Monday, April 3, 2017

What's the FBI Hiding Behind "Classified?"

A Few Ideas About Why Things Are "Classified"
Are there to be no exceptions? Ever?

Americans are, quite understandably, very curious about the growing well of details about how Donald Trump actively colluded with the Russians to get elected. Yet, most of the mechanisms of our representative democracy which would -- in more "normal" times -- ferret out such details have been haltered by the alarmingly meat handed Trump power grab.

The slimy little Republican toady "operating" the House Intelligence Committee's investigation has now bumbled his way into an ever deepening pit of both mistrust and disgust. More competent criminals would have taken steps to avoid being so publicly left at the bus stop performing clunky fellatio on the Orange "Mastermind" in the Oval Office.

Still, it seems to MeanMesa that the things we really want to know about consistently hit the brick wall of being "classified."

We probably need to think about the reasons all this information is "permanently classified" along with the logic behind such an awkward barrier to prevent us from knowing what we would really, really like to know.

There are good reasons for "classifying" information under the normal processes of governance and geopolitical maneuvering -- but are these "normal" times which would justify the same processes?

The the "stakes" ever get so high that "classifying" information left and right no longer makes common sense? Is this one of those "high stakes" moments?

Justifying "Classification"
A Few Fundamentals About "Secrets"
 and the Trade of Spy Craft
The logical structure should be straightforward
-- at least in theory.

The "tangled web"

There really are -- again, in normal times -- various sets of conditions which serve to justify information being classified.  The simple reason that "justification" keeps arising in this discussion rests with the "ownership" of information in general.

American tax payers foot the bill for the incredible expense of maintaining the US intelligence community. This bill is generally the result of paying for thins such as the plethora of intelligence agencies, computers, spy satellites, salaries and benefits, however, the bill also includes cash for bribes, the very generous life style expenses sometimes required to "compromise" critically important "assets," "gifts," and other such "incidentals."

Because tax payers pay for all of this, in most cases those tax payers should reasonably expect to enjoy the benefits of information gathered in this "spy craft." Because of this "justifying" the classification of some of this information becomes the question. Let's look at it by the numbers.

1. Keeping "secrets" means denying access to others. Discovering "secrets" may mean "secretly" gaining access and keeping it "secret" from the original "secret maker."

It may be important for our government to know things unbeknownst to others. The nature of the "secret" in such matters is two fold. There is the actual "secret" which someone is hoping that others don't know, and there is the "secret" of who might actually know the "secret." [This is a classical case of the primary and secondary communications models we study in class here.

To clarify this with a simple example we can look at a soldier who has hidden a tank in some brush at an important location. The other soldiers in his unit will know that the tank is there, but his enemy -- he is hoping -- will not. However, if his enemy does "secretly" know that the tank is there, he not only knows the "secret" -- that the tank is there -- but he is also keeping it "secret" that he knows this, i.e. has this intelligence, so the original "tank hiding - secret keeping" soldier continues to think that his enemy knows nothing about the tank.

The outcome of the encounter in which the tank will ultimately play a part may well be determined by these factors.

2. The means of discovering "secrets" must also be kept "secret." The fact that a "secret" has been discovered must often also be kept "secret"

Not only the "secret" itself, but the knowing of the "secret" must be kept "secret." However, when a "secret" is, in fact, "secretly" known, the resources and technique used to gain access to that "secret" must also be kept "secret" -- especially if one might want to use them to ferret out another "secret" in the future in the same way.

Because of this, the expected duration of "secret keeping - secret discovering" interplay is also important. If the issue is a simple ambush, all the "secrets" about the tank attack plan are revealed once it begins. If the matter is more complex, if the "secrets" involved are comprised of many parts, each one with its own, specific time line dictating its value to both parties, and if the "secret's parts" build upon on one another to reveal even more "secrets," the complicated system becomes something more akin to modern spy craft.

3. Revealing "secrets" or revealing that one has discovered "secrets" without revealing the "secrets'" themselves, is almost as strategically tricky as simply discovering them -- or keeping them in the first place.

The decision to make "secrets" public or the decision to reveal that one has discovered "secrets" and enjoys access to them are usually pivotal moments in the intelligence business.  Such decisions are always weighed with respect of what damage such revelations might inflict on "secret" discovery resources and assets which might become even more valuable in the future as compared to what advantage such a revelation might offer at the moment.

