Thursday, August 30, 2018

Hmm... the WH OLC staff just left.

After news broke of Donald McGahn selling out Trump to OSC Mueller to save his own skin, apparently Ivanka and Jared went to Trump and griped about McGahn. Trump got mad and fired McGahn via Twitter. Not long after news broke that most of the OLC staff left the WH over the last month. There is like one dude remaining.

While the legal implications of this are obvious - no one exists to do to the work of framing the legality of what Trump does in the WH - I want to focus on another aspect which tends to get lost in the rush to assume Trump will have legal troubles.

Now - if the lay press is to be believed (And I feel they are not completely off the mark here) - McGahn was Devin Nunes' link to the WH. The entire deflection effort that Nunes ran on HPSCI on behalf of Trump was orchestrated through weird meeting between McGahn and Nunes.

Based on his behavior - it seems reasonable to conclude that Nunes is compromised - most likely he is being operated directly from Moscow Center but his alleged interactions with McGahn made most of us wonder how many others were in Moscow's web?

To most that watched him closely - Nunes didn't look like he was bright enough to attract so critical a role in things from Moscow. It could be that assessment is misplaced and Comrade Nunes is brilliant mind, but it is equally likely that Comrade Nunes was being run by a more effective penetration.

That frame fits McGahn perfectly.

So I am now openly wondering what if any channels Trump still has to Putin.

Rand Paul attempted to insert himself into the conversation but either Trump didn't trust him enough or Putin didn't. This created a friction in the interaction.

The Roger Stone-Julian Assange-GRU line was shaky to begin with and now that Stone is struggling to keep himself out of jail - it seems that is not viable at all. And to top that off the GRU has been exposed.

The NRA-Butina link is exposed - so there is no framework there that can be used for communication.

The Emin-Trump Jr line seems broken right now - because both parties are exposed.

This leaves the Kushner-Kislyak secure comms idea. The general sense in the mainstream press seems to be that this was in the context of the Micheal Flynn contact, and that idea didn't move forward as even Kislyak though the idea was absurd but as you may be aware Kislyak is no longer RUAMB. So there are some rumors that an actual RIS commlink was introduced into the WH or (more likely IMHO) into a Kushner residence. One must not put stock in rumors, but assuming for a moment this were true -  there are some vexing questions about the cryptographic keys used in this commlink. Presumably Moscow would not be okay with putting high quality one time pads in the hands of someone like Kushner. That is like practically handing them over to the CIA or the NSA. So if such an arrangement is pursued it will most likely contain weaker keys - or worse used ones - so as not to risk compromising the PUF used to generate them. To hedge against the possibility of a trivial penetration, a layer scheme (like PGP or even multilayered PGP) could be used to ensure that there was a sizable delay between RIS reading the traffic and NSA intercepting and decrypting it*. Obviously Kushner would be too stupid to realize that the mere possession of RIS generated cryptographic keys is a criminal offense. He might even feel that being the sole line of communication between Trump and Putin is a high reward affair.

One outside possibility is that Erik Prince had a separate commlink to Putin but I haven't heard anything specific about that. There was a rumor in the early days of the Trump WH where this kind of idea did the rounds but it seems to lost ground over the years. It came into sharp focus after the Seychelles conference and then disappeared from the usual places. Trumper YouTube channels were talking openly about how a GRU special forces unit was operating sub-rosa in Prince's UAE operation and how they would be coming to DC to protect Trump from the Deep State but now they have all shut up about it. Strange is the world of the Trumper.

The underlying national security risk here is that given the balls-out-insane nature of the Trump-Putin engagement - a reliable communication line between them is absolutely essential to preventing misunderstandings.  Absent such a channel, Putin will be stupid not to bring RUMIL to an extremely high state of alert. Given Trump's amazing ability to completely fuck everything up, Putin might be driving straight at a RyAN/Able Archer type scenario - i.e. a subterranean escalation which emerges with little to no warning as RUMIL gears up to deliver a decapitating nuclear strike on DC.

* This remains one of the open secrets of the Enigma and Venona decrypts - that the brilliant efforts at decryption were not able to really reduce the information dominance of Germans or USSR and that that Allied intelligence awareness lagged OKW or Soviet counterparts. Given the resource constraints on decryption - a filtering algorithm based on transmission pattern analysis was used to decide what would be decrypted first. This was less important in WWII or during the Cold War but it is more important right now.


Post a Comment

<< Home