet over, or close to over. The west
of the city remains to be conquered.
It is more densely populated than
the east. The roads are narrower.
Use of air power will be restricted by
 the need to preserve civilian life.
Islamic State follows a practice of
burning tires in areas it controls so
 as to obscure the vision of aircraft
and make the differentiation between civilians and combatants even harder.

So the special forces will need to go in on foot again, and to face the suicide car bombs and drones
and snipers and IEDs of the Sunni jihadists. The Najaf battalion has withdrawn south to Bartala and
preparations for the next phase are proceeding apace. It is not possible, of course, to know from
which direction the assault on western Mosul will begin. But the deployment of forces seems to
indicate it will not be a frontal attack across the river. Rather, the government forces may well begin
their advance from the south, from the area of Hamam al-Alil, across the open ground.

For the remaining Islamic State fighters in the west of the city, the choice will be to fight or die. There
 is no exit for them. To the west, after all, wait the Shia militias. These forces are not interested in
taking Islamic State prisoners. So the jihadists, thought to number now only about 3000-4000 men,
will seek to defend the warrens and alleyways of western Mosul using the tactics that by now have
become familiar.The broader questions regarding Iraq's future, meanwhile, will not be settled by the
outcome of the Mosul battle. The fight in the city's west looks set to continue for some months.
Islamic State will, inevitably, eventually, be defeated.

Volunteers clean their neighbourhood after the 
defeat of Islamic State fighters in eastern Mosul, Iraq.

But Islamic State was able to sink deep roots into the Sunni Arab population of central Iraq not because of the special appeal of its particular brand of Islam but because of the sectarian dynamics that govern Iraqi political life. These will not disappear with the last of the jihadi fighters. The Hussein banners on the Humvees, and the stark fears and smoldering resentments of the refugees all attest to that.
In the meantime, the civilians are heading back to Hay al-Arabi and the corpses and the rubble are slowly being cleared away. The ISOF fighters are resting, and waiting for the order to move forward to the west of Mosul. The ­jihadists of Islamic State, somewhere among the warrens and ­alleys of western Mosul, are also preparing for the battle to come. There remains much killing and destruction to come.

The present, grinding round of fighting, meanwhile, looks likely to serve merely as a prelude to the
next round. This country, which has not known peace for 30 years, still looks far from achieving it
anytime soon.
Jonathan Spyer, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is director of the Rubin Center for 
Research in International Affairs and author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the 
Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

Why you should fear the leaks 

that felled Mike Flynn

It might seem bizarre to say that an administration only 23 days old needed a fresh start, but look: If 
Adele can stop 45 seconds into a live performance at the Grammys and begin again, so too can Donald 
Trump. The departure of Michael Flynn from the White House could be Trump’s Adele moment.

The chaos and infighting and unforced errors at 1600 Penn that have left everyone dizzied may be
viewed as rookie mistakes to be overcome by on-the-job training. So it was for Bill Clinton’s White
House, which also began horribly in 1993 — and needed a whole bunch of departures and
reassignments to steady itself, not just a single change.
But what happened with Flynn also represents a frightening portent.
Leftists have become fond of saying that Trump shouldn’t be “normalized.” That concern should now
go both ways. Every American should be equally concerned at the potential “normalization” of the
tactics used by unnamed government officials to do Flynn in.
To be sure, Flynn’s ouster after three weeks is proof positive he should never have been given the
national security adviser job in the first place. Flynn’s deceits about his conversations with a Russian
official cannot be viewed in isolation from the overly close relationship with the Russian government
he forged following his firing by the Obama administration in 2013.
Still, un-elected bureaucrats with access to career-destroying materials clearly made the decision that
what Flynn did or who Flynn was merited their intervention — and took their concerns to the press.

In one sense, the larger system of American checks and balances worked: The Trump White House
couldn’t ignore the Flynn problems because they went public. On the other hand, the officials who
made the problems public did so using raw information that was in their possession for reasons we
don’t yet know and may not have any right whatsoever to know.
This information might have come because the US intelligence community has an active interest in the
Russian official to whom he talked.
Or it could have come because the FBI had been pursuing some sort of secret investigation and had
received authorization to monitor and track his calls and discussions.
If this was intelligence, the revelation of the Flynn meeting just revealed something to the Russians we
shouldn’t want revealed — which is that we were listening in on them and doing so effectively.
And if it was an FBI investigation, then the iron principle of law enforcement — that evidence gathered
in the course of an investigation must be kept secret to protect the rights of the American being
investigated — was just put through a shredder.

