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Category Archives: Defense

The Gutted, ‘Unnerving’ State of the Agencies Supposed to Keep the U.S. Safe

Politico: “As the federal government girds against threatened riots in Washington this weekend and possible violence at the inauguration and state capitals across the country, it’s dealing with an unprecedented gap at the top: All of the nation’s top Cabinet departments overseeing the nation’s security are run by acting officials who have been in the job just weeks—or even hours. The acting Defense secretary has been on the job only since the week after the election; the head of the Justice Department just since Christmas; and the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security was the administrator of FEMA until midnight Tuesday morning. That means, with President Donald Trump increasingly disengaged from even the basic responsibilities of running the government, that the U.S. government is entering what many officials are calling the most dangerous time since 9/11 with a leadership vacuum unlike anything in modern U.S. history. Since 9/11 and the creation of DHS, in fact, the U.S. has never faced a presidential transition without a Senate-confirmed attorney general, DHS secretary, and Defense secretary all in place — let alone all three vacant at once. And below them, the vacancies, empty offices and acting officials only multiply, creating a dangerous vacuum in the nation’s security and intelligence apparatus that seems to be getting worse by the day. Since last Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol, nearly a dozen national security and intelligence personnel have departed in protest of the president’s actions inciting the mob. But the problem is just compounding a longstanding one: Throughout his presidency, Trump has relied on “actings” to an unequaled degree and to fill jobs for far longer than Congress intended — sometimes years. The practice has left his agencies severely undermanned and, often, staffed by people who are seriously underqualified for the positions they occupy.

We’re so far down the chain of people who wouldn’t normally be elevated to these positions, it brings greater questions about whether they’re being competently led at such a serious security situation,” said Carrie Cordero, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security who has carefully tracked the years of Trump administration personnel vacancies. “As a former counterterrorism person, I worked on al-Qaeda in the early 2000s, and this security situation feels as tense to me as it did during certain periods then when the U.S. government was mobilizing to prevent an event. It’s unnerving.”…

The Capitol Rioters Weren’t ‘Low Class’

The Atlantic – The business owners, real-estate brokers, and service members who rioted acted not out of economic desperation, but out of their belief in their inviolable right to rule: “They were business owners, CEOs, state legislators, police officers, active and retired service members, real-estate brokers [one of whom arrived in DC via private jet],… Continue Reading

The Capitol Riot: Documents You Should Read (Part 1)

“The Pentagon’s timeline of its response to the January 6, 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol features multiple discrepancies with the public record, while the first federal indictment of mob participants details the specific legal charges that likely will be brought against others, according to the documents in the National Security Archive’s first “January… Continue Reading

Domestic Terrorism and the Attack on the U.S. Capitol

CRS Insight via LC – Domestic Terrorism and the Attack on the U.S. Capitol, January 13, 2021: “On January 6, 2021, a large group of individuals breached the U.S. Capitol security while Congress was in session. Members were voting on whether or not to certify President-Elect Joe Biden’s election victory, and many participants in the… Continue Reading

Impeachable Speech

Katherine Shaw, Impeachable Speech, 70 Emory L. J.1 (2020). Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol70/iss1 “Rhetoric is both an important source of presidential power and a key tool of presidential governance. For at least a century, the bully pulpit has amplified presidential power and authority, with significant consequences for the separation of powers and the constitutional order more… Continue Reading

Compiling the Criminal Charges Following the Capitol Riot

LawFare: “On Jan. 6, a violent mob entered the United States Capitol Building during the congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, forcing lawmakers and congressional staff to flee to safe locations. The rioters arrived at the Capitol Building following a rally on the National Mall where speakers and demonstrated urged Congress to not certify… Continue Reading

Questions to Guide an Investigation of the Capitol Attack

Just Security: “The invasion of the United States Capitol was an entirely predictable event, which makes the wholesale security collapse all the more unconscionable. Threats on social media grew more frequent and specific after President Donald Trump called on his supporters to gather in Washington, D.C., and push Congress to overturn the election results. Somehow… Continue Reading

House introduces article of impeachment against President for ‘Incitement of Insurrection’

“U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump this morning. The impeachment resolution is sponsored by Cicilline, with Lieu and Raskin serving as the two lead co-sponsors. It is also co-sponsored by another 211 members of the U.S. House. The article… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 10, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 10, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

Mayor Bowser’s Letter to DHS Acting Sec Chad Wolf Regarding Inauguration Preparations

Sunday, January 10, 2021 (WASHINGTON, DC) – “Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released her letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf regarding inauguration preparations. The full letter is below. Dear Acting Secretary Wolf: Following the unprecedented terrorist attack on the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, and the continued threat… Continue Reading

Masked and armed rioters who were inside the Capitol intent on violence

Slate – They Were Out for Blood – “The men who carried zip ties as they stormed the Capitol weren’t clowning around. “…But there were other rioters inside the Capitol, if you look at the images. And once you see them, it’s impossible to look away. The zip-tie guys. Call the zip ties by their… Continue Reading