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Let’s talk about classified documents… again!
National Security is not politics
Over the past couple of days, we find ourselves again, politically embroiled over the issue of classified documents in the possession of a sitting POTUS and one former. Like the last round of revelations, the current issue has already gone off the rails, politically. This is precisely the wrong answer, ethically, nationally and for some critically important national security reasons. Details matter in both cases.
I will forgo my normal disclaimer about parties and simply say this; I am something that most Americans cannot understand. I’m disdainful of both, big-money political parties and at the moment, find the current version of the Republican party, more accurately seen as an extremist movement. Had this been different parts of our history, I would have found other parties the same. This doesn’t mean that you will find me supporting the left either.
My profession and associated fields, require integrity and independence in order to solve the national security issues in my field. That’s it. Political bias ruins independent research and critical thinking, especially with most of our nation cultivated into some ridiculous, faux identity of left/ right, Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal. I prefer to just be an American, precisely as our founders wished it. This holds most true in my selection of George Washington as a presidential role model. He was our only independent POTUS and a life-long, pragmatic learner. His only ideology was the Roman sense of virtue or generally speaking, one dedicated to public service and the greater good.
The bottom line here is that depending on the topic, I’m likely to frustrate folks from all perspectives while concurrently being applauded by those who seek straight-forward, honest and factually supported opinions. Phew, I’m getting soooo tired of having to explain this to people.
The following short article will not be a deep dive into both cases. I’ve previously written on the Trump case and will link it in this article. The new case is still fresh and mostly devoid of details, except in the cases of propaganda sites like Gateway Pundit, Breitbart, Newsmax and FOX. Some of the best sources of real news include my top three favorites, all with excellent rating for integrity and truth. These are, the AP/ Associated Press, REUTERS and BBC News. I always check these three sources first, before looking at any of the other reporting. This gives me a factual foundation of what facts are available. My version of truth is: “all known and verifiable facts, presented in objective context.”
To keep this article as succinct as possible, I will use numbered points to lay out what is and isn’t important.
1. All classified documents must be respected and treated as the thousands of pages of protocol, law and policies dictate. This is non-negotiable, regardless of who does it.
2. Like everything else in our lives, not all things are equal, and these two cases could hardly be more different.
3. The proper oversight in both cases are, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with subordinate agencies.
4. If something is criminal, it must be addressed but… we must also remember that although jaywalking and murder are both illegal, the penalties and threat to others is quite different.
5. There are some very good, potential reasons why nothing was disclosed at the beginning of NOV. when the documents were first discovered and immediately turned over to the proper authorities. There are also some very bad reasons. For what should be obvious reasons, I won’t discuss these points in detail at this time.
6. For those wondering why the Trump case is different on this point; Trump and his team did all possible to retain possession of the more than 10,000 pages of highly classified documents, even after numerous requests by the NARA and DoJ. This includes, hiding the documents being requested in a variety of locations.
8. Still, in President Biden’s case, there is a great deal that we don’t know. We need to allow the appropriate professionals sort it out and make recommendations about consequences and sensitivity.
9. I support professional and objective assessments, in both cases.
In summary, we have a duty to be well and accurately informed as demanded by our founders. It was seen as a requirement of our citizenship in our republic. I still concur with this concept and in an age where we have more information (not necessarily facts) at our disposal, 24/ 7 we must diligently understand how to differentiate between truth and political propaganda, regardless of “side.”
I so often find that people make excuses for being poorly informed by saying, “it’s just too hard to know what is true or not.” I firmly disagree with this. Nearly everyone with a smartphone has gone shopping for a great deal on google or similar device. We know that some deals are scams or fraudulent. We also know when we do get burned by such, that we are far more careful afterwards. Looking for responsible reporting is no different.
The primary problem is that most Americans have an addiction to their “political identity.” This impairs their critical thinking skills. Parties use professional influencers to create a political identity in people and professionally speaking, this is our most serious threat to the nation. Most of these “influencers” come from the marketing world, which has more than its fair share of unethical and relentless practitioners. There is not one corner of our lives that isn’t bombarded, ad nauseum with ads. They are an infection that has life-changing potential. The least regulated industries in the US are guns, politics and marketing. Sure, laws sometimes exist but where is the effective oversight?
On the TAT website, there is a tab at the top which says “library.” Within is a file titled, “Tools to evaluate media.” Please see those links and of which the two best are:
Both of these links have a wide variety of user-friendly tools for searching out truth. It’s not hard at all. The first link is a set that I put together and was posted on our Narrative Strategies, Think/ Do Tank website. This was done to help citizens, prior to the 2020 election. Although I’m part of the Narrative Strategies team, my work here on TAT is separate and my opinions here do not speak for our team. They are mine alone. Many of the contained tools are those that I use regularly.
As a nation, we are all better off when we do our own thinking. No one should be adhering strictly to politicians without doing their due diligence. If we do, we can avoid the constant pressure we are under to “choose sides.” In a nation with the word, “United” in its title, the only side should be the side of the US, based on our actual national values, not the platforms of party machines.
Cheers and all best for your Thursday,