February 6th, 2018

The Big Effing Deal versus the Nothingburger

I want to clear one thing up.

The anti-Trump forces tried to sell the idea that release of the Nunes memo would be terribly dangerous because it would compromise sources, methods, and security, and release classified information. That was originally an assertion of the FBI, which sought to block the memo’s release. The assertion that releasing the memo would constitute a dangerous compromise of security was picked up by the Democrats and the MSM and proclaimed with great vigor.

That was the “Big Effing Deal” part.

Then after the memo was released anyway, the argument become “nothing to see here, no big deal.”

That was the “Nothingburger” part.

I’ve read a great many statements from people on the right (including commenters around the web) that these two statements contradict each other. That sounds correct on the face of it, but it’s not. There’s actually no contradiction.

I say that despite the fact that I completely disagree with the two characterizations. That is, I think they should be switched and that it was the FBI’s actions as described in the memo that appear to be a Big Effing Deal and the brouhaha over the supposedly classified nature of the information in the memo that proved to be the Nothingburger.

The reason I say there’s no contradiction in the two characterizations by the forces opposing the memo and its release, however, is that they concern two different aspects of the memo. In other words, information can be feared as too dangerous to release for some reason while at the same time being too unimportant to justify the danger inherent in that release.

However, as I’ve tried to make clear, I think the situation with the memo is actually the reverse of that: its release involved virtually no classified information and in that way represented no threat at all, whereas its content was very important indeed (or should be, to thinking people who love liberty). Therefore the decision to release it ought to have been a no-brainer. The anti-release forces, however, were arguing that its release was highly risky for security reasons while at the same time of such an unimportant nature that its suppression should have been a no-brainer.

Of course, perhaps all the FBI really meant when it said the Nunes memo would be so damaging to national security was that it would damage the reputation of the FBI. But (as I wrote here), that argument has it backwards. It was the actions of the FBI as revealed in the memo that had the potential to damage the FBI’s reputation. But the FBI seems to think that what the American public doesn’t know won’t hurt them. That’s the sort of thing people mean when they talk about the dangers of the Deep State.

And that’s a Big Effing Deal, not a Nothingburger.

[ADDENDUM: More here.]

20 Responses to “The Big Effing Deal versus the Nothingburger”

  1. Dobbins Says:

    Spot on !

    Who watches the watchers ? Well, according to the FBI, no-one has the authority or the right, to watch the watchers.

    And if you try to watch the “watchers”, you’ll be punished to the point of destruction.

  2. Ray Says:

    My impression is that the FBI would like to be an independent government agency that doesn’t have to report to anybody, like the consumer financial protection bureau.

  3. Edwhy Says:

    Being a criminal conspiracy, the Dems have no Howard Baker, nor any Senator who regrets the degeneracy of the Republic.

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    Well, the argument is morphing at warp speed. I now hear that the release did damage national security because it lowered the public’s trust of the FBI. Now people will be less likely to tell things to the FBI. Who knew? Of course anyone with any sense was careful about talking to the FBI anyway, because what the Bureau has proven most adept at is trapping people in process crimes.

  5. Liz Says:

    There is some talk in the twitter world that the Dem response contains some real classified materials relating to sources and methods and the intent is to make Trump subject the memo to some editing. I wonder how people will react to that situation, if it proves to be correct.

    I wanted to start writing out a timeline of the memo since a first draft of a time line helped me realize the impact of who knew what when, etc. It turns out that someone has already started one, with additional points added in.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasdelbeccaro/2018/02/05/biased-fbi-and-doj-officials-broke-the-law-and-tried-to-decide-the-election-an-annotated-timeline/#37df5eb97f34

  6. Mike K Says:

    the Dem response contains some real classified materials relating to sources and methods and the intent is to make Trump subject the memo to some editing.

    I have heard the same thing and the pencil necked geek was just on TV pontificating about redactions.

  7. The Other Gary Says:

    The anti-Trump forces tried to sell the idea that release of the Nunes memo would be terribly dangerous because it would compromise sources, methods, and security, and release classified information.

    Just consider this fact by itself for a moment (before delving into the possible contradiction of these same people later describing the memo as a “Nothingburger”). A lot of people were saying this in a last-ditch attempt to halt the release of the memo — including powerful politicans and government officials.

    And now that we’ve seen the actual memo, we know for a fact that ALL these important and powerful people were lying through their teeth.

    Let that sink in. IMHO it’s important to brand these people with a big “L” to mark them as shameless LIARS before moving on to other discussion.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Gary:

    I absolutely agree that they were lying through their teeth about the memo’s content.

