Dead Drop: October 21

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USS MABUS: The Dead Drop’s usually reliable sources tell us that if Senator Tim Kaine is elected Vice President, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is considering appointing Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to fill Kaine’s seat as the United States Senator (USS, get it?) from Virginia. But wait, you say.  Isn’t Mabus from Mississippi (where he was once governor?) Yeah, but that was then.  Apparently, he has been living in the Commonwealth of VA while SECNAV. And we’d note that he has a longer association with Virginia than Hillary Clinton had with New York before running for the senate there.  There is some history of former SECNAVs becoming senators from VA – John Warner and Jim Webb come to mind.

MEASURING FOR DRAPES: With the election (mercifully) entering its final weeks, chatter about who might be in line for what job is picking up. The Dead Drop is hearing the name of Tom Donilon, former National Security Advisor for Obama, being floated around as a possible CIA Director in a Hillary Clinton administration.  Interesting – since Donilon has the lead on national security positions on her transition team – you would think he would have first dibs on a lot of jobs.  There are others frequently mentioned for the CIA job – including former Acting Director, Michael Morell and former Under Secretary of Defense Mike Vickers.  We don’t hear anyone actively lobbying for the Director of National Intelligence job – nominally the CIA Director’s boss. 

On the Trump side – The Dead Drop hears that retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn has his eyes on the National Security Advisor’s job which comes with a nice west wing office and without the requirement to endure a potentially combative Senate confirmation.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: As you may have heard, there is an election coming up.  If the polls are to be believed (insert your own joke here) there may be some big changes on the horizon – not just in the White House – but the Senate and perhaps the House of Representatives as well.  What would a Democrat takeover of Congress mean for some of the important oversight committees?

Should the D’s take the Senate – The Dead Drop hears that chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence might not go to current ranking minority member, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA).  We hear she may opt to try to grab the reins of the Senate Judiciary Committee instead.  That might leave Senators Ron Wyden (D, OR) and Mark Warner (D, VA) duking it out to lead the SSCI.  The gavel for Senate Armed Services Committee would likely go to current ranking member Jack Reed (D, RI).

In case the House flips parties too – the House Intel Committee would likely go to Representative Adam Schiff (D, CA) and the HASC to Rep. Adam Smith (D, CA).

THAT DERN DIRNSA: NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers is taking some heat for the
“second Snowden” – the case of an NSA contractor who reportedly managed to make off with mounds of highly classified info – for reasons that remain unclear. With pressure increasing to split NSA from the Cyber Command – there is speculation that NSA may end up with a civilian leader and that a stand-alone Cyber Command may have a new uniformed leader before long. On Tuesday, Rogers said at a public forum that he supports splitting the two commands if it is done “in the right way.”

POCKET LITTER: Loose threads, small change, and a lot of lint:

  • LOOK, UP IN THE SKY! What’s with this UFO obsession?  One of the strange things learned from the WikiLeaks publications is the Hillary Clinton camp’s focus on intergalactic visitors. One email says Clinton was very disappointed that in an interview Jimmy Kimmel failed to ask her about UFOs.
  • DEEP KIM SHE: Former top CIA analyst Jami Miscik told Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit this week, “North Korea is one of the issues that we aren’t paying enough attention to…”  Now president of Kissinger Associates Miscik said:  “The president-elect is going to face a problem with North Korea that none of his or her predecessors have faced. It is well on the way to becoming not just a nuclear power, but a power that is able to deliver a nuclear missile.”

WHAT’S ON THEIR NIGHTSTAND?   (A new Dead Drop feature where each week, we’ll ask our contributors to tell us about what they’re currently reading)

Jeanine Hayden, member of  the Board of Governors of the National Military Family Association:

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt. “I’m reading this book in order to better understand an issue that has been the subject of much recent discussion.”  


“In my adult lifetime, I have never seen so many grave threats and problems in the world to be addressed all at once. And I would say that, no matter what you want to do domestically – and there is a lot to do domestically – you cannot ignore the international agenda. Because again, if you don’t try to shape it, then it will try to shape you.”

– Ann-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the State Department, CEO of the New America Foundation

Got an inside scoop to share?  Drop us a note at:[email protected].  And don’t worry, who you are will remain a tightly held secret.