Dead Drop: January 10

WHOLLY SMOKES: In an effort to explain the U.S. government’s rationale for killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, three senior State Department officials conducted a telephonic media briefing on Friday, January 3.  The much-needed explanation might have been more persuasive if they had agreed to attach their names to their comments – but the official transcript only identifies them as “Senior State Department Official One,” “Two,” and “Three.”  But it is still worth a read. One of our favorite parts was when there was a debate about whether when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the strike “wholly legal” – he meant “wholly” with a W or “holy” with an H.  Keeping with the semi-religious theme, one of the briefers (Senior State Department Official #3 to be semi-precise) tried to explain that there was precedent for targeting an enemy senior military official and cited the shooting down of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1942.  Perhaps sensing that some of his listeners were not familiar with that event #3 said: “Jesus, do we have to explain these things? That was followed by laughter and a reporter’s comment: “Yes, you do.”

NOW, SHE TELLS US:  We are not alone.  So says Helen Sharman who became Britain’s first astronaut in 1991, when she visited the Soviet Mir space station. Sharman told The Observer newspaper that “aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it.” And maybe the aliens are not just “out there” – maybe they are here she says. “It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them.” That could explain a lot.  What goes unexplained, however, is why it took her 29 years to tell us.

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