Dead Drop: September 11

IF THE SECDEF CALLS, GET HIS NAME:  NBC News reported on Labor Day that President Trump might be ready to make a change at the top of the Defense Department (again.) Normally, less than 60 days before an election would be an odd time to fire a cabinet member, but NBC says Trump hasn’t ruled out axing Mark Esper and installing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in his place. Esper has been on thin ice since he seemed to take a different stance than the president on military installations named for Confederate leaders. Keeping those names may be one way for the president to demonstrate that he has nothing against “losers.” If there was any doubt that the president holds some senior Pentagon leaders in low regard – look no further than his press conference on Monday when he said “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me, the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

FAMILY FEUD:  Nieces are hard to predict.  President Trump’s niece Mary recently wrote a book that was not too complimentary of him.  But you know whose niece is a Trump fan? Osama bin Laden’s.  Well, at least that is what the New York Post says.  According to the tabloid, Noor bin Ladin says that only Trump can prevent another 9/11. The paper carries a picture of Noor sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat – noting that she lives in Switzerland. “I have been a supporter of President Trump since he announced he was running in the early days in 2015. I have watched from afar and I admire this man’s resolve,” she said. “He must be re-elected … It’s vital for the future of not only America, but Western civilization as a whole.”  Noor often shares her views on Twitter.  Back in May she tweeted a picture of herself in a MAGA jumpsuit  with a string of hashtags connected to QAnon.

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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