Dead Drop: February 19

WELL, IT HAPPENED ONCE:  The CIA reminded folks on President’s Day that George H.W. Bush is the only CIA Director who also become president. Now, sources say Mike Pompeo is drawing up plans to be the second. Pompeo also has “ex-Secretary of State” on his resume. Salon.com says recent filings with the Federal Elections Committee suggest that Pompeo is getting ready to start raising money for a 2024 run.  He will have to get busy since he has just $13,665.85 in his campaign coffers at the moment, but the former spy chief has made little secret of his ambitions. While he was SECSTATE, Pompeo hosted lavish “Madison Dinners” with lots of fat cats as guests – so there is little doubt he has a mailing list handy in case he wants to write to them.  And if his guests want to write back (including a check perhaps) they may be armed with branded specially engraved pens (we like to think of them as “swagger sticks”) that Pompeo passed out at the dinners.   “CREW” (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) says Pompeo spent more than $10,000 in taxpayer funds for 400 pens which were custom embossed with the Madison logo and expedited to Foggy Bottom from China (of all places) to be passed out as party favors.

AVALANCHE OF BAD INFORMATION: There were massive floods recently in India’s Himalayas. Water rushed down mountainsides and killed dozens of people and destroyed two hydroelectric plants. Some locals think they know the cause: the CIA.  No really.  According to Forbes, the theory relates to a 1965 incident when the Central Intelligence Agency and Indian officials reportedly tried to install a nuclear-powered surveillance device on top of a mountain to spy on China. But in the aftermath of a snowstorm, the plutonium-powered device fell into a crevice – never to be seen again.  Some locals believe that, 55+ years later, the device is still working – emanating heat and melting snow and causing avalanches. Experts say there is no chance that that is the explanation of disaster – but it makes a pretty good story.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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