John Bolton Goes for the Big One – The CTBT

One of John Bolton’s objectives in becoming National Security Advisor is to destroy as many arms control treaties as possible. He convinced President George W. Bush to withdraw from the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. President Donald Trump has now withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Wrecking the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would be the trifecta.

Bolton is a subtle man, and he is willing to work a long strategy. Here is a long explanation. Read More

A Tale Of Two Red Lines

Let’s get this out of the way first: President Donald Trump didn’t actually say the words “red line.” In fact, he, his National Security Advisor, and his Secretary of State say so many different things that it can be hard to tell whether there are red lines, let alone where they are.

In August 2012, President Barack Obama explicitly laid down a red line to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria: Move chemical weapons around, and we will strike. A few days later, Assad brutally killed over a thousand people in Ghouta with sarin. Congress and allied nations were reluctant to back a military strike in response. But then Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered another response: Syria would join the Chemical Weapons Convention and give up its stock of chemical weapons and the means to make more. Read More

The Mueller Report – II. Russian “Active Measures” Social Media Campaign

(pp 14-35)

Much of this chapter is redacted under “Harm to Ongoing Matter,” (HOM) presumably referring to the court case against 13 employees of the Internet Research Agency (IRA). A few redactions are labeled “Personal Privacy” (PP) and “Investigative Technique,” (IT) and there seems no need to try to decipher them.

The unredacted part of the chapter is a story that has appeared in the news many times. I’ll outline it and provide a few juicy quotes. Read More

The Mueller Report – The Special Counsel’s Investigation

  1. The Special Counsel’s Investigation (pages 11-13)

This section lays the basis for and scope of the investigation. It first cites Rod Rosenstein’s Appointment Order. (The report uses more capitalization than I usually do. It is helpful in pointing to specific documents.) The subjects of investigation are:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

The last covers “federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.” It also covers similar crimes committed during the FBI’s investigation that was wrapped into the Special Counsel’s investigation. Read More