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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Trump is winning the leaks war

The Trump administration on Friday afternoon announced getting tough on leakers. Odd. That is not how things work in Washington. Friday afternoon is when politicians release news they don't want discussed -- not the good news.

Trump is not a politician. OK? Readers get it. The news media does not.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Under pressure by President Trump to stanch unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the media, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on Friday announced new efforts to find and prosecute those responsible for what he called an “unprecedented rise in leaks” and threatened a more aggressive stance toward journalists.
Sessions revealed no new cases, but said the Department of Justice has tripled the number of leak investigations this year. The pace is so heavy, he said, that the FBI has increased resources for leak cases and has created a new counterintelligence squad to manage them.
He also said he was reconsidering policies put in place during the Obama administration that limited the information prosecutors could demand from reporters.
“We are taking a stand,” he said. “This culture of leaking must stop.”
The Obama administration was aggressive in pursuing cases against government officials who revealed secrets to journalists, pursuing more cases than any other administration. No journalists were prosecuted under President Obama, but prosecutors subpoenaed records, secretly obtained telephone logs and pressured reporters to reveal their sources.
Yes and the press protested soooooooooo much against Obama's wiretapping of AP staffers and their families.

But now the press has flipped from lapdog to attack dog. It is different now.

From the story:
That announcement drew quick criticism from media organizations, which said the administration was trying to use the law to stop reporters from doing their jobs.
“What the attorney general is suggesting is a dangerous threat to the freedom of the American people to know and understand what their leaders are doing, and why,” said David Boardman, chairman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
What did Sun Tzu say?
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Trump is going to war with the press over leaks with victory in hand.

Of course, the press is smugly saying well, Obama tried that and it didn't work.


I did not notice anyone leaking anything about Benghazi or any other Obama disaster -- such as losing a Stealth helicopter in the killing of Osama bin Laden.

And there is this from Sun Tzu:
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
President Trump does that, a lot.

Oh he is not winning on every front. The Senate is holding his political appointments hostage. Notice, he does not talk about that much. It's called discipline. He knows they have him over a barrel called the Constitution.

The press is undisciplined. Time after time it grabs anything and everything to get Trump.

Remember the big to-do about "covfefe"?

The public sees that, sees the press as childish, and moves on. And the press likes to spike the ball before there is a touchdown.

From the New York Times on February 15:
Flynn Was Brought Down by Illegal Leaks to News Media, Trump Says
WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again on Wednesday, saying that his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was brought down by illegal leaks to the news media, on a day of new disclosures about the Trump camp’s dealings with Russia during and after the presidential campaign.
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Mr. Trump said at a White House news conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. “It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.”
With his statement and a burst of early-morning posts he made on Twitter, Mr. Trump tried to shift attention from damaging questions about contacts with Russia by Mr. Flynn and others close to the president, arguing that the outrage is not those contacts, but the leaks about them. He revived his charge that the allegations of a “Russian connection” were nothing more than a Democratic conspiracy, fed to a receptive news media to distract from the mistakes made by Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.
Now then, what did President Trump say about the leaks the next day?
Leaks are real, news is fake
That lends credence to the notion that Flynn worked with Trump to flush out the leakers by feeding them Fake News. Mission accomplished, Flynn left -- amid a lot of noise. This was for show.

Novelist and military history expert Thomas Wictor explained this:
President Trump has defeated Democrats in the intelligence community (IC) who were leaking classified information to the press. Such leaks have been a problem for many presidents, but Trump is the first who took a proactive approach and set up a sting operation that identified the leakers. It’s highly illegal to leak classified information. It’s also illegal to PUBLISH this information, but Trump is too smart to try and prosecute reporters.
I thought that Trump would fire members of the IC until the leaks stopped, but the president solved the problem with a much more imaginative and deadly approach: He fed the IC false information. When this information was published, Trump was able to identify individual leakers.
Each group or individual who leaked was given a different version of events. This is CLASSIC spycraft. If nine individuals are told nine different stories, and then each of those stories is published, you know the identity of each person who talked to the press.
It’s called a “barium meal,” after the medical test used to detect problems in the gastrointestinal tract. Soft tissues don’t show up on X-rays. Barium salts are “radio-opaque,” meaning that they show up in a radiograph or X-ray.
Trump now knows who the leakers are. He doesn't stop them. He controls them. If Nixon could have fed Fake News to Mark Felt -- the Deep Throat in Watergate -- Nixon would have completed two terms, and maybe elected Jerry Ford president.

I don't think Sessions is in the loop on these leaks. It is an Oval Office thing.

Trump has no trouble with leaks. He leaked his 1995 income tax return to the New York Times last fall. He leaked two pages of his 2005 return to Rachel Maddow. He leaks like a sieve.

Again, Trump does not want to stop the leaks. Trump wants to control the leaks.

He knows the power of the leak better than anyone. George Steinbrenner schooled him in journalism when they wrestled for the sports fronts in the New York City dailies in the 1980s.

One thing I have noticed is President Trump will underline a Fake News leak by raising holy heck about it on Twitter. The press then leaps on the leak as if it were gospel. I don't know if he does that to trap them, but that seems to be the result because time will prove Trump right.

My guess is the grand jury disclosure came from the Trump side, not Robert Mueller.

Sessions may be a smart man but he is coming off as Inspector Clouseau in this leak investigation thing.

