Sunday, December 11, 2022

Last Call For The New McCarthyism, Con't

Putative incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he will subpoena dozens of FBI, CIA, NSA and other intelligence officials under oath before the House Intelligence Committee for the "possibly criminal act" of signing a letter in 2020 calling the NY Post Hunter Biden laptop story disinformation. The NY Post's Mark Moore can barely contain his glee at the prospect that they will get revenge.

House Minority Leader ​Kevin McCarthy has ​vowed to subpoena 51 former intelligence officials who called The Post’s Hunter Biden expose Russian disinformation in the wake of the “Twitter Files” revelations about how the social media colossus censored the reporting. ​

The California Republican — who is expected to become speaker when the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives in January — said what Twitter did with The Post’s bombshell October 2020 report was “egregious.”

“Those 51 intel agents that signed a letter that said the Hunter Biden information was all wrong, was Russia collusion, many of them have a security clearance,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ “One Nation” on Saturday.

“We’re going to bring them before a committee. I’m going to have them have a hearing​,​ bring them and subpoena them before a committee. Why did they sign it? Why did they lie to the American public?” he said.

Former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-National Security Council Director James Clapper were among a group of former intelligence officials who signed a statement days after the expose, claiming it “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” 

McCarthy questioned the move. “Why did you use the reputation that America was able to give to you … but use it for a political purpose and lie to the American public?” he said on Fox.  

McCarthy and his nutjob House GOP caucus don't actually care about any of the real problems facing the American public right now, they just want to promise their audience buckets of blood and the fantasy that "Democrat" officials will be marched off to jail.

Now, you can definitely argue that plenty of folks on the left sold that "fantasy" to us about Trump and his inner circle in orange jumpsuits, but the difference is the latter actually should happen because they actually broke laws, and God willing, it'll come to pass.

Warren Terrah: Old School Edition

It took most of my lifetime, but the US finally has the Libyan bombmaker responsible for building the explosive device that downed Pam Am Flight 103.

A Libyan intelligence official accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 in an international act of terrorism has been taken into U.S. custody and will face federal charges in Washington, the Justice Department said Sunday.

The arrest of Abu Agela Masud Kheir Al-Marimi is a significant milestone in the decades-old investigation into the attack that killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground. American authorities in December 2020 announced charges against Masud, who was in Libyan custody at the time. Though he is the third Libyan intelligence official charged in the U.S. in connection with the attack, he would be the first to appear in an American courtroom for prosecution.

The New York-bound Pan Am flight exploded over Lockerbie less than an hour after takeoff from London on Dec. 21, 1988. Citizens from 21 different countries were killed. Among the 190 Americans on board were 35 Syracuse University students flying home for Christmas after a semester abroad.

The bombing laid bare the threat of international terrorism more than a decade before the Sept. 11 attacks. It produced global investigations and punishing sanctions while spurring demands for accountability from victims of those killed.

The announcement of charges against Masud on Dec. 21, 2020, came on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing and in the final days of the tenure of then-Attorney General William Barr, who in his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990s had announced criminal charges against two other Libyans intelligence officials.

The Libyan government initially balked at turning over the two men, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, before ultimately surrendering them for prosecution before a panel of Scottish judges sitting in the Netherlands as part of a special arrangement.

The Justice Department said Masud would appear soon in a federal court in Washington, where he faces two criminal counts related to the explosion.

U.S. officials did not say how Masud came to be taken into U.S. custody, but in late November, local Libyan media reported that Masud had been kidnapped by armed men on Nov. 16 from his residence in Tripoli, the capital. That reporting cited a family statement that accused Tripoli authorities of being silent on the abduction.

In November 2021, Najla Mangoush, the foreign minister for the country’s Tripoli-based government, told the BBC in an interview that “we, as a government, are very open in terms of collaboration in this matter,” when asked whether an extradition was possible.
Biden administration played hardball and got their man. Let's hope Al-Marimi isn't the last. 

As a personal aside, I was in middle school when the Lockerbie bombing happened. Poppy Bush had easily won the 1988 contest and Reagan was too annoyed because it was interrupting his last Christmas as President, ironically asking reporters if shutting down all air traffic would have been the right thing to do.

They didn't get the bastards.  Joe Biden did, almost 35 years later.

