The 21-year-old airman and the vulnerability of chatrooms. Also, why Greg Abbott is making our border more insecure.
Problem solving requires a hard look at facts, not political stunts.
As you may have noticed, I didn’t overwhelm your inboxes last week, and only had two posts. On a personal note, I will have left wrist surgery this Friday. This is the fourth major joint overhaul in the past couple of years. I can’t blame the Army for this injury. This repair is due to a 66-year-old trying to do 16-year-old ridiculousness. Yes, Mrs. C and loved ones have already counseled me about being more of a “grown-up.”
I am doing all possible to be relatively caught up with work, “honey-do’s” and all else prior to Friday. I don’t have the best track record for following recovery orders from my poor surgeon and will try and be back as soon as possible. I hope to be able to do short posts by the middle of next week, depending on operability. In the meantime, there is a great deal to catch up on from last week and looking forward this week. Today’s post will be one of each.
Let’s start with the classified documents leaks by a brand new, 21-year-old A1C/Airman first class sharing classified stolen documents in a gamer, chatroom, repeatedly. There is a great deal of good reporting out there with reliable facts, but there’s also a great deal of miss/disinformation as well. Then, the other issue is that the Intelligence community itself is difficult to understand for outsiders. Next, a few brief, to-the-point insights.
It’s fairly common for young service-members to have access to such materials and have in theory, been taught ad nauseum, the rules of safeguarding such materials. A1C Teixeira has no excuse in saying, “I didn’t understand the rules/ laws.” Even having a cellphone, camera or other recording device in a SCIF (where classified information can be worked with, is illegal).
International and domestic chatrooms have long been a severe threat to national security, when those with clearances are habitual users. Foreign and domestic threats often “farm” these rooms for those vulnerable to either witting or unwitting benefits to our adversaries.
“Russian Propaganda Is High-Volume and Multichannel
Russian propaganda is produced in incredibly large volumes and is broadcast or otherwise distributed via a large number of channels. This propaganda includes text, video, audio, and still imagery propagated via the Internet, social media, satellite television, and traditional radio and television broadcasting. The producers and disseminators include a substantial force of paid Internet “trolls” who also often attack or undermine views or information that runs counter to Russian themes, doing so through online chat rooms, discussion forums, and comments sections on news and other websites.4 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that “there are thousands of fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, and vKontakte” maintained by Russian propagandists. According to a former paid Russian Internet troll, the trolls are on duty 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts, and each has a daily quota of 135 posted comments of at least 200 characters.5”
In the case of Russia, they regularly exploit such rooms to find those vulnerable to exploitation. In my opinion, this may very well be part of the answer to how a quiet kid who liked guns and religion came to be farmed.
During the 2016 election cycle and since, Russian digital influence campaigns have depended on such rooms, Facebook, LinkedIn and most other social media platforms to deliver the content that helped them sway the 2016 election and continue to undermine US and allied democracy.
They do this, to dangerously exacerbate social divisions within the US. Their primary effective ideology over the past decades, especially the past 8 years has been the US right, and the research data and intelligence collection/ analysis bears this out.
The bottom line to these points; when we have a much clearer picture of the situation, we will quite likely see the outlines of this threat clearly defined. One reason is that there is evidence that the US far-right was messaging with Russian operatives within 24 hours of the first document being released online. There have long been mountains of evidence of this collaboration. After eight + years of such datapoints, I no longer believe in, “coincidence.”
MMP: Mapping the Global Far-Right | FSI (stanford.edu)
How the far right made itself a Russian intel target (axios.com)
With Friends Like These: The Kremlin’s Far-Right and Populist Connections in Italy and Austria - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Russia and Far-Right Americans Find Common Ground With Ukraine War - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Russia eyes far-right U.S. social media networks (axios.com)
Influence operatives, like cult recruiters know how to find and exploit vulnerabilities in people. In fact, it’s not as difficult as many believe, especially when audiences have been conditioned to unconscientiously respond to triggers in dangerous, adversarial narratives.
The only defense against being farmed by adversaries’ armies of influence is to build resilience within the American populace over common, national values. This is a deep failing of the US government and especially among politicians who continually brand themselves with a unique set of values. The current left somewhat sticks to conventional US values while the alleged patriotism of the controlling element of the GOP is based on the fake patriotic values of guns, G-d and Trump.
Bottom line: the US and our allies will remain at threat until leadership unifies over our actual national values. Let politicians argue over policy but only voters can stop the dominant, anti-American, extremist ideology of the US’s current GOP. Both sides owe America their honest best, it’s literally in their oath of office.
Fentanyl and Immigration,
Okay y’all, these two subjects will not go away, anytime soon. As a national security professional and a Texan, I know a thing or two about our Southern border and the fentanyl crisis. First, I’ve been tracking CT/ counterterrorism issues for decades professionally. This means that I’ve been tracking professional
One of the lesser fronts on the CT landscape is always border security. It’s also one of the least used infiltration methods for extremists. In fact, by nearly every measure, the most lethal and dangerous extremist threat in the US is from the US far-right, so this means, domestic extremists. There is more concern by other nations over this flavor of extremism. Yes, the US far-right exports far-right extremism, sometimes in conjunction with Russian influence operations.
Immigration is another major issue for US national security, but not what the current GOP is fearmongering over. On a near-daily basis, I hear utterly dishonest screeching from Gov. Greg Abbott, our indicted felon attorney general, Ken Paxton, my senators, Cornyn and Cruz and even, my Navy Vet congressman, Tony Gonzales, about the Southern border. Their dishonest talking points are also the core ideology of the national Republican Party.
