Then: Ken Cuccinelli was the Attorney General of Virginia and running for Governor. He relentlessly (but unsuccessfully) attacked a leading climate scientist, Michael Mann.

Now: Same guy, working in the Department of Homeland Security, when he’s not ripping babies from their mother’s arms, is trying to cover up intelligence about Russian attacks on our elections.

Lesson: Once you’ve betrayed your children, betraying your country is a snap.

Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent in Washington Post:

House Democrats just released a complaint from a new whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security. It makes a series of extraordinary charges about senior DHS officials seeking to manipulate intelligence to boost Trump politically.

The complaint from the whistleblower, Brian Murphy, a senior official at DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, claims intense pressure was brought to bear to hype the threat of leftist violence. The complaint says two top DHS officials — acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf and deputy Ken Cuccinelli — halted the distribution of a Homeland Threat Assessment because of how it “would reflect upon President Trump.”

“Two sections were specifically labeled as concerns: White Supremacy and Russian influence in the United States,” the complaint continues.

On Russian influence, the complaint says, Wolf ordered Murphy in May 2020 to report on efforts by China and Iran to interfere in our election, and to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference.”

Incredibly, the complaint says Murphy “would not comply with these instructions, as doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.”

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The idea of a “Team B” to produce intelligence more politically palatable to a Republican administration is not new.

In the 80s, hard-liners not satisfied with intelligence community expert estimates of Soviet capabilities, formed a “Team B” group to provide more threatening and dire assessments to the President. The group was promoted by Donald Rumsfeld, and included Paul Wolfowitz, both later architects of the war in Iraq.
Also in the lead up to that war, Vice President Dick Cheney famously oversaw the manipulation of intelligence to deceive both the executive branch and the American people about the need for an invasion.

The Atlantic:

(1) During the several months preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, and thereafter, the vice president became aware that no certain evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a fact articulated in several official documents, including: (a) A report by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, concluding that “there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has–or will–establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.” (b) A National Intelligence Estimate, compiled by the nation’s intelligence agencies, admitting to “little specific information” about chemical weapons in Iraq. (c) A later section of the same NIE, admitting “low confidence” that Saddam Hussein “would engage in clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland,” and equally “low confidence” that he would “share chemical or biological weapons with al-Qa’ida.” (d) An addendum by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, asserting that Hussein’s quest for yellowcake uranium in Africa was “highly dubious” and that his acquisition of certain machine parts, considered by some to be evidence of a nuclear program, were “not clearly linked to a nuclear end use.” (e) A report by the United States Department of Energy, stating that the machinery in question was “poorly suited” for nuclear use.

(2) Despite these questions and uncertainties, and having full awareness of them, the vice president nevertheless proceeded to misrepresent the facts in his public statements, claiming that there was no doubt about the existence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq and that a full-scale nuclear program was known to exist, including: (a) March 17, 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.” (b) March 19, 2002: “We know they are pursuing nuclear weapons.” (c) March 24, 2002: “He is actively pursuing nuclear weapons.” (d) May 19, 2002: “We know he’s got chemical and biological…we know he’s working on nuclear.” (e) August 26, 2002: “We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons… Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” (f) March 16, 2003: “We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.

Now the Trump administration has renewed its intention to produce similarly skewed pseudo-scientific assessments of global climate change.

What could go wrong?

New York Times:

President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.
In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.
And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”


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