The Dead Drop: July 24

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR HAS CORONAVIRUS — President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for COVID-19.  An unnamed person told Bloomberg that O’Brien “came down with the coronavirus after a family event and has been isolating at home while still running the National Security Council, doing most of his work by phone.”

NO QUESTIONS ASKED:  Word came out this week that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has offered to appear before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in August for the annual worldwide threat hearings. Tradition has it for the past several decades at least that senior intelligence officials show up for both open and closed sessions before Congress.  This time, however, Ratcliffe indicated that he did not want to take questions in the public session.  His public appearance would basically amount to making a speech to the assembled members.  And if they desired, the members could make speeches back at him. Then, they would adjourn to a closed session where the members could ask questions and presumably get answers.  The unusual proposal follows the public January 2019 threat hearings which displeased the president.  Trump eventually blamed the media for misinterpreting the comments of then-DNI Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel. In the immediate aftermath of the hearing, however, the president tweeted that “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naïve when it comes to the dangers of Iran” adding “They are wrong!” and “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”  Apparently, they have gone back to school and have found the answer to their problems is not giving answers in public.

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