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Saturday, January 14, 2023

“So, That’s Where I Put Them”- Biden’s Top Secret Documents And Washington’s Grand Circus Side Show

The US Government is notorious for stamping everything ‘Top Secret’ – a kind of closet Soviet, Stasi, Tonton Macoute mentality that dates back to the Cold War and the McCarthy era.  There has been no concerted or systematic effort to decide which documents can be declassified, downgraded or deleted, for it is far easier to let things ride than to undertake a secure vetting and disposal.  There are some statute of limitations on top secret documents – some of the files on the Kennedy assassination have recently been opened– but even when they have been made public they are so severely redacted that there are more sharpie blackouts than text.

Top Secret Documents, Sensitive Information – Nonprofit Law Blog

In any case, given this reflexive protocol – i.e. if there is even a scintilla of doubt about the sensitive nature of a document, it must be stamped Top Secret and sent it to a six mile long, three mile wide abandoned limestone mine 220 feet beneath Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania. Somehow, even this simple, uncomplicated, and straightforward procedure is ignored, and top secret documents remain open and unguarded. 

Donald Trump’s Mar-el-Lago home was recently raided by the FBI who were tipped off to a security breach, but after storming the mansion, although they found a number of classified documents, none were Top Secret, and few of any real consequence.  President Biden’s lapse was far more serious, and a number of Top Secret documents were found in one of his private institutional offices.  Additional papers were found at his Delaware home, but these, like the ones at Mar-el-Lago were of far less importance than the ones discovered at his think tank.

Special master in Mar-a-Lago case asks Trump to back up his allegation that  FBI 'planted' evidence

The whole affair has a Punch and Judy air to it – the pot calling the kettle black, wallops back and forth by the Three Stooges of each party.  More than likely the errant documents hold little more than tidbits about the drinking habits of President Abe, the sexual incontinence of Macron, the incipient diabetes of Kim, and – this is the best crumb of all, the paramours of Ayatollah Khamenei.  

No one suspects the serious damage done by Philby, Aldrich Ames, or Robert Hanssen; for the investigative agencies know their prey well – men given to such self-importance that anything and everything they say is of monumental unimportance.  The classified documents are likely scraps of hearsay or shreds of rumor and political suspicion.  Nevertheless, the FBI, under the direction of the sitting president, must investigate any and all suspicious activity; and so, with understandable reluctance, the Bureau is after Biden.  The security breach is so important – not only classified documents but Top Secret ones have been found unprotected – that a Special Counsel has been named.

298 Punch And Judy Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This of course could not have happened at a better time.  The new Republican House has been seated and is thirsty for Democratic blood.  No sooner have they taken their places on the House floor and moved into their corner offices, than this manna from heaven arrives, the scandal that promises to bring down the President or at least neuter any chances of his running or winning re-election in 2024.  Not only are there smoking guns everywhere, the President who had demanded Trump’s head on a platter now is accused of far more incriminating behavior.  A juicy meal, a fancy, long-overdue banquet of Republican political bloodletting – their best chance of a God-given feeding frenzy.

Washington loves a scandal, none more than a comeuppance – politicians known for their moral rectitude and family values caught with their pants down; administration officials hired to keep Wall Street in line found with billions in offshore accounts; men of profound religious faith and Biblical intentions caught in flagrante delicto in men’s rooms after midnight.  And so it is with Joe Biden and his Top Secret disclosures.  Not only did he criticize Trump for his irresponsible behavior and not only did he call for his head, he demanded crucifixion, the rack, and the Iron Maiden before the guillotine blade dropped. 

Man Under Torture On The Rack by Bettmann

“Why weren’t you more careful, Joe?” asked the President’s wife with unaccustomed sharpness to her voice before they were tucked in for the night.  Things were going quite well.  Her husband’s opinion poll numbers were rising as the American electorate finally appreciated his accomplishments, overlooked his fumbling and hapless missteps, and began to receive the first of many generous emoluments sent out by the US Treasury. 

Of course Biden had absolutely no idea what was in the documents, why he put them in his basement, or why he had trusted the old bat in charge of his presidential papers at the think tank; but there it was, the damage done and irremediable.  “I’ll get Bill right on it”, he said, referring to Bill Owens, his underground spin doctor, Karl Rove redux, the man who could write off any accusation, deflect any attack, and craft the most explosive counter attacks since John Adams and Thomas Jefferson came out swinging with the most scurrilous, ad hominem attacks ever seen until Jackson and John Quincy Adams outdid them.   

Biden hesitated to use Owens – the President had been elected as a unifying leader, one presiding over a compassionately diverse and inclusive society – but everyone around him counselled gloves off.  “Get back to your street roots”, said Owens who had written a minor, not yet published biography of the President in his tough boy Wilmington era.

The conservative media had a field day, and the political cartoonists were at their best – images of a doddering old fool in dumpster saying, “I know they’re here somewhere”.  All bets were off, no quarter given, and the President was even more ridiculous than the Left’s old bugaboo, Donald Trump.  The Right loved the irony of the situation – a smiling, happy, compassionate man concerned about America caught in a breach of national security.  As much as he initially dismissed the accusations as ‘forgetfulness’ and the contents of the documents as ‘trifles’, this was not a question of peccadilloes.  He could be tarred and feathered, excommunicated, and sent packing.  

The FBI which had been told to spare no expense when  investigating Trump and went to Mar-el-Lago like a pack of wild dogs, were now counselled restraint, temperance, and careful procedure.  Essentially the Agency was still the same institution as it had become under Hoover – a secret police with unrestricted access to personal information and with few restraints on their behavior.  So they went after Trump with relish, but were now confused by the new directives.  ‘Send your interns first’, came third hand directives from the White House, ‘keep the big guns in the armory’; but the salivating conservative radicals in the new House were having none of it. 

Is the Owner of a Dog Liable for Unprovoked Dog Attacks?

The grand guignol show has just begun, so the denouement is uncertain.  Lawyers have been arrayed on both sides, avant garde troops deployed, battle lines drawn, and guerrilla strategies prepared.  It should be quite a show.  Meanwhile Donald Trump continues to squire young women, stir the political pot with a flourish, campaign loudly and  visibly, and go about his businesses without a care in the world.  This is his territory now, the marvelous old vaudevillian, and he can’t wait to be back on stage.

Donald Trump says he has bought NBC's half of Miss Universe Organization | Donald  Trump | The Guardian

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