The Morning Jolt

Michael Flynn: Iranian Spies Are Up to No Good in New York City

As mentioned yesterday, one of Donald Trump’s potential running mates is retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and author of the new book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies. NRO contributor Michael Ledeen is his co-author.

From p. 88:

Nor does Iran need atomic bombs to gravely threaten American security. Every day we see evidence of Iranian espionage in the United States – to take the most recent example, a man named Mohammed Alavi was arrested for providing Iran with the floor plan of America’s largest nuclear power plant – and numerous Iranian “diplomats” at the United Nations have been thrown out of New York City for taking photographs of train and subway stations.

From the New York Daily News in 2012:

Cops have caught “hostile” Iranian snoops shooting pictures and video at key city sites at least six times since 9/11 — twice the number previously reported.

NYPD intelligence boss Mitchell Silber disclosed the cases Wednesday to the House Homeland Security Committee, which is looking at the growing threat posed by a cornered Iran and its proxies in the U.S. — chief among them Hezbollah.

“We believe this is neither an idle nor a new threat,” Silber told the panel, calling them incidents “we struggle to categorize as anything other than hostile reconnaissance of New York City.”

In May of 2005 six men on an East River sightseeing cruise raised the crew’s suspicion when they paired off with maps and cell phones, talking on them “in an unusual manner” while they shot video and photographed landmarks including the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Tipped off, the NYPD determined all of the men were on the Iranian government payroll, one of them at the rogue nation’s mission to the United Nations.

Ah, Iran, our partners in peace! Didn’t hear much about that in the national news, did you?

Flynn continues:

It is hard to imagine that there are no Hezbollah terrorist groups inside this country. If they could blow up buildings in Buenos Aires, they can surely do the same here, and they have bragged that they have studied our weak points carefully, and are ready to attack when circumstances are more favorable.

The on pages 104 and 105:

At minimum, the ability for al-Qaeda terrorists to transit Iran was very useful.

The public would know a lot more about this complex relationship if the Obama administration would permit the publication of the (more than a million) documents seized by operatives of the Sensitive Site Exploitation team at bin Laden’s compound immediately following his death. That very important body of information constitutes what a senior U.S. military official calls “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

Disappointingly, only a couple dozen of those documents have been made public, and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s numerous summaries and analyses of the files remain classified. But even the public peek gives us considerable insight into the capabilities of this very dangerous global organization. One letter to bin Laden reveals that al Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran. Another document mentions negotiations with the government of Pakistan. Others provide details of operations under way in Africa, and still others speak of preparations for Mumbai-style attacks in European cities.

This morning, much of the buzz is about Trump picking Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Picking Flynn could turn the election into a referendum on the Obama administration’s approach to fighting terrorism – terms of debate that are likely to be more favorable to Trump and Republican hopes than many other options.

Cuccinelli: We’re Seeing the Law Misused to Torment Political Opponents

I had a chance to catch up with former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who earlier this year was among those speculating that FBI Director James Comey would resign if he felt the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server was politicized.

As you might expect, Cuccinelli is deeply disappointed in Comey’s decision to denounce Clinton as “extremely careless” but not prosecute for failing to protect classified information. The former prosecutor calls the FBI decision “pretty difficult to defend.”

“Comey had a reputation for making the right call,” Cuccinelli said. “My faith for the system is taken a notch lower. It eats away at Jim Comey.”

“I think the best analogy was the cracking of John Roberts on Obamacare,” Cuccinelli said, pointing to the chief justice’s surprising and some would argue convoluted decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. “He just crumbled in the Obamacare decisions like a dry cookie. He was torn between all sorts of things, and Roberts thought himself to death. He wanted to be popular at Georgetown cocktail parties. He decided his priority was reputation of the court, and by making his decision based on that, his pretzel analysis reduced the reputation of the court in the eyes of the public.”

Cuccinelli sees Clinton’s escape from legal consequences as part of a troubling pattern where prosecutors and law enforcement have allowed themselves to become extensions of the Democratic party machine.