Here’s the bottom line to both Fentanyl and immigration issues about the southern border; the majority of the problem is far from the border and lies with China, customs law and the dramatically evolving, global migration patterns.
A few bullet points to demonstrate what I mean:
Executive Summary The flow of fentanyl into the United States in 2019 is more diverse compared to the start of the fentanyl crisis in 2014, with new source countries and new transit countries emerging as significant trafficking nodes. This is exacerbating the already multi-faceted fentanyl crisis by introducing additional source countries into the global supply chain of fentanyl, fentanyl-related substances, and fentanyl precursors. Further, this complicates law enforcement operations and policy efforts to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States. While Mexico and China are the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States, India is emerging as a source for finished fentanyl powder and fentanyl precursor chemicals.
There is little prospect that in the absence of significant warming of the overall U.S.-China bilateral relationship, China will meaningfully intensify its anti-drug cooperation with the United States. U.S. punitive measures, such as sanctions and indictments, are unlikely to change that.
-March 31, 2023
The core of the fentanyl crisis is a failure of Congress to enact legislation that will impact China. China, with Mexico’s backhanded tolerance for narco/ human-trafficking is ground zero. No border wall can fix that.
The overwhelming majority of Fentanyl comes across the border via the San Diego, California port of entry.
SAN DIEGO – More deadly fentanyl is being seized by border officials in San Diego and Imperial counties than at any of the nation’s 300-plus ports of entry, making this federal district an epicenter for fentanyl trafficking into the United States.
-DOJ press release
The Abbott administration, including the Texas DPS, keeps getting caught misleading the public about the failed OP Lonestar, a political stunt of the highest order.
To listen to Abbott, Paxton and Gonzalez, you’d believe that there was a tsunami of fentanyl crossing the TX/ Mexican border when in truth, while Texas grabbed 887 lbs. of the drug, California, with California National Guard and Law enforcement supporting Federal authorities, stopped 28,000 lbs. of fentanyl powder and a fortune in fentanyl laced pills, in fact, enough to kill every single American, plus some.
“In the past year, the men and women of the DEA have relentlessly worked to seize over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl from communities across the country,” said Administrator Anne Milgram. “These seizures – enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American – reflect DEA’s unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives, by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States. DEA’s top operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels—the Sinaloa and Jalisco (CJNG) Cartels—that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans today.”
In pursuit of “Op Lonestar,” Abbott and his henchmen have spent over $3B for almost no improvement in the border situation. In the meantime, they have also tortured the Texas National Guard. Military Times did a series on those abuses. Op Lonestar is a boondoggle of the highest order.
We want answers about the Texas governor’s Operation Lone Star (militarytimes.com)
Operation Lone Star border mission needs $460 million to stay afloat (armytimes.com)
Texas Guardsmen on border start unionizing to combat difficult conditions (airforcetimes.com)
Operation Lone Star Troops Could Owe Feds Tax Money Thanks to State's Payroll Error | Military.com
Army Times investigation finds suicides, morale crisis in wake of Operation Lone Star at Texas border (ksat.com)
‘We just want parity’: Military groups call on lawmakers to give Operation Lone Star troops death benefits | Texas Standard
The reason that I’m picking on Texas’s far-right extremist Gov and party is that it’s just, old fashioned common-sense that if you lie and waste the people’s tax dollars on a political stunt, there’s no way to actually solve the problem. Okay, I also admit that I’m fed up with the extremism of the TX GOP. While they fight culture wars designed to further their political careers, instead of fixing our dilapidated state, those who pay the bills are being cheated and… the problems never get solved.
Texas is just an easy example of political failure in the US to solve our most serious problems. Any scientist or farmer knows that if you don’t look at all of the facts, it’s impossible to solve problems. Sadly, US politics fails to achieve results most of the time for precisely this reason. Political ideology is a poor substitute for reality and facts.
Another primary issue regarding US national security and border issues is how dramatically, migration patterns have changed due to climate change and war. All of the domestic political stunts imaginable would have zero impact on this major issue. In fact, every dime wasted on political stunting diminishes funds available to deal with the migration issues.
With all of these global citizens on the move, most nations are up to their proverbial ears, in migration/ immigration issues. It’s far from being an exclusive US problem.
Both the fentanyl and migration issues involve core problems, far away from our borders. Crime and violence in Central America for example, but quite far from being only a problem with Hispanic nations. See the embedded link in the last paragraph for the data/ numbers.
I will state something clearly here that those addicted to political ideology will absolutely despise; there is no border solution, without addressing the root causes of immigration. For example, Mexico and parts of Central America are, in my opinion, failed states. Drought, famine and war all around the globe are driving people from the homelands in order to survive. Yes, many of these nations are also failed states. The African continent is exhibit A, for migration based on war and drought/ famine. These people are human beings.
Not one nation is safe from the impacts of modern trends in migration. This means that any and all solutions must be cooperative efforts from multiple alliances and/ or nations. Please tell me how a ridiculous border fence will change any of the above facts? I would love to hear someone screaming, “build that wall,” explain how their fence matters.
The last word on immigration and fentanyl border issues is, assemble the facts, do serious, critical thinking and immediately follow an approved, common-sense strategy. Anyone who wants to pursue political stunts, instead of sound strategy, MUST BE EXCLUDED. Bozos like Abbott and Ron DeSantis fit in this category.
Thanks to all for your patience and best for your week,