If you have never studied war, then the Russian aerial bombardments might have been shocking. So too the long lines of would-be refugees jamming every highway; even more, the horrid specter of blood-stained Ukrainian citizens desperately seeking to save their lives.

But having studied war for most of my adult life, particularly Soviet and Russian military science, the opening hours of the attack contained few surprises. Just as western analysts expected, the Russians opened with heavy missile bombardments against command-and-control targets. Shortly thereafter, armored forces moved smartly across border outposts, rapidly converging into strategic axes from three different directions. Their probable objective: a decapitation strike aimed at the capital of Kiev, where a Russian puppet would presumably be installed.

However, my dominant initial impressions were that the initial phases of the attack seemed short of the massive firepower - particularly artillery, the vaunted Red God of War - that has always commenced attacks since the Soviet era. As the progenitors of information warfare - explored as “radio-electronic combat” - one also would have expected Internet websites, GPS and all social media across Ukraine to have “gone dark” from the war’s first moments. Why did it not?

Remembering my days at NBC News, I watched as my latter-day successors sketched out the advances of Russian combat formations, some of which seemed more tentative than an all-out blitzkrieg. Occasionally, someone would note that Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe. Actually, it’s even larger than Texas, which is where I live. Has anyone remembered to check the scale of those maps, remembering how quickly terrain can challenge even the most mobile ground forces? Remember above all: countries may be easy to invade but much tougher to conquer, particularly against insurgents who are well-armed and intent on selling their lives dearly. Bottom Line: We haven’t yet seen Russian “shock and awe” so stay tuned!

That said: My dominant Day One impression was that Joe Biden is horribly miscast as a wartime president. In his televised remarks from the East Room on Thursday, he mostly conveyed the impression that he was channeling Neville Chamberlain, holding out the forlorn hope that economic sanctions might achieve “peace in our time.” For the record, folks, there are only two kinds of sanctions: the ones that don’t work at all; and the ones that do but cause wars. So which ones are you announcing, Mr. President, and why on earth do you think Vladimir Putin regards you and the people around you with anything less than contempt? My friend Fred Fleitz, formerly Chief of Staff for the National Security Council, said yesterday that Biden needs to sack most of his national security team “because they are second stringers.” Former Speaker Newt Gingrich was one of several Fox analysts to recommend that Biden reverse his support of climate change and use American energy capabilities to drive Russian oil companies out of business.

I smiled when the Speaker said that. While teaching at West Point, I invited a visiting Texas oilman to tell my cadets something I hope they still remember. Raring back in his cowboy boots, the oilman pulled out his wad of greenbacks, brandishing a hundred-dollar bill. “You boys need to remember that the ultimate form of American power is NOT you and your M-16. It’s this thing right here!” Amen!

NOTE: Colonel Allard is the author of Command, Control and the Common Defense, winner of the 1991 National Security Book Award. After leaving active duty, he became an on-air military analyst for the networks of NBC News

Deep in Denial

February 25, 2022

Speaking of cocooned leftists who are too deep in denial to accept the reality that there’s evil in the world worse than someone who doesn’t respect their preferred pronouns, the responses on Twitter to Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine have revealed them like a sudden spotlight. Nick Arama at rounded up some of the most jaw-droppingly insulated responses from people who are so spoiled and clueless that they see a potential genocide as an excuse to score “dunk” points about white privilege or unvaccinated people.

But when it comes to clueless leftists who are utterly impermeable to reality, bow down before the queen, Joy Behar of “The View.” Her biggest concern seems to be that World War III might put a crimp in her plans to vacation in Italy.

If it's any consolation, I'm sure there are millions of Americans who will also be very disappointed if Joy Behar can't go on vacation.

A reader asks:

if AG Garland was to interfere with the Durham report, then wouldn't it protect Hillary Clinton instead of old Joe?

