President “Look at Me!” blows our national secrets — again


**Posted by Phineas

This time about Stuxnet, the super-virus that’s been wreaking havoc with the Iranians’ “peaceful” nuclear program. The New York Times Obama Marketing Department has the story:

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

What was it I said in another post about keeping one’s mouth shut with national secrets? Oh, yeah…

One of the greatest secrets you can have in intelligence work –especially when dealing with a deadly enemy– is that you’ve compromised their security. That you’ve cracked their codes, found their safe houses, planted a bug in their meetings, slipped a mole deep inside… so many things. You want them kept secret because you can exploit the advantage again and again, disrupting and demoralizing your enemy because they can’t figure out how you’re always one step ahead. These are secrets you go to your grave with, because, once blown, they’re useless.

Again, this is great news, and the article is a fascinating read, but does anyone really believe that its publication on the same day as a horrific, recession-foreboding jobs report is just a coincidence?

No, I didn’t either.

Yeah, I know they said they interviewed a bunch of people (Do you really think they talked without Washington’s permission?) and said some secrets were kept secret, but… give me a break.

The danger of an article like this is that the Iranians (or their patrons in Russia and China) might be able to deduce from what is said and not said crucial information — about Stuxnet itself, about how it was inserted into Iran, about who may have helped us from the inside… who knows?

And that’s the point. We don’t know what they know, and thus we don’t know if anything in this article might provide them with a valuable clue or a key to a defense. Remember, it was a series of small, seemingly obscure clues that lead us to the big secret of Osama bin Laden’s location. Who knows what tidbit useful to Tehran might be found in this article?

Thus the correct thing to do would have been to shut the Hell up.

After WWII, the British kept the truth about Ultra secret for 29 years. With a national secret of comparable importance, Obama can’t wait 29 months to brag about it.

This is an administration so self-absorbed, so puerile, that it values the security of American strategic secrets lower than the president’s reelection chances.

November can’t come fast enough.

PS: Romney 2012, because he’s an adult and can keep his mouth shut.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#war Romney visits Solyndra, hits Obama for cronyism and corruption


**Posted by Phineas

I’ll say this, unlike John McCain, Mitt Romney is willing to fight:

Keep it up, Governor. Keep punching. The One has a glass jaw.

RELATED: Past posts on Solyndra. Allahpundit on Romney’s surprise visit to Solyndra and how the Romney campaign is turning the tables on Team Obama. Power Line says “These aren’t your father’s Republicans.”

UPDATE: I wrote this post last night to make sure there was something for the morning. In the meantime, the Romney communications shop was busy turning it into this ad — “Symbol of Failure:”

Less than 24-hour turnaround. Well, done. My only change would have been to insert the blunt word “corruption” along with the more jargony “crony capitalism.” But that’s a quibble.

And it’s timed perfectly to go with today’s lousy jobs report.


(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#EdwardsTrial: Edwards may not be retried by DOJ in aftermath of yesterday’s verdict(s)


Via USA Today:

Former North Carolina senator John Edwards was acquitted of one count of corruption and a U.S. District Court judge declared a mistrial on five other counts after the jury deadlocked in the sensational case against a onetime rising political star — and it is unlikely he will be tried again on the charges.

As he left the courtroom Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., Edwards thanked the jurors for “their diligence” and spoke with apparent contrition.

“I want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my voice that while I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing something illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that is wrong,” he said, standing next to his mother, father and oldest daughter. “And there is no one else responsible for my sins.”

The Justice Department declined to comment on the outcome and whether prosecutors would seek to retry Edwards. But a source familiar with the case who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record said another prosecution was unlikely.

Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor, agreed.

“The facts aren’t going to change; the law isn’t going to change,” he said. “Why should the outcome change?”

The seven-week-long trial — which included testimony about Edwards using money and subterfuge to hide his relationship with a campaign videographer — ended with an afternoon of confusion. The jury first returned to the courtroom with a decision, prompting reporters to spill out of the courthouse and sending cable news networks into overdrive.

The jury foreman then informed the judge that the panel had reached a unanimous verdict on just one count. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ordered the eight men and four women back to the jury room to continue deliberations. Soon afterward, when they sent a note saying they were deadlocked, she declared a mistrial on the other five counts.

I’m not going to pretend I know enough about campaign finance law to make an informed opinion about the charges against Edwards. I do know there has been skepticism even among conservative legal experts I know or have read as to whether the DOJ’s case against Edwards was strong enough. Campaign finance law is very complex, which may have been one reason why the jurors couldn’t reach a consensus on all but one of the counts against him.