Remember that.

Sunday Long Read: Spies Like Her

In this week's Sunday Long Read, Helen Warrell at the Financial Times gets the Brits to discuss the biggest unkept secret in espionage: Women make the best spies, because men have all the important information and are dumbasses.
My journey to the school for spies starts in the half-light of a waking city. I do not know where I am going and have only been instructed to meet my contact at a central London landmark. 
We travel by car, boat and train to a place where officers of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, the overseas espionage agency known as SIS, learn their craft. I am not allowed to describe it to you, but I can tell you this: it is giant and austere and the slicing wind makes my eyes water. 
At the door, I am met by a small, cheerful woman with short, wavy blonde hair whose beaming welcome is at odds with the sterile eeriness of this place. Kathy, who is in charge of all intelligence operations by SIS officers and their agents around the world, ushers me over to a bank of armchairs next to a large window overlooking a paved landscape. 
She jokes that when she was first offered a job at the agency, also known as MI6, her mother questioned whether she wanted to commit herself to something so “wacky and unfamiliar”. “My dad just said, ‘Go for it.’” This self-effacing northerner says she is “not particularly brave”. But she is one of the most powerful spies in Britain. 
Kathy is one of four directors-general at SIS, each of whom reports to the chief, known as “C”. For the first time, three of them are women. They work in the most important and rapidly evolving areas of spycraft. Kathy is director of operations. Rebecca is the chief’s deputy, who oversees strategy. The most storied MI6 job of all belongs to Ada, who is the head of technology, known as “Q” after James Bond’s mastermind gadgeteer. I have spent six months interviewing them about how they reached the top in a traditionally male career and trying to understand what the life of a female spy is really like. 
Since the chief of MI6 is the only member of the agency who is named or permitted to speak in public, and because all of them have been men, this is the first time that female SIS officers have ever spoken on the record. I have agreed to change their names and omit certain details to protect them and the sources they work with. They agreed to speak to encourage women applicants and correct the perception of espionage as a man’s game.

The low profile of these three senior officers is in keeping with the history of women in British intelligence. In the past, women have been overlooked, relegated to secretarial roles or, before the SIS era, deployed as “honeytraps” to ensnare or blackmail enemies. When Vernon Kell co-founded MI6’s precursor in 1909, he identified as his ideal recruits men “who could make notes on their shirt cuff while riding on horseback”. His views on women were less well-known, but it is said that he once commented: “I like my girls to have good legs.” Despite having proved themselves with significant skill and bravery during the second world war, women in MI6 and its sister agency MI5 struggled to progress and were not regularly recruited as intelligence officers until the late 1970s.
This misogyny was repeated and exaggerated in popular novels written by former spies such as Ian Fleming and John le CarrĂ©. The fictional MI6 officer James Bond gropes his secretary, spices his operations with extravagant liaisons and encounters few female spies, the most famous being the dowdy Russian counter-intelligence officer Rosa Klebb. Film versions of Fleming’s books made famous an entire genre of “Bond girls”, conquests rather than fully drawn human beings. Le CarrĂ©, best known for the cold war spy chronicles starring a gnomic intelligence officer, George Smiley, expresses a similarly two-dimensional view. His women are sirens who exert a potent sexual hold over male protagonists but have little to say for themselves. The one exception, “Moscow-gazer” Connie Sachs, is a caricature in the opposite direction — an eccentric with an encyclopedic memory who succumbs to alcoholism after being sidelined from the job at which she excels. 
Sexist depictions are hardly confined to spy films, but they matter more in a profession in which mystery is encouraged and reality is classified. The perceptions built up through cultural references are, like so many aspects of the Bond legacy, double-edged. The films have built SIS a legendary brand, but their portrayal of ad-hoc killings and solo operations is far from accurate. For MI6, the historical absence of women is both a serious omission and a secret weapon. The UK’s main adversaries today — China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — are repressive societies with few women in positions of power. For the female spy, this weakness in the enemy is exploitable. Precisely because they are so likely to be overlooked, women have the potential to be the best spies of all.
The countries of the world are more than happy to help spread the notion that spycraft is done by men, because the real work has been done by women for decades now, and will only continue to increase as more dumb, horny men get into positions of authoritarian power in strongman regimes all over the planet.

I'm good with that.
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