And as for playing fast and loose with confidential information on American citizens: No joke, people
— if they can do it to Mike Flynn, they can do it to you.Keeping our intelligence-gathering assets
hidden from those upon whom we are spying is a key element of our national security.
This is the ultimate Pandora’s box. It makes a public mockery of the presumption of innocence that is
the hallmark of our legal system. Such a thing is only acceptable, even morally, if you believe that the
Trump White House represents such an unprecedented threat to everything that a higher law must
govern your actions.
It would be pretty to think so, but we also know that Flynn had an antagonistic relationship with
America’s intelligence agencies. If these leaks came about not out of high principle but because
officials at those agencies were taking out a potential adversary, that is nothing more or less than a
monstrous abuse of power.
And that’s true even if Flynn is guilty of something. But we can’t know if he’s guilty of something
unless he’s charged with a crime and tried in the courts. That’s how law works.
If those who fear Trump embrace antinomianism because they think he’s going to destroy our
democracy, they should stop and consider whether their zeal to stop him might be blinding them to a
 different threat from the federal government that will erode our rights as citizens.

3a) Flynn’s out, but the moles are not

There’s more mischief coming in the important back storynt

Michael Flynn is gone as the president’s official national security adviser, and now the 
important back story moves to the front. What is this curious episode really all about? Nothing 
is ever as it seems in Washington. 

Mr. Flynn learned the hard way the ancient rule that so many high government 
officials learned before him, that a misdemeanor can become a felony when embraced by a 
lie — “it’s not the crime, but the cover-up.” When Mr. Flynn was accused of improper 
conversations with the Russian ambassador about what Russia could expect from the new
president, Mr. Flynn assured Vice President Mike Pence that it wasn’t so. But it was, as he 
now concedes.

That’s bad enough, but more bad is coming. The Washington Free Beacon, a reliable internet 
news site, reports that the crucial back story  is that Mr. Flynn’s abrupt resignation Monday 
night was “the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration 
confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national-security apparatus and preserve
the nuclear deal with Iran.”
 The Beacon quotes “multiple sources in and out of the [Trump] White House,” whom it does 
not name, who described a furtive, behind the scenes campaign of planting damaging stories 
about Mr. Flynn with some of the abundant correspondents who despise Mr. Trump. They’re 
eager to bring him down and if the national interest suffers, well, collateral damage is merely 
the grim reality of war.
The campaign is said to be led by Ben Rhodes, an adviser to Barack Obama when he was 
president and who, like the former president, is still in town to remain close to the action. The 
Iran nuclear deal,  which was conducted in secret and whose details are still closely guarded 
by Mr. Obama and his friends, is regarded by the former president as the centerpiece of the 
“legacy” he continues to obsess over.
“They know that the number one target is Iran … [and]  they all knew their sacred little 
agreement with Iran was going to go off the books,” a source told the Beacon. “So they got rid
 of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Mr. Flynn’s sin is great, in no small part because it cost the president a voice that was 

useful and needed, but the sins of his accusers are greater. President Trump has promised to 

reveal the carefully hidden particulars of the Iran nuclear agreement, and the time to do that 

may well be at hand.

“The drumbeat of leaks of sensitive material related to General Flynn has been building since 
he was named to his position,” a member of the National Security Council told the newspaper. 
“[Monday night’s resignation] was not the result of a series of random events. The president 
has lost a valuable adviser and we need to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again.”

The intelligence community’s feud with President Trump is well known, and it may be coming 
clear why the president scorned his daily security briefings until he could sort out whom he 
could trust and whom he should not. Barack Obama’s legacy, as it turns out, includes a band 
of dedicated troublemakers who regard Donald Trump as “not my president.”

Barack Obama is still in town — he says he’s only here to await his daughter’s graduation 
from high school, but he’s fortifying a mansion in Kalorama that looks in place for the long 
march — but he’s not going to return to the White House except as a tourist, and his coterie 
of apparatchiks might as well get used to it. President Trump’s task is to clean house and stop
 damaging leaks. Mike Flynn is only a collateral target.

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