Category Archives: War Commentary

The FBI Briefing On The Congressional Shooter

is bizarre:

The FBI admits that Hodgkinson:

•vociferously raged against Republicans in online forums,
•had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,
•was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,
•had mapped out a trip to the DC area,
•took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up, three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,
•lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,
•legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”
•modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,
•rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,
asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,
ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting,
and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office.
•We know from other reporting that the list was of six Republican Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Mo Brooks, who was present at the practice.

So what does the FBI decide this information means? Well, the takeaway of the briefing was characterized well by the Associated Press headline about it: “FBI: Gunman who shot congressman had no target in mind.”

If they don’t want to call it terrorism because it was an attempted political assassination, then fine, but this is insane. If they want to continue to drain away the last vestiges of confidence in their competence, this is the way to do it.

[Update Friday morning]

Who does the FBI work for?

There’s no reason to beat around the bush here: what the FBI is claiming is mind-boggling when they claim the shooter had no target in mind. Consider the number of accidents of circumstance you would have to believe were going on here to not have the shooter doing what seems obvious from every piece of evidence we have: researching and planning for an attack on Republicans of some kind, particularly looking for an opportunity when security will be low and vulnerability will be high. This was an attack, not an “anger management” problem.

Step back, though, and think on the institutional conclusions here. Considering how ludicrous the FBI’s conclusions are as it relates to an attack on the third ranking member of the House of Representatives, you might reconsider whether to trust the FBI’s conclusions in other areas, as well. And this is how our faith in institutions is degraded: steadily, gradually, with incident after incident where men in suits stand in front of microphones and make claims we know are not the whole truth.

This is how you get more Trump. Despite the fact that Trump doesn’t seem inclined to do anything about it.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Related: Hey, Trump, how about firing Avner Shapiro? Your administration is full of people sabotaging your agenda. What are you going to do about it?

No, This Is Not Terrorism In England

It’s a protracted insurgency. It’s war, regardless of how much people want to deny it:

Britons trying to remain optimistic note that they survived and eventually defeated Irish nationalist terrorism not all that long ago. But this is a flawed analogy. In the first place, at any given time during the Troubles, the number of active Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists seldom exceeded a hundred. Moreover, the PIRA was a “normal” terrorist group with rational political motives, not a religiously-motivated death cult, and it generally eschewed killing civilians for its own sake. Indeed, atrocities like the 1987 Enniskillen attack, which murdered 10 innocents, proved a black mark for the group, even among staunch republicans. Therefore, comparing the PIRA to ISIS and its murderous Western wannabes isn’t much help to practical counterterrorism.

That said, if Britain doesn’t soon devise tough countermeasures to its vast domestic jihadism problem, many of its cities may come to resemble Northern Ireland a generation ago, with armed soldiers in battle gear patrolling the streets as “aid to civil power” while enforcing frequent security checks on average citizens with the aim of stopping terrorists.

In their historically recent unwillingness to allow Britons to defend themselves (appalling, considering that we inherited our notions about the Second Amendment from ancient English Common Law), the contradictions of their multi-culturalism will become untenable.

[Update a few minutes later]

Counterterrorism lessons from America’s Civil War:

Destroying ISIS, al-Qaeda and other Muslim terror groups is not particularly difficult, far less difficult than Sherman or Sheridan’s task during the Civil War. It simply requires doing some disgusting things. Western intelligence doesn’t have to infiltrate terror groups, tap phones, mine social media postings and so forth (although these doubtless are worth doing). Muslim communities in the West will inform on the terrorists. They will tell police when someone has packed up and gone to Syria, and when he has returned. They will tell police who is talking about killing westerners, who has a suspicious amount of cash, who is listening to broadcasts from Salafist preachers.

They will tell western security services everything they need to know, provided that western security services ask in the right way. I mean in Phil Sheridan’s way. Like the victorious Union generals of the Civil War, the West does not have to be particularly clever. It simply needs to understand what kind of war is is fighting.