– MJ McCauley

Thanks, MJ, for your question. Although the Russia Hoax appears to have originated with Hillary and her close associates, Garland is well aware that the Durham investigation potentially implicates two U.S. Presidents, not just one scheming, pantsuited wanna-be. This will require some set-up.

As we’ve discussed, and as Charlie Martin analyzes in a new VIP report for PJ Media (“Quick and Dirty Durham Explainer”), one huge question is how Rodney Joffe’s company, Neustar, got its “sensitive arrangement” to “access and maintain” the servers of the Executive Office of the President (EOP). This access began under Obama during the campaign and continued during the transition after Trump’s unexpected win and, somehow, even into Trump’s term of office. So, we have to ask: how did Joffe win the contract to do this?

And what information was gathered? Durham’s motion just mentions DNS (Domain Name Service) lookups. These are what look up the interminably long internet addresses we’re really calling when we use the shorter, easier-to-remember-and-type domain names. As Martin explains this, it’s like an automatic Directory Assistance.

Joffe would retrieve these DNS lookups from the White House and send them to Team Nerd (that’s what I call them) at Georgia Tech, where they already had an existing project to look at large amounts of internet data and where they were trying to win a Pentagon contract –- that they later got. Their assignment: to develop a narrative tying Trump to Russia, to give to the “VIPs” Durham identifies as people at Perkins Coie and the Clinton campaign.

This kind of internet traffic is usually “anonymized,” which means people’s identities are concealed. But with his intelligence background, Martin says he’d “bet money” that anonymization can be reversed.

One fake narrative that ended up in the hands of the FBI and CIA was that Trump and his associates were using special “rare” Russian cell phones in the vicinity of the White House. Durham’s motion says the special counsel has no found no evidence for this allegation, but, of course, it didn’t have to be real to be weaponized against Trump at the time.

The rest of Martin’s article deals with details that we’ve already examined and will be familiar to you. He says Durham’s recent motion shows he “is laying out a case that Perkins Coie, through Sussmann and with the active participation of Marc Elias, purposefully MANUFACTURED EVIDENCE against Trump that factored into the four-year investigation into ‘Russian collusion.’” He wraps up with questions: “How many crimes is this? I honestly don’t know,” he says. “Perjury? Mail fraud? How many ways does it hit the Espionage Act? For mere mortals, it would be a long time in prison.”

Yes, prison. Martin’s background is intelligence, but he talked to “several lawyer friends” who told him this looks as though MANY laws were broken --- “too many to list.” The consensus was that there’s enough to “send mere politically unconnected mortals to Leavenworth for the rest of their lives.”

As mentioned, that report is “VIP.” But we also found an interesting piece –- more great reporting by Paul Sperry –- about Rodney Joffe that touches on his relationship with (yes) President Obama. The tech executive managed to have a “sensitive arrangement” with Obama’s White House despite being involved in a mail-order scam that sparked federal and state investigations.

As Sperry points out, to get such a contract, Joffe had to pass a personal background check and obtain the government’s highest security clearances. The FBI has denied comment, but one factor could be that the scam was decades ago, and Joffe “reinvented himself” as a cybersecurity expert during the 1990s.

Still, he got involved with a company called PlasmaNet Inc. that has had to pay millions of dollars in fines for deceptive advertising concerning an online lotto scam. He’s even still listed on their board of directors. In spite of this, he was able to move to Washington DC and land “lucrative, security-related contracts with the FBI and Pentagon requiring top secret clearance.”

In 2006, he joined Neustar, which secures and maintains internet servers for federal agencies, including the White House. His position gave him access to the above-mentioned DNS logs, though these are proprietary. And he started advising White House officials, including President Obama, on cybersecurity matters. So now we’re starting to see how Joffe was acquainted with the President, how he might have landed a “sensitive” contract like this and how Obama might possibly have had knowledge of what he was doing to defeat Trump.

