President Trump has made a very clear point that he will give no aid and comfort to the enemies of America especially ISIS by announcing what he is going to do.
Consequently, what is evolving is a series of tactical moves, some military strikes, others diplomatic, and many shadow war efforts such as intelligence operations and taking down financial networks.
Mike Wynne former Secretary of the Air Force astutely pointed out as the tactical engagements go forward a Trump Doctrine will emerge.
Tragically with leaks of classified information two very nasty results occur.
Our enemies get information and the American media often only focuses on a specific leak data point without context and thus misses the ever evolving Commander-in-Chief”s engagement across the board to keep America safe.
As Fred Fleitz has noted:
Under U.S. law, the President of the United States is our nation’s ultimate classification authority.
He can declassify information as he sees fit to conduct his national security policy.
The real scandal here concerns the current and former U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Post to generate this story.
We don’t know if these sources lied, misrepresented what went on in the Trump meeting with the Russians, or were second-guessing what Trump told them.
But the Washington Post seems to function as an Inside the Beltway Days of our Lives soap opera, rather than focusing on the key issues which the Trump Administration is indeed focused upon. The President has indicated in every way he can that he is shaping a new approach to defeating ISIS, and that will include working with the Russians and not coming up with fake red lines.
Indeed, when Face the Nation interviewed the President he made his approach crystal clear:
JOHN DICKERSON: Why do these missiles keep blowing up?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’d rather not discuss it. But perhaps they’re just not very good missiles. But eventually, he’ll have good missiles.
JOHN DICKERSON: You don’t want to discuss it because maybe we have something to do with it?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I just don’t want to discuss it. And I think you know me very well, where you’ve asked me many times over the last couple of years about military. I said, “We shouldn’t be announcing we’re going into Mosul.” I said, “We shouldn’t be announcing all our moves.” It is a chess game. I just don’t want people to know what my thinking is.
But rather than sort out the evolving approach to the ISIS challenge, or figure out ways the US might more effectively deal with the problem, the Days of Our Lives Washington Post focuses on a “leak” from the President which by definition can not “leak” classified information for he is the ultimate decider about classification!
This is really politics 101 but for Days of our Lives this does not matter.
And breathlessly we learn that the information “leaked” by the man who ultimately classifies information was from an ally, perhaps Israel.
Well let us deal with this possibility.
The Israelis after watching Obama’s moving Red Line and performance in Syria moved on with deepening their relationship with Russia. And it will take the Trump Administration some effort to catch up to where the Israelis already are in their working relationship with the Russians.
According to an interview we conducted with a leading Israel strategist in the Fall of 2015, the Israelis made their own strategic move with regard to Russia and the Middle East:
Question: How do Russian actions affect his relationship with key players in the region, such as Israel and Iran?
Amatzia Baram: You have to start from the fact that Putin does not fear Obama or any strategy, which the President will put together.
A measure of this was that he informed Washington of his air strikes coming in Syria through a junior functionary in Iraq.
In contrast, Putin met with the Israeli PM in Moscow and senior Israeli and Russian military officers met for a few hours to talk about coordination.
There is now a “red” phone line between the head of the Russians Operations Center and the Israeli Air Force.
Maybe it is blue-and-white on one side and red on the other but it’s a direct link.
Putin knows that Israel takes his actions very seriously.
And he remembers what happened when we had a direct exchange in 1970 where the IAF downed all five Russian fighters over the Sinai. He has a long memory with regard to this kind of impact.
He is respectful of Israel and we of him.
It is obvious; we do not want to go to war with Russia.
There is a key danger however.
Our pilots know every tree and every trench between Israel and Turkey. The Russian pilots do not and there is a clear danger that they will show up in key conflict areas unintended with perhaps negative consequences.
That is why deconfliction hot lines are important as well.
In Syria, the U.S. and the allies have vast areas to adjust; in between Israel, Lebanon, and Damascus, and the Alawite mountain and shore line, we are talking only a few kilometers.
Ok if the Washington Post wants to do analysis rather than Days of Our Lives voyeurism, perhaps they might start by sorting out the gap created by Obama with the Israelis as they deepened their working relationship with Russia.
And it should be noted that the subject of discussion raised in the “leak” was nothing less than the question of protecting lives against a new set of capabilities which terrorists are developing with regard to airplane destruction. And there is no secret about this for the EU and the United States are in discussion about the possibility of banning laptops from trans-Atlantic air travel. Oops! Another leak!
If the Washington Post wants to challenge President Trump’s trying to save innocent lives then a future possible tragedy will be, by the logic of their attack, on them.
If the reporting is true, and no idea on even that fact, that the President gave Russia a heads-up on current and possible future ISIS capabilities than that is a very appropriate thing to do-full stop.
And if it stops an attack on Russian civilians all the better.
This current Russian dust up after all the hot-house hyperbole is fading have planted the seeds to bring everlasting shame on The Washington Post.
Doesn’t the WashPost and Jeff Bezos have any humanity about saving lives?
Sadly I guess it is much more important to Bezo’s Blog agenda to do all politics all the tim.
I bet if it was President Obama or HRC warning Russia it would have been reported as a very positive joint effort to stop ISIS killers.
Time for an understanding of intelligence practices and considerations:
The President can do whatever he thinks with information dissimilation that is in the best interest of American National Security
Intel goes “up and out”
The only thing worse than no Intel is bad intel
If the President wants to protect innocent civilians in all countries in danger of an ISIS terror event he can do just that.
Russian mothers and fathers faced one of the most horrific terror attacks ever launched since 9/11 and the government of Russia is clearly not interested in seeing this happen again.
The Beslan school siege (also referred to as the Beslan school hostage crisis or Beslan massacre) started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the illegal imprisonment of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), and ended with the death of at least 385 people.
The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic Groups, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation) on 1 September 2004.
And they also lost an airliner.
Please can all just have an appreciation that President Trump is trying to do a very important thing in trying to eradicate ISIS and thus save innocents.
But I am sure for Days of Our Lives reporting this is not important.
And the Post is working the old razzle dazzle gig seen here in Chicago which may reach back into the old Obama days.