Saturday, January 7, 2017

Leaking Back to Russia...Or the Appearance Thereof

I've been plumbing the Twitter feeds of people (like Mr. Dog Tags Hot Tub, here) who are tapped into America's intelligence Community ("IC") to try to glean some perspective on the Trump/Russia thing. And one oft-repeated thought is: it's got to be tough for intelligence officers to be briefing Trump (and/or his team) about their delicate, hard-won information sources and methods, when Trump's so phenomenally undisciplined and he (and especially his cohorts) has such uncertain ties with Russia.

These briefings are some of the scariest, most worrisome things these guys have ever had to do. I haven't heard anyone suggest the following, but I like to try to look ahead to the "next step" of things:

If Putin's goal is to build up Trump as an American strongman vulnerable to his manipulations, he won't touch any of these sources or block any of these methods, even if Trump (or, more likely, Flynn or Manafort) send him a full accounting (which, for the record, I think is unlikely).

But if Putin's goal is to sow maximal chaos in America's Democratic process and institutional confidence, his move would be to burn as many sources and methods as he's able to identify - even if nothing's leaked to him! - to ensure maximal division and uncertainty within American government. If a secret American mole or two (perhaps one previously identified but left in place for just such an eventuality) gets slaughtered, that'd certainly, as Larry the Cable Guy (who I assume voted Trump) would say, "get 'er done."

I suspect Putin would rather burn us down than further build an erratic Frankenstein who's influenceable for lord know how much longer. So, maybe not now, but in due time, I'd imagine he'll try to make CIA think Team Trump leaked - no doubt planting evidence with Democrats. This strikes me as the KGB way.

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