Buried in a recent news report about America’s secret program of placing “digital implants” in the Russian power grid is an interesting and troublesome revelation. Namely, that senior US intelligence officials are so concerned about the president of the United States being an unrestrained ignoramus or a Russian spy, that they are holding back valuable state secrets from Agent Orangeski because they are concerned that he will either reveal details about our Cyber Command program or nix the entire plan altogether.
Yes, this is where we are.
On Saturday, the New York Times ran an extensive report on American military and intelligence agencies’ efforts to introduce malicious computer code into Russia’s power grid. The article detailed the country’s entrance into the cyberwarfare arena, revealing that the US placed electronic surveillance code and reconnaissance probes in the control systems of the Russian power grid years ago. But ever since Russia’s pro-Trump attacks on the U.S. elections, American’s cyber warfare experts have begun introducing far more aggressive malware to the Russian power grid.
Halfway through the story, the Times reveals that sources confirmed that President Trump hasn’t been briefed on the policy because intelligence officials believe he might shut down the secret cybersecurity offensive or reveal it to foreign sources.
David E. Sanger and Nicole Periroth write:
Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants”—software code that can be used for surveillance or attack—inside the Russian grid.
Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction—and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.
Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.
Wait ... What?
So they are keeping military secrets from the commander in chief because they think he might spill the tea? I’m sure the secret is still safe even though it’s printed in the New York Times because everyone knows that Trump doesn’t know what the hell “countermand” means. But how is any of this even possible? Everyone has that friend who they won’t tell about the upcoming surprise party because they know their blabbermouth buddy can’t hold water. But how reckless and stupid would someone have to be to spill state military secrets to “foreign officials”?
We know who they are talking about when they say “foreign officials.” They’re talking about Trump’s distant lover, Vladdy “The Daddy” Putin. I fully understand that Trump’s secret meetings, late-night phone calls and public fellating of the Russian leader justify the concern. But imagine how crazy Trump must be for the officials in charge of all the guns, bullets and bombs to worry about the president’s “reaction”?
It’s not like Trump would understand what they are talking about anyway. They would have to use colored pencils, pop-up books and puppets to give him even a broad understanding of the specifics.
Here’s how I imagine a briefing would go between Donald Trump and Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of United States Cyber Command:
Nakasone: Mr. President, here is our plan to introduce malware into the Russian power grid ...
Trump: What kind of wear? All my suits are custom-made by the missing migrant children we’ve hidden in an underground sweatshop beneath Mar-a-Lago. Why should I care what brand of clothes Russians wear? I do like those furry hats, though. Can you get me one of those?
Nakasone: Sir, I’m not talking about clothes. I’m talking about computer code that will spy on Russia and cripple the country.
Trump: OK, tell me more. As you know, I’m one of the world’s greatest computer experts. I beat solitaire two times last night and read two emails that said they had attachments. I lifted the computer off the desk but I didn’t see anything attached to the laptop.. It happens all the time. That’s why I fired Omarosa. I think she was stealing my attachments. You know those people steal all the time, right?
Nakasone: Mr. President, our team has created a complicated program. Let me just give you the broad strokes.
Trump: “Broad strokes?” heh heh. I like that. Can your program give me a few more Candy Crush lives? Have you been working on that?
Nakasone: Sir, I’m in charge of Cyber Command.
Trump: You’re in charge of cyber command? Do you think you could get me one of those cyber command thingamajigs? But I want the woman inside mine to be named Lexus, not Alexa. It’s classier. How do they fit inside those things anyway?
Nakasone: Sir, I don’t work for that kind of cyber command. I’m preparing computerized code to fight the Russians.
Trump: For what? What have they ever done to us? Sure they may have undermined the very fabric of our democracy and installed a shadow president who’s really a Russian spy ... Oh wait. Did I say that out loud? Forget everything you just heard.
Nakasone: I’m gonna go.
Trump: But what about my fur hat? I thought they said you were intelligent! You can’t even find out who’s been detaching my emails! Wait until I tell Vladimir about this!
Nakasone: Please don’t.
Trump: Lexus, call Putin!