Our CIA Chief is a clown, too

February 11, 2011

I wonder if he and Clapper bring rubber chickens and squirting flowers to meetings? After seeing this reassuring bit of news last night, I wouldn’t be surprised:

CIA Director Leon Panetta caused confusion when he suggested Egypt’s president was poised to step down, reinforcing questions about the spy agency’s ability to track unrest in the region.

Amid furious speculation that Hosni Mubarak was preparing to announce his exit in the face of mass protests — which later proved to be wrong — Panetta appeared to endorse the media reports before a congressional committee.

Asked about news accounts that Mubarak about to relinquish power, Panetta said: “I got the same information you did, that there’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening.”

But a US official later had to explain that Panetta was merely referring to media reports and not privileged information from inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

Emphasis added, after I was done banging my head on the desk.

So, let me get this straight: the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the guy in charge of the main electronic and human intelligence apparatus of the world’s mightiest power, one that costs us billions per year, in the midst of a crisis says he has no better source of information than CNN? Really, Leon??

Hey, can I have his job? I can turn on a TV, too, and I bet my analysis will be more accurate.

And think about this: We’ve been Egypt and Mubarak’s patron for 30 years. They returned the promise ring to the Soviets so they could go out with us. They’ve worked with us against Iran, Iraq under Hussein, and al Qaeda. Our military and theirs has a close patron-client relationship.

So what must’ve Mubarak and the government there thought when their patron’s top spy publicly kicks the legs out from under the Egyptian by saying he has information that Hosni will be out by that evening? “News to me?? Is this an order from Washington?” And then to find out that Panetta’s source is nothing more than TV talking heads… Well, I imagine he said something like that famous Strother Martin line from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid:

“Morons! I’ve got morons on my team!”

Morons. Clowns. Obama administration. There’s a difference?

PS: Just as I’m writing this, word comes that Mubarak is out in what looks like a military coup. As to what comes next… Maybe we should do like Panetta and just turn on the TV.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Arizona to Fed: “You sue me and I’ll sue you. Criss-cross”

February 11, 2011

Last year, the federal government filed suit against the state of Arizona to block enforcement of Arizona’s controversial* SB 1070 bill, that required Arizona law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law, since Washington apparently refused to do so itself.

Now Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has fired back, suing Washington for failing to protect Arizona from invasion:

Arizona Governor Janice Brewer, in a filing today in federal court in Phoenix, accuses the U.S. government of failing to maintain operational control of the state’s border with Mexico, failing to protect it from invasion and violence and failing to enforce federal immigration laws.

“The federal government has effectively conceded its inability to protect Arizona and its citizens from criminal activities associated with illegal aliens,” Brewer said in the filing. “Within the last year, the federal government placed warning signs in the desert 80 miles north of the border and only 30 miles south of Phoenix warning people to stay away from the area.”

I believe Brewer is  relying on Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Emphasis added.

Arizona has at least an arguable case, since the warning signs can be colored as refusal to defend a state’s territory and perhaps even a renunciation of sovereignty in those places. (Hey, if the government is telling citizens it cannot protect them on American soil, is it still American soil?)

On the other hand, an originalist interpretation of the relevant clause would probably** find that the Founders meant invasion by an army wielded by another sovereign power, and hence did not apply in this case. While the border problem is serious, the cartels are not sovereign powers (yet).

On the other-other hand, the 18th-century authors had experience of war on their frontiers with the Indian tribes — though they were treated as sovereign nations for legal purposes, so, forget that. Maybe a better originalist argument in favor of Arizona’s suit would be piracy, which colonies-turned-states had plenty of experience with. Surely the governors back then would have demanded federal help if pirates were raiding their coasts.

So, it’s a dicey proposition. Emotionally, I’m sick of the Fed not doing the things it is supposed to do, while refusing to do the jobs it’s charged with — such as border control. But, my gut feeling is that a judge will rule against the state. We’ll see.

*To open-border advocates, the ethnic grievance industry, and those they sucker

**In other words, I’m making a wild-arsed guess.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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