National Security

‘He Knew What He Signed Up For’

President Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Tuesday that “he knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway,” when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), WPLG reports.

The Washington Post reports Wilson was riding in a limousine with Johnson when the president called and heard the conversation on speakerphone.

Wilson said Johnson broke down in tears: “He made her cry.”

Trump responds: “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

Cotton Eyed for Possible CIA Vacancy

Mike Allen: “We told you about internal administration conversations about sliding CIA Director Mike Pompeo over to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whenever he heads back to Texas.”

“Now we’re hearing about a top possibility for the next chess move: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) was considered for CIA director (and SecDef) during the transition, and is a candidate for CIA again.”

“Cotton is one of the few senators with an easy relationship with Trump, talking to him a few times a week, giving him advice about top jobs (that Trump has taken), and planting the seed for the Iran policy announced Friday.”

Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase In Nuclear Weapons

President Trump “said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders,” NBC News reports.

“Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.”

“According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the build-up. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.”

“The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a ‘moron.'”

Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on U.S. Cyber Defense

“Hackers working for the Russian government stole details of how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks after a National Security Agency contractor removed the highly classified material and put it on his home computer,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The hackers appear to have targeted the contractor after identifying the files through the contractor’s use of a popular antivirus software made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab.”

“The theft is considered by experts to be one of the most significant security breaches in recent years. It offers a glimpse into how the intelligence community thinks Russian intelligence exploits a widely available commercial software product to spy on the U.S. The incident occurred in 2015 but wasn’t discovered until spring of last year, said the people familiar with the matter.”

Head of Air Force Academy Tells Racists to ‘Get Out’

“The head of the Air Force Academy stood all his 4,000 cadets at attention Thursday to deliver a message on racial slurs found written on message boards at the academy’s preparatory school,” the Colorado Gazette reports.

“Chins in and chests out, the cadets were flanked by 1,500 officers, sergeants, athletic coaches and civilian professors inside cavernous Mitchell Hall. Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria told them to take out their smartphones and record his words.”

Said Silveria: “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”

Hawaii Prepares for Nuclear Attack

Honolulu Civil Beat: “Dozens of legislators and their staffers met behind closed doors Tuesday to hear a briefing by state Emergency Management Agency officials on preparedness for a North Korea nuclear strike on Hawaii.”

“Some lawmakers who attended stressed that the secret meeting was not called because of any immediate threat to the islands. Instead, it was a discussion of how to help the public prepare.”

Schooling Trump on American Power

Associated Press: “There, in the windowless meeting room known as ‘The Tank’, Trump was to be briefed on the state of America’s longest-running war as he and his top aides plotted ways ahead. But, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the meeting, it was, in reality, about much more.”

“Trump’s national security team had become alarmed by the president’s frequent questioning about the value of a robust American presence around the world. When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate. The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers.”

McCain Opposes Transgender Troop Ban

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) is backing a bipartisan bill that would block President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “When less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country.”

Sessions Wants NSC Staff to Take Lie Detector Tests

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has told associates he wants to put the entire National Security Council staff through a lie detector test to root out leakers. It’s unclear whether this will ever happen, but Sessions floated the idea to multiple people, as recently as last month,” according to Jonathan Swan.

“Sessions’ idea is to do a one-time, one-issue, polygraph test of everyone on the NSC staff. Interrogators would sit down with every single NSC staffer (there’s more than 100 of them), and ask them, individually, what they know about the leaks of transcripts of the president’s phone calls with foreign leaders. Sessions suspects those leaks came from within the NSC, and thinks that a polygraph test — at the very least — would scare them out of leaking again.”

Trump Looking at Deploying ‘Mini-Nukes’

“The Trump administration is considering proposing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs — a move that would give military commanders more options but could also make the use of atomic arms more likely,” Politico reports.

“Approval of such weapons — whether designed to be delivered by missile, aircraft or special forces — would mark a major reversal from the Obama administration, which sought to limit reliance on nuclear arms and prohibited any new weapons or military capabilities. And critics say it would only make the actual use of atomic arms more likely.”

Mattis Warns of ‘Massive Military Response’

Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea if it threatened the U.S. or its allies, The Hill reports.

Said Mattis: “Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response.”

He added: “Kim Jong Un should take heed the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses. And they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely, North Korea.”