I do believe this, though: If the DOJ indeed decides not to try Edwards again, I’m fine with it – and I take second to no one in my disgust of Edwards, going back well before the affair rumors were first reported. The jurors may not have been able to decide on a verdict on five of six counts, but – as I mentioned on Twitter – the court of public opinion rightly says he’s guilty of being a lying sleezeball and that very well may be punishment enough to carry through life. Also, for all that he’s done, his family didn’t and doesn’t deserve what he’s put them through. So if the DOJ decides not to pursue another trial, more power to his family so they can begin to heal from wounds he caused.

I, for one, would not object.


Phineas Butts In: At the Gatestone Institute, attorney Alan Dershowitz has an interesting article about why the Edwards trial result was a good thing.

Narrative Fail: Bill Clinton channels @CoryBooker on Romney’s time at Bain Capital (UPDATED)


Another high profile Obama supporter didn’t get the anti-Bain memo (hat tip):

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton, a stalwart backer of President Barack Obama who’s already helped the incumbent Democrat raise funds for his re-election bid, said Thursday that Mitt Romney had a “sterling business career” as chief executive of Bain Capital.

That record, while qualifying him to be president, won’t necessarily help him win, Clinton said in an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.’

“I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work. This is good work,'” Clinton said of the private equity industry. Democrats have been hammering Romney for his role at Bain Capital for weeks, painting the GOP presidential candidate as a corporate raider. In justifying their attacks, Democrats point out Romney uses his Bain record as evidence of creating jobs.


Clinton said there was no question Romney was capable of performing the “essential functions of the office.”

“The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold,” Clinton said.

Unlike some fellow Democrats, Clinton acknowledged Romney’s time at Bain Capital formed a “good business career.” He also acknowledged that the nature of private equity meant some companies inevitably fail.

“There is a lot of controversy about that,” Clinton told guest host Harvey Weinstein, who has raised millions of dollars for Obama’s campaign. “But if you go in and you try to save a failing company, and you and I have friends here who invest in companies, you can invest in a company, run up the debt, loot it, sell all the assets, and force all the people to lose their retirement and fire them.”

The former president continued, “Or you can go into a company, have cutbacks, try to make it more productive with the purpose of saving it. And when you try, like anything else you try, you don’t always succeed.”

While Clinton is not the first Democrat to defend Bain amid political attacks, he is the highest profile. In May Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker said he didn’t want to “indict private equity,” saying attacks on Romney’s tenure didn’t take into account the successes the company had. And on Thursday, current Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called Bain “a perfectly fine company.”

LOL. The Romney camp needs to create an updated video that includes Clinton’s remarks as well as Booker’s, Harold Ford, Jr’s, and former Obama administration economic adviser Steven Rattner. Clinton’s comments are especially interesting because, as the CNN article pointed out, he is the highest profile of Obama’s supporters/surrogates to date who has come out and not played by the Obama campaign’s anti-Bain Capital script.

Not only that, but do you ever get the impression that Bill Clinton is only going through the motions in supporting Obama? Everytime I hear Clinton speak about Obama, it is always tinged with exactly the type of tone used in his interview on Piers Morgan – a tone that suggests Clinton is not enthused about the prospect of having to stump for O, almost like it’s an obligatory thing he’s done for payback for Obama picking Hillary Clinton to be SOS. You really can’t blame Bill Clinton for being a tepid supporter of Obama’s, considering the way the Clintons were treated by him during the 2008 presidential primaries, but at the same time Clinton is the consummate politico, able to hide his true feelings on any given issue or person in the blink of an eye. But he just can’t seem to get that down pat when it comes to President Obama.

In fact, it’s so bad that if I were an Obama adviser, I would advise against having Clinton speak on his behalf – at least when Obama is not with him (like on the campaign trail at speeches, fundraisers, etc). Then again, I’m a poljunkie and see things others may not. Clinton’s lukewarm “praise” of Obama and lack of attack dog slams of Obama’s opponents may not come across to people who don’t follow politics to the nth degree like some of us do. Not only that, but President Obama needs the gravitas of having a former President of Clinton’s stature and vast experience out front and center supporting him, because his own record of the last 3+ years is a stark reminder that the arguments anti-Obama people were making in 2007/8 about his lack of experience being a big issue were right on target in retrospect.

Hope WH spox Jay Carney is asked about Clintons’s remarks at today’s WH press briefing. :D

Update/Related – 12:12 PM: Per Jake Tapper, there will be no WH briefing today. :(

Also, via RCP: Rep. Steny Hoyer: Clinton Is Correct, Private Equity Is Important