We have reached the point of uncertainty, and no one dares open the box.
I’ve been stewing on why the confrontation between the Intelligence Community and the Trump Administration seems to have stalled, and here’s what makes sense to me given the fact pattern, the law, the possible consequences of next moves, and the VERY effective media strategy of the Trump operation, which has defined EVERY confrontation in which he’s engaged for years:
The “I’m rubber; you’re glue” narrative.
Q: If the intelligence community is leaking confidential information that there was contact between Flynn, Carter, et al., and the Russians, why haven’t we seen the transcripts?
A: Because, perhaps, in violation of the law, the IC does not actually stop surveillance when they catch US citizens having shady contacts with foreign agents, and that exposes their asses in a radically dangerous way. Said otherwise, it is possible that they didn’t go to the FISA court to get a warrant to continue surveillance of a decorated military man or members of a Presidential campaign, perhaps instead, they just kept listening.
If so, then we’ve reached the Schroedinger Point in this particular spy game.
The evidence (the transcripts) exist and could be released by either party – the Administration or the Intelligence Community – but that would trigger an investigation of the Intelligence Community into how they came across the information and, if the speculation upon which this argument is based proves true, why they aren’t routinely “minimizing” their surveillance of US citizens.
To believe this, you have to accept that it is possible that the Intelligence Community is breaking the law. You would have to accept that the NSA or the CIA or others might, as they have certainly done before, be using their own shadows to engage in forthrightly illegal behavior.
It’s a truly grey ethical world. If they HAD minimized collection, if they had redacted – from jump – the names or identifiers of Flynn, et al., then the nation could not ever have the chance of knowing the President’s Men colluded with a foreign power. But if they show their hand, and it indicates they broke the law, then they WILL be hounded back into the corner for a few years (as happened after the Church Committee) and they wouldn’t want that.
If this proves out, then as it stands, Trump can claim, with rough accuracy, that there was surveillance of his campaign and paint it in the best light for him (that he’s the target of venal political attacks) and he can use the simplest language — “Wiretapped by Obama” — to target the message to his supporters.
On the other hand, the Intelligence Community can continue to leak whatever they have left shy of the transcripts themselves, in hopes that someone picks up on just how fucked the connections were between the Trump campaign and the Russians – but that’s it. It seems they are out of ammo, other than the nuclear weapons which, if they use, would blow up their game as well.
As such, if this is what’s actually happening inside Schroedinger’s Box, the only place the full documents will ever be read is in the Intelligence Committees of Congress – and the members of those committees will be legally bound from revealing classified information to the public. The result will be a win from the President’s perspective. He will have proffered two competing narratives. He will tars the other side with as much shit as he, himself, is wearing, thus arguing that his political enemies who claim he is corrupt are, themselves, compromised.
On the other hand, while the Intelligence Community, and the rest of us, will be saddled with Trump for another several years, they will not face pushback against their methods and practices. We, the nation, will continue to wonder, until our minds are inevitably turned elsewhere, what the hell really happened.
It’s brilliant, really.
The X-Factor here is if someone in the IC goes rogue and actually releases the transcripts, then Trump goes down and the IC get’s an angry Republican Congress up its backside for the next few years. One can only hope that will be the case.
Where, oh where, are the Carrie Mathisons of yesteryear?