We are, arguably, engaged in the least memorable scrabble in American political history. As some of you may recall, I crawled out of the great morass known as the U.S. Intelligence Community and fled to the West Coast as a means of scraping the bureaucratic barnacles from my thick skin. After twenty-five years, it finally dawned on me that I was engaged in the least worthy occupation an academic can obtain. Days spent reading crap generated by spooks who either paid off traitors or listened to telephone calls of dubious value.
All so that we could “inform” policy makers three days after the newspapers had already covered the story. As one of my more sarcastic counterparts used to say: “Yesterday’s news reported two days later.” Handed over to an executive branch—the U.S. Intelligence Community does not answer to Congress…any data that makes its way to Capitol Hill has to be cleared via the White House—that could care less about what the spooks have to say. As one of my friends with personal contact would say…Barack Obama was a “disinterested customer” of our products. I suspect Donald Trump is watching TV instead of listening to the intel geek assigned to service his majesty.
No loss. George Bush the Second was no better. And Bill Clinton couldn’t have cared less. Come on, Lyndon Johnson was his own best intelligence officer, and Richard Nixon—the ultimate “Cold Warrior”—keep in mind he won a place in history by pursuing Alger Hiss—was more interested in publicity than propriety.
Sounds like the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But, nonetheless, I wasted three hours reading all the reporting on this latest “historic” memo…including the document itself. Trust me, there are no national secrets at risk here. Just rumor and political theater.
What? You’re surprised the FBI wiretaps American citizens with a justification of dubious value? Ever hear of a “snitch?” The felon or would be glory-seeker that sold the boys in black suits and starched white shirts a load of bullshit in hopes of gaining fame, money, or publicity. Well. You’ve been living with your head in the sand. The crap in Christopher Steele’s “dossier” could be surfed off the web by any decent opposition researcher without leaving home. If the Democratic National Committee paid him $160,000 for this silliness…well, Hillary was backed by an even larger losing lost cause than her own campaign.
No self-respecting intelligence officer would call this a “smoking gun,” but perhaps that’s why Steele departed his job with Britain’s intelligence services…and the FBI finally sent him packing back to Jolly Old England. I’m thinking he’s material worthy of the National Enquirer. Oh, wait, that tabloid did us all a favor by sinking John Edward’s presidential ambitions…How about we send Steele to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence…apparently the current Chairman…a one Representative Donald Nunes (R-CA)…will pay for this type of work. Bet he subscribes to the New York Post and National Inquirer. Nunes strikes me as the type of guy who claimed to purchase Playboy for the articles.
You want a memo worthy of this hoopla? Go read the Zimmerman Telegram. A 1917 missive sent from the German Foreign Office to Berlin’s ambassador to Mexico. Essentially argued that if Mexico would go to war against the U.S. in the event of Washington joining the fray in Europe…well, Mexico, with German assistance, could have back Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (We should revive the offer…but that’s just a personal opinion.) In any case, THAT’S a memorandum worth reading. Not the tripe President Trump is now insisting will vindicate his sloppy interactions with Putin’s minions.
Here’s another one worthy of history. Came off the pen of then-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell in 1971. Try this on for size:
“American economic system is under broad attack.” … “Business must learn the lesson . . . that political power is necessary; that such power must be assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination—without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.” … “Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.”
Powell makes Gordon Gekko look positively tame. And sets the stage for Citizens United versus the FEC. We all know who lost that battle.
You and me.
Best I can tell this latest memo will be forgotten long before its etched in anyone’s memory. But for the next week we all get to suffer through media pontification. Then, after the news cycle runs out of steam…anyone recall the transgender scandal or the European refugee crisis?…we will be onto the next “disaster.” Perhaps a discussion of a stock market that just lost 2.5 percent of its value in a week…or Trump’s impending divorce from Melania…hah, have your attention now.
Forget the fucking Nunes memo…not worth expenditure of precious brain cells. I just wonder if Trump has an ironclad prenup.
Eric C. Anderson
5 February 2018