“If he were a Democrat, the Bob McDonnell prosecution never would have happened,” Cuccinelli said, referring to the bribery conviction of the governor he served under. Last month, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of McDonnell, concluding prosecutors had used a too broad definition of bribery. Under the ruling, prosecutors could choose to re-try McDonnell, but under a stricter standard.

“Look at the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin. We’re seeing the misuse of the law to torment political opponents,” Cuccinelli concludes.

After the False Hope, Disappointment and Anger Follow

A couple people are interpreting this piece as blaming President Obama for America’s bad race relations, but that’s not quite the point. It’s not that Obama wants things to get worse; it’s that he promised something he could never deliver, because it was something no president could deliver. The daily life of Americans doesn’t get better because of the actions of individual political messiahs; it gets better because of a million seemingly small decisions by ordinary people that ripple and reverberate throughout our society. No presidential executive order can get the young, troubled African-American teenager to see himself as a unique creation of God capable of great things in this world; only the Burkean platoon can do that.

The point is that in that long ago era of mass hysteria of the final Bush years, many Americans believed they were electing a racial healer who would make enormous progress in resolving the problems in African-American communities.

Obama wasn’t shy about his belief that he could unite the country in a way others couldn’t. From a February 2007 interview:

Because of my background and circumstances I have the potential at least of bringing people together who might feel suspicious towards each other. I am not sure that is just racial, by the way. It’s been noted that I come from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, but throughout my career, I have always had extraordinarily good relations with very conservative colleagues. And that’s not because I agree with any of them or fudge on my positions, but people feel I listen to them and give them the benefit of the doubt. I assume the best of people. And that, I think, is an attitude that is maybe rare in politics these days. (He smiles.)

Obama offers conservatives the benefit of the doubt, huh? A few months into office, Obama was going onto The Tonight Show to denounce the unspecified people in Washington who contend the country should “ignore” its problems; last year he said Congressional Republicans made common cause with the Iranian mullahs.

When Obama won the Democratic nomination, then-reprepresentative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D., Ill.), declared, “What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history . . . The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.” (This was before the congressman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for spending $750,000 from his campaign on personal items.)

A children’s book by the author Nikki Grimes entitled, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope declared, “Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.”

The national mood is so angry and despairing because the solution that so many really believed in — electing Obama — didn’t work.

Fast forward to today, and that brief moment of unity seems a distant memory. The long, hot summer of Black Lives Matter drags on, each day bringing fresh news of unrest to feed a ceaseless cycle of outrage and recrimination. In Minnesota, highways are being shut down and protesters are dropping concrete onto police. In Dallas, a deranged gunman, motivated by racial animus, just targeted and killed five police officers, inspiring copycat ambushes of police in other states. Only 29 percent of African Americans say they have confidence in the police, according to Gallup; the percentage of Americans of all races who say they are worried about race relations is higher than ever before.

But the problems of African Americans were never really driven by insufficient presidential caring or attention. Their problems were bigger, systemic, influenced by millions of daily decisions of individuals adding up to a collective whole.

The clock is ticking down, and the circumstances of African Americans in particular aren’t that much better than they were in 2008.

Poverty, lack of jobs and opportunities, crime, drugs, failing schools: These problems have persisted for generations in America’s communities, both urban and rural. But until January 20, 2009, the United States had never had an African-American president — and for African Americans, it was impossible not to feel hopeful for the future Obama appeared to herald. But if Jarrett is right that change “has to happen, family by family,” then real improvement in these stubbornly intractable, generational problems is still a long way off. And in this angry summer, the national deliverance that seemed just around the corner eight years ago feels as far away as ever.

ADDENDA: On Twitter, IrishSpy concurs with my tongue-in-cheek suggestion for a Donald Trump-Kanye West ticket, declaring would be “comedy gold.”

Now, I ain’t saying he’s a gold-digger . . .

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