Naturally, in the cases of extortion, bribery and coercion intelligence types can simply hint that they have access to "secrets" or even threaten to reveal them whether they actually even have them or not. In the arena of "competitive domestic politics" even a threat of revealing a "secret" -- whether access is really held or not -- becomes a material factor in deciding "how things end up."

Now that MeanMesa has made all of these complicated, intertwined intelligence fundamentals and their respective relationships to each other "perfectly clear," we can finally address the point of this post.

The Trump Russia Connection Is Mired
 In a Screaming Festival of "Classified Keep Away"
Concentrate on the need to protect intelligence assets for "future use."
The toddlers are becoming "restive."

Bannon's dilemma
"The chief difficulty Alice found at
 first was trying to manage
 her flamingo."
We know that the FBI has been hard at work...on something. Naturally, any details which might have 
helped Americans understand what the FBI is finding -- if anything -- remain behind the veil of "an on going investigation."

The "normal" response to this understandable delay is that the entire investigation must be completed before any remedial action on any crimes revealed within it. That's simply "the way this is done." The delay is quite "normal" in situations such as this one.

Everything is NOT "normal." In fact practically NOTHING is "normal." The life blood of the democracy is dripping across the floor at this moment, AND there is not an endless supply of that blood, either.

Americans have -- some time ago -- already arrived at their "conclusion" concerning what's unfolding in Washington and the Kremlin. Americans are less convinced that FBI "resources, methods and assets" must continue to be protected at this point. Time has run out on delays which would have -- in better times -- been understandable or prudent measures to ensure the FBI's capacity to conduct future investigations.

Standard procedure isn't well suited to "working on the edge of a precipice." The "nature" of "normal" becomes dangerously ill defined in an absence of also accounting for the grave conditions surrounding us now.

The American democracy may well not have time to wait for the usual pace of releasing FBI investigatory results. Although it may be quite confusing to speculate a precise picture of what the White House is doing, we must assume that the government is doing much more than what is easily visible to consolidate its power. This is a deep "take over" coup in progress. While the President is clearly inept, those around him are not.

"Curiouser" and "Curiouser"
Did Trump order the NSA to wire tap the FBI
 in the hope of stopping the Russia investigation?

Curiouser and curiouser [image]
As we explore the similarities between the Trump Presidency and MeanMesa's favorite old fashioned children's tale, Alice in Wonderland, we immediately encounter a frighteningly conflicted personality in the person of the President, himself. There is, unquestionably, a "side" of Donald Trump which is eerily reminiscent of the chaotic antics of Alice's Mad Hatter.

But -- there is also a side of Donald Trump cast closely to the horrifying antics of the Queen of Hearts, a "curiously" powerful woman with a penchant for decapitating anyone who "crossed her path." Remember?
"Off with their heads!"

All rolled into one. [photo]
This is where it really gets crazy.

A calm, academic comparison of Trump to the exquisitely noteworthy "literary megalomaniac" found in Alice's Queen will allow us to analyze the most recent Trump tantrum in, perhaps, a somewhat clearer light. That is to say, sometimes Donald Trump seems to unwittingly emulate Alice's Mad Hatter, but at other times The Donald seems obsessed with filling his equivalent to the literary role of Alice's Queen.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes was theatrically skulking in and out of Trump's realm in the desperate effort to substantiate the President's embarrassing claim that Obama spied on him. What he was handed was a dossier of raw transcripts extracted by someone with surveillance capabilities such as those found in the NSA or CIA. Where, exactly, did the White House toadies get the raw intelligence data?

Did a frantic Donald Trump order national intelligence surveillance directed at Comey's FBI investigation?

The power of Oval Office is real. If the President ordered this, it would get done. Although the authority of the President is subsiding daily, a refusal to carry out such an order is still "a bridge too far" -- even for an American patriot lodged somewhere in the basement gear works of the intelligence structure.

It is MeanMesa's opinion that "things" will have to deteriorate just a little more before such a refusal will become "survivable" in the career sense.

Trump's days are numbered. The desperation level in the Oval Office is building every day. The terror level in what's left of the Republican Party is palpable. The frustration of the "trigger happy" hill billies and bigots comprising the President's supporting gang of base voters is also exploding.

When the GOP looters in the Congress finally impeach him, we can only hope that they somehow manage to eject the whole feverish clutch of swamp dwelling democracy haters he's packed into the place with him.

No comments:

Post a Comment