    However, it occurs to me that the danger they saw was to their own reputations and clandestine political operations against the Trump administration and the right, and they consider that a higher calling than the truth.

  9. CapnRusty Says:

    A lot of information has come out these past few days. Many suspicions have been confirmed. Many people have been caught in their lies.

    The pressure on the obviously guilty parties, and on the yet-unknown guilty parties, must be getting unbearable, . . . but no one cracks and spills the beans. Which leads me to believe that they know something much bigger and much worse, and they must still conceal it.

    And my fear grows.

  10. The Other Gary Says:

    Neo wrote:
    However, it occurs to me that the danger they saw was to their own reputations and clandestine political operations against the Trump administration and the right, and they consider that a higher calling than the truth.

    Yes, which helps explain why they’re so glib and shameless in their lying. There’s no reluctance or guilt when the lie serves a purpose that vastly outweighs quaint, trifling notions like the obligation of public officials to perform their duties in a forthright, honest manner in accord with policies expressed by the voters.

    No. These people know what’s best for the country. And if they need to use devious methods to thwart the will of about half (or more) of the citizenry who obstinately continue to oppose The Grand Progressive Dream, then so be it.

  11. Yancey Ward Says:

    By the way, here is the title of the Michael Isikoff story that the Obama DoJ cited as independent corroboration of the Steele’s allegations about Page:

    US Officials (emphasis added by YW) Probe Ties Between Trump Advisor and Kremlin”

    Do you see the problem? How can this be considered independent corroboration if Isikoff has contacted someone in the Obama DoJ to confirm that the investigation was taking place? Indeed, Isikoff reconfirmed this weekend that he had done just that. The story even describes that the information came from a “western intelligence agent”, a description that fits Christopher Steele, so how low does your IQ have to be to not realize that either Steele or the person Isikoff got confirmation from was the source? I mean, this is almost a slam dunk conclusion, and yet it was used as corroboration anyway. This mind-boggling to me.

  12. blert Says:

    The FBI and CIA are the New Praetorians — you know — the crowd that selected Roman Emperors — and ruined the economy while doing it.

    It was the Praetorians that destroyed the Roman Empire.

    After the Emperor ‘paid them off’ there was nothing left for the larger society.

    The Praetorians retained their access to perks and largesse even after they left the ranks.

    They gifted themselves tax–free status — to boot.

    After all, they were running the show.

    Think of the Praetorians as the Shallow State.

    Not exactly a bunch of deep thinkers in the bunch.

    DC has totally replicated that dynamic.

    I give you Mrs. McCabe.

    The $700,000 candidate.

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Post 2018, as I called it, the age of conspiracies. Looks like a lot of people have joined the conspiracy theory crowd, although that is perhaps not what they are ready to accept yet.

  14. Tuvea Says:

    J. Edgar effectively show-boated the FBI reputation in their stated mission of fighting organized crime in the 30’s. Then in the early 40’s it was the real Nazi’s. From the late 40’s until 2001 it was fighting the Russki’s.

    Since then it has been fighting terrorism.

    Who knew that their REAL ENEMY was non-elitist Americans?

  15. Barry Meislin Says:

    “How can this be considered independent corroboration if Isikoff has contacted someone in the Obama DoJ to confirm that the investigation was taking place?”

    Lee Smith notes that this is merely another successful—well, it would have been successful—iteration of the Ben Rhodes “echo chamber” method of recruiting the “no-nothing” MSM to incessantly disseminate the narrative to the “stupid” (cf. J. Gruber) citizenry.

    Extraordinarily touching how the MSM just leapt (and continues to leap) at the chance to be of service to Obama and his gang of thugs….

  16. Barry Meislin Says:

    Should be “know-nothing”….

  17. AesopFan Says:

    Neo’s link to Ace is a great rant, but follow along to his next couple of posts to get even more nuggets of information, especially about the Dem’s strategy for their memo (follow the link at Ace for details; it’s truly worthy of John le Carre, as was remarked yesterday).

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/373735.php

    “Of Course: Adam Schiff and the Democrats Lard Up Their Rebuttal Memo with “Sources and Methods” Information, In Order to Force Trump to Redact It Or Deny Its Release, So They Can Claim “See?! He’s Afraid of All Our Evidence”
    Notice, however, the dogs that aren’t barking: While the intel agencies and FBI screamed about “sources and methods” information in the Nunes memo that was never there, they’re being quiet about Adam Schiff stocking this #FakeNews memo full of stuff he knows has to be redacted.