Yes, ultimately, the only way to victory is to make them fear us. As Mark Steyn has said, the question is not “Why do they hate us,” but “Why do they despise us”? It is because they have no respect for us, and given the behavior of the “elites,” it’s hard to blame them.

[Early-afternoon update]

In the face of terror, Londoners told to “Run, Hide, Tell.”

Contrast this with the London of eight decades ago.

Midway

Hard to believe it’s been three quarters of a century since the battle. And that it was only two years later that we invaded Normandy. When I was a kid, hearing my parents talk about it, I always thought of WW II as being a long war, but America was only in it for three and a half years. Of course, when I was a kid, three and a half years seemed like a long time.

[Monday-morning update]

Why Japan lost the battle.

[Bumped]

Mithril

OK, not exactly, but this seems like quite a breakthrough:

Weir and Ryan’s excitement was tempered by the range safety officer who pulled his .44 Magnum and told them bluntly, “This will fail.”

Ryan says, “We loaded it in and it stopped it. And it stopped it a second time, and then a third time.”

They realized they had hit on something special, that could potentially lighten the average 26-pound body armor kit worn by servicemen in the field by as much as two thirds.

“This is something that our competition doesn’t have right now,” Weir explained. “And with this advantage our soldiers, if they wear this body armor, will be able to move faster, run farther, jump higher.”

Body armor for the military and first responders may not be the only thing that can be improved by the new fabric. It could possibly be used to reduce or replace the thick metal plates that protect military aircraft, tanks and other vehicles.

Seems like it might be useful in spacecraft as well. Good for her.

The House Subpoenas For Brennan, Power, And Rice

What do they mean?

As I have previously explained, the CIA, NSA, and FBI are the investigative components of the 17-component “community” of intelligence agencies. It is those three agencies that collect raw intelligence and that make decisions about what identities should be unmasked. Those decisions are reflected in the content of the polished intelligence reports that are generated from the raw intelligence.

Under the rules that apply to foreign-intelligence-collection, there is a presumption against revealing the names of American citizens. But there are significant loopholes: The names may be unmasked if intelligence officials determine that knowing the identity of an American is necessary in order to understand and exploit the intelligence value of the information collected.

Thus, as I’ve also outlined, it is unlikely that any single instance of unmasking would be found to be a violation of law — and, indeed, it would not violate any penal statute (it would violate court-ordered “minimization” procedures). Nevertheless, were a pattern of unmasking established, divorced from any proper foreign-intelligence purpose, that would be a profound abuse of power in the nature of a “high crime and misdemeanor” — the Constitution’s predicate for impeachment.

Which is a moot point, since they’re now out of office. But as I’ve often said, the Obama administration boldly got away with things that Nixon could only dream of.

[Update a while later]

Mark Levin to Congress: Investigate Obama’s “silent coup” against Trump.

And more thoughts from the Journal‘s editors:

Ms. Power’s job was diplomacy. Unmaskings are supposed to be rare, and if the mere ambassador to the U.N. could demand them, what privacy protection was the Obama White House really offering U.S. citizens? The House subpoenas should provide fascinating details about how often Ms. Power and her mates requested unmaskings, on which Trump officials, and with what justification. The public deserves to know given that unmasked details have been leaked to the press in violation of the law and privacy.

Meantime, we learned from Circa News last week of a declassified document from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which excoriated the National Security Agency for an “institutional lack of candor.” The court explained that Obama officials had often violated U.S. privacy protections while looking at foreign intelligence but did not disclose these incidents until the waning days of Mr. Obama’s tenure.

So they spied, and lied.

[Late-morning update]

Andrew McCarthy is on fire today: The real collusion:

There is abundant cause for concern that the Obama administration tore down the wall between the missions of law-enforcement and foreign-intelligence, on one side, and partisan politics, on the other. The White House and its politicized security services wanted Hillary Clinton to become president, and they do not want to let Donald Trump be president.

There’s a collusion story here, but it’s got nothing to do with Russia.

Can we expand Mueller’s charter to look into that?