Morning Musings

  • China, we win. Again. Let’s hope more is planned. The DOJ press conference was somewhat odd. While it may look good to crack down on cyber espionage, do folks in this town serious think China is going to hand these five characters to the US for prosecution? This is one arena where the law is, at best, a billy club. I sure hope there is a lot more to this strategy that the crats are keeping to themselves.
  • It’s better in the Bahamas, at least today, if you’re a drug dealer, engaged in money laundering, or worse. Edward Snowden’s facilitator in disseminating sensitive and classified U.S. secrets reported yesterday on his website that the NSA is “secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.” If this program exists, it’s been a great investment of U.S. taxpayer monies. May the NSA, DEA, and others, do a lot more of it in the Bahamas and elsewhere in the Caribbean. As for the politically myopic leakers, and traitors, they’ve cost the nation billions, and more. It is going to cost a lot more to repair the damage. Meanwhile the crooks get the edge for a while …
  • When I heard Senator Dianne Feinstein use these words, “a hunting mission for a lynch mob,” I thought she was talking about Congressional oversight of the intelligence community the past year or so. Turns out she was just talking about the Select Committee on Benghazi. You know the one. Maybe the Senator was referring to the ‘lynch mob’ that killed and tortured the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans?
  • Talking about Libya, over at the DiploPundit blog: “CNN’s Barbara Starr reports that the U.S. military has doubled the number of aircraft standing by in Italy if needed to evacuate Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya … We’re not giving the current DCM/charge his marching orders. Instead we’re recalling an ambassador who’s been retired since 2009 to midwife this “challenging time in Libya’s transition.” Does that make sense?  We’re hearing that Ambassador Satterfield will reportedly be a special envoy for reconciliation.  Because it makes perfect sense to send a stranger to facilitate reconciliation in a country where cultivating personal relationships is needed before business is conducted.” Read it all here.
  • You meet a lot of interesting people in Virginia. For example, The Washington Post reports this morning, a few Virginias are in Libya right now leading the opposition Libyan National Army. One year your neighbor is going about his or her business, the next they are gone somewhere fighting for freedom or who knows what … 
  • Over at the Mr. Watchlist blog, a succint explanation of the EU’s economic sanctions against Tunisia.
  • Tax dodgers be warned, Credit Suisse to pay the United States a hefty $2.6 billion fine to settle charges that the European financial services giant helped clients evade U.S. taxes. Then there is the case of BNP Paribas (6th bullet after you click the link), the French bank currently in negotiations with the Justice Department to settle a case of alleged violations of Iran and Cuba economic sanctions. The fine in this case could surpass $3 billion.
  • If it is May 20, it is sure to be U.S.-Cuba policy silly season. To mark the 112th anniversary of Cuba’s independence from Spain, the Council of the Americas published an open letter to President Barack Obama from more than forty, obviously “influential” Americans, urging the President to ease sanctions on Cuba. Among the signers of the letter is a Credit Suisse official (see the prior bullet) and other folks seeking to closer relations with the Castro regime. I’ve seen for many years, too many to count, these somewhat quixotic public relations offensives from folks on both sides of this issue. What I never see is what matters most, a clear and focused articulation of U.S. national and security interests. This time the pro-engagement crowd has teamed up with other groups in town and have spent a lot of money to even post expensive adverting in the DC Metro system. It is a colossal waste of time and money. As well as misconstruing of U.S. law and policy aims. Most of what they request in the letter can be accomplished under existing laws and regulations. Read the COA letter, and rationale for it, here.
  • “Castro Brothers, Watch Out! James Bruno Has Your Number!”

Finally, a Tweet from yesterday worth repeating for folks who follow export control matters:

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