Trump's threat to fire him (and if he wanted to fire Sessions, he would be gone by now) seems to have goosed Sessions into action. He is now taking sanctuary cities and prosecuting the security leaks seriously.

I have noticed that as Cabinet secretaries, senators are less energetic than CEOs.

Meanwhile, Wictor had a lovely Twitter feed last night on the subject of the leak wars. Trump is quietly winning. For all his bluster and showmanship, Trump knows not to brag about the real victories that matter.

The Washington press corps does not understand Trump, or really any president. They never study their prey. They assumed Obama was intelligent because he spoke well.

They assumed Bush was dumb because he mispronounced words. A person who learns words by reading does not always know how those words sound. If anything, his mispronunciations were a sign of intelligence and learning.

The press gets President Trump wrong because few bother to read his books (dictated though they may be) or even look upon him as a man of accomplishment.

Their loss.

This is not Eight Dimensional Chess Underwater in Space.

This is Tic-Tac-Toe.

And President Trump spots them two moves.

And still he wins.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's nomination.

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  1. "Novelist and military history expert Thomas Wictor explained this:"

    How are we to tell when he is writing a novel and when he is writing history?

    1. How do we tell anything? I'd say be a crtitical thinker, read as many sides to an issue as you can and make up your own mind.

      - Tee

    2. He has written novels; I have one now, and will start reading it soon. Amazon, you know.

      As far as his Twitter threads go, they're a National Treasure. I'm amazed that the fascists at Twitter haven't banned him!

  2. Interesting. I have long felt that the war against Trump suits Trump in keeping his base fired up. Certainly many emails come my way highlighting the latest assault on him and asking for donations. It is an old trick to unite a country by picking on an external threat. In this case, the threat is internal, the press. Serves the same purpose. CM

  3. Wictor sounds to me like a clever conspiracy theory guy. But where is his data?
    Meanwhile out at sea, Admiral Mueller commands his far ranging Wolfpack. Hanging on the periscope of his own sub,Inquisition, he is personally tracking the crippled freighter Gen Michael Flynn off the coast of Turkey, hoping it will give him a broadside shot. Then it will be "Torpedoes los!".
    The survivors will be offered complete amnesty for helping break the code of misguided loyalty Mueller and his Democrat commanders imagines protects DT from destruction.
    We must hope he fails. Leaks are not much compared to this singular deep down threat.

  4. Robert Mueller: "I Demand That Robert Mueller Be Fired Immediately!"

    The Legal-ish Strategery of the Cockroach Coup: Impeach Now!

    * Giving subpoena powers to a staff of Hillary's bundlers.
    * Hiring prosecutor Preet Bagheera, who falsely whined he was fired for investigating Trump instead of taking it like a man.
    * Leaking Everything, All the Time(tm) because of the Impeccable Integrity(tm).
    * Going after President Trump's businesses.
    * and now, going after Trump's family, targeting Donald Trump, Jr. for talking to the Russian lawyer sent over to Trump Tower by the Clintons and Obama.

    President Trump values his business background. But more than anything, he values his family. That is why Mueller is targeting them both.

    Clearly, Robert Mueller is screaming to be fired. He is trying to bait President Trump into firing him to force the pre-planned impeachment hearings, which were planned by Obama and his National Security toadies before Trump even won. And are being stage-managed out of the Obamabunker and Valerie Jarrett's spare bedroom even as we speak.

    We are in the midst of a coup.

    Not a metaphorical coup, kidz; an actual coup attempt by the Perma-Blob, the Administrative State.

    You have chosen a president they do not accept. And they mean to cancel your choice. Because in their eyes, it is their Government, not yours.

    And that's why it says "against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

  5. "It’s also illegal to PUBLISH this information, but Trump is too smart to try and prosecute reporters."

    You don't prosecute reporters; you prosecute the media/newspapers. A conviction and heavy fine against the NYT might cripple it, maybe even get its Mexican billionaire backer to dump his stock in it.

    1. Agree. Don't mess with the reporter. Go after the higer-ups who are reaping the rewards of leaking confidential information.

  6. Trump: The Paderewski of the Press Leak.

  7. "I have noticed that as Cabinet secretaries, senators are less energetic than CEOs."
    "[Trump] seems to have goosed Sessions into action."

    It's Trump's new non-prescription medication for legislators... "Senna-tor".

  8. What would have happened if they had just announced a crackdown on leakers? Crickets?

    But throw in an aside about re-evaluating the policy regarding "journalists" and it leads. and leads, and leads.

  9. And the real problem, the GOP component in all of this is....?

  10. Trump has the press, all unknowing, working for him. These are the smartypants folks who just know they're smarter'n the prez. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  11. Trump's finest playing of the press, imho, was his elevation to martyr status of Sessions, in the process getting the DemocRats to provide loving descriptions of Sessions' sterling character. And the stupid Senate is holding pro-forma sessions while on recess so Trump can't recess appoint a new AG to replace Sessions? You can't make this stuff up.

    Last week it was McMasters' turn to get sainthood due to "leaks" from the WH about his anti-Trump agenda, anti-Israel bias, and the firings of NSC pro-Trump staffers - who were almost surely leaking along with their mentor, Reince Priebus. Golly, the press and the Senate think McMasters is the next coming of the Savior.

    Top that off with his moving Gen. Kelly to WH CoS and you've got the trifecta of press plays, all in about a week.