    All of a sudden they’re quiet about “sources and methods,” because they’re in on the con.”
    * * *
    and the real beauty of it all; the media-agency complex has supplanted the military-industrial one as a danger to the Republic.

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/373722.php

    “On Friday, a former FBI agent wrote an eye-catching opinion piece in the New York Times, claiming that he had retired from the Bureau because it had received unfair “political attacks” from Republicans in Congress.

    Other than its entirely disingenuous premise (alleging Republicans are attacking the FBI as a whole, rather than investigating alleged misdeads [sic, but I kinda like it] under leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe), the piece leaves out important information.

    Nowhere in the opinion article does Campbell reveal the fact that he was James Come’’s special assistant.
    Campbell presents himself as someone who is unattached to the current political situation, leaving out the fact that he has a huge vested interest in defending Comey. [apparently, he’s already “redacted” his media profiles to eliminate that information]

    But it gets worse. Following the op-ed, John Cardillo, a host for The Rebel and former law enforcement officer, claimed that Campbell also left out the fact that he had already accepted an offer to become a CNN analyst.”

  18. AesopFan Says:

    Tuvea Says:
    February 7th, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Who knew that their REAL ENEMY was non-elitist Americans?
    * * *
    neo-neocon Says:
    February 6th, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    However, it occurs to me that the danger they saw was to their own reputations and clandestine political operations against the Trump administration and the right, and they consider that a higher calling than the truth.
    * * *
    Hoover’s enemy had always been anyone, American or not, elite or not, who opposed his agenda.
    That is apparently a legacy which endured.

  19. AesopFan Says:

    Ray Says:
    February 6th, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    My impression is that the FBI would like to be an independent government agency that doesn’t have to report to anybody, like the consumer financial protection bureau.
    * * *
    That swamp is draining even as we speak..
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4357880-Mulvaney-Memo.html

    From: Mulvaney, Mick (CFPB)
    Date: January 23, 2018 at 12:59:57 PM CST
    To: _DL_CFPB_AllHands
    Subject: To Everybody from the Acting Director
    When I arrived at CFPB, I told folks that despite what they might have heard, I had no intention of
    shutting down the Bureau. Indeed, the law doesn’t allow that, and as members of the Executive Branch
    we are charged with faithfully executing the laws. So let’s be clear: the law mandates that we enforce
    consumer protection laws, and we will continue to do exactly that under my watch.
    At the same time, I also explained that things would be different under new leadership. I owe it to you
    to let you know more about what that means,
    but I was struggling with the way to best articulate
    exactly how things would be different. Then I read a story about my predecessor which highlighted how
    he ran the Bureau:
    “We wanted to send a message: There’s a new cop on the beat… Pushing the envelope is a
    loaded phrase, but that’s absolutely what we did.”
    [Richard Cordray, Politico Magazine, Dec. 3]

    I’ve seen similar language elsewhere as well. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that the previous governing
    philosophy here was to aggressively “push the envelope” in pursuit of the “mission;” that we were the
    “good guys” and the “new sheriff in town,” out to fight the “bad guys.”
    Simply put: that is what is going to be different. In fact, that entire governing philosophy of pushing the
    envelope frightens me a little. I would hope it would bother you as well.

    We are government employees. We don’t just work for the government, we work for the people. And
    that means everyone: those who use credit cards, and those who provide those cards; those who take
    loans, and those who make them; those who buy cars, and those who sell them. All of those people
    are part of what makes this country great. And all of them deserve to be treated fairly by their
    government.
    There is a reason that Lady Justice wears a blindfold and carries a balance, along with her
    sword.
    It is not appropriate for any government entity to “push the envelope” when it comes into conflict with
    our citizens. The damage that we can do to people could linger for years and cost them their jobs, their
    savings, and their homes. If the CFPB loses a court case because we “pushed too hard,” we simply move
    on to the next matter. But where do those that we have charged go to get their time, their money, or
    their good names back? If a company closes its doors under the weight of a multi-year Civil Investigative
    Demand, you and I will still have jobs at CFPB. But what about the workers who are laid off as a
    result? Where do they go the next morning?
    Let me be clear: there will absolutely be times when circumstances dictate that we take dramatic action
    to protect consumers. And at those appropriate times, I expect us to be vigorous in our enforcement of
    the law. But bringing the full weight of the federal government down on the necks of the people we
    serve should be something that we do only reluctantly,
    and only when all other attempts at resolution
    have failed. It should be the most final of last resorts.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The DS is the real director of the stage, not the “acting direct” over there.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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