“By 2016,” Sperry writes, “[Joffe’s] access to proprietary internet logs became of interest to operatives for the Hillary Clinton campaign, who appear to have offered him a plum job in a Clinton presidency for help on an opposition-research project on Donald Trump.” (Recall that Joffe also mined data from Trump Tower and Trump’s Central Park West apartment building.)

Sperry does not speculate here about how Clinton’s “operatives” learned of his access to these proprietary logs.

Durham apparently has an August 2016 email from Joffe to Team Nerd privately confessing that he knows those “pings” between Trump Tower and Alfa Bank were “legitimate” and “just part of the marketing world.” He also has an email from Joffe’s lead researcher that says, “the only thing that drives us is that we just don’t like [Trump].” This researcher made it clear that he believed even the most salacious stories in the Steele “dossier.”

Sperry’s report lays out numerous criminal statutes that could be invoked. Really, it’s a must-read, as it has details we’re seeing for the first time about Durham’s focus on Joffe’s businesses, contracts and employees. It appears that Neustar as a company had “a level of involvement...that has not been explained.”

A career Justice Department official advised Sperry that Joffe “has friends in high places.” Not only did he personally advise President Obama, but he also was friendly with then-FBI Director James Comey and had done projects for him going back some 15 years. Logs show he visited Obama’s White House several times.

He’s admitted to a surprising lack of technical knowledge, saying he mostly just connects clients with resources they need. Durham apparently is looking at all those connections ---WHOEVER they might be. Given the ones we already know, plus the briefings Obama got from the FBI and CIA, it’s hard to believe that he and his Vice President were not aware on some level of what was going on. It’s up to Durham to get the evidence.

Of course, we've long known that both Obama and Biden were in the Oval Office on January 5, 2017 –- with Comey, Brennan, James Clapper, Susan Rice and Sally Yates –- for a briefing on the “Russia” narrative and the Mike Flynn case. (Recall that Yates was surprised to learn Obama already knew Flynn's calls had been intercepted.) This piece by Mollie Hemingway from May 2020 takes on enormous new significance today.

Oh, yes, Durham’s scope has to include Obama and Biden, and this is one prosecutor whom Biden had better not try to get fired.

Invasion for Real

February 24, 2022

As you surely know by now, last night, Vladimir Putin made good on his threat to invade Ukraine. There’s no hair-splitting about it, it’s a full-on military invasion, including tanks and troops crossing the border and the shelling of the capital city of Kyiv, the largest military attack in Europe since World War II.

Before I get into the details, the most important thing I can do is ask you to join me in praying for the safety of the Ukrainian people, for the return of peace, and although this may sound like too much of a miracle to ask, for Vladimir Putin to realize the evil of his actions and change his heart and mind.

I’m not going to attempt to update you on what's happening, because events are moving too fast. For the latest, here’s a link to a Fox News feed of continually-updated bulletins:

As of this writing (early Thursday morning), there are reports of dozens of people dead. The leader of a Ukrainian emergency response organization said that it appeared Russia was targeting military locations and not civilians, although there is a crush of panicking civilians trying to evacuate. He said so far, Putin was doing exactly what he said he would do. His best case scenario was that he would just attack the military, install a Russian puppet government and pull back without targeting civilians.

Putin threatened that any countries that interfered in his invasion of Ukraine would face “the greatest consequences in history,” not making clear whether he meant cyber warfare, nuclear attack or something else. He also claimed he was reversing the “Nazification” of Ukraine, a bizarre claim considering Ukraine has a Jewish President and a large Jewish population. I wonder where he could have gotten the idea that an autocratic communist could justify crushing his political opponents simply by branding them as “Nazis” first.

Some who watched his TV appearance said he didn’t seem like the same Putin who’s smoothly played the media and attended summit meetings in recent years. No, he seemed like what he has always been: a former KGB thug and Stalin admirer who wants to reassemble the Soviet Union police state. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but too few people these days know real history. Is it only a coincidence that Putin waited to strike until February 23rd, the anniversary of the first mass protests of 1917 that kicked off Russia’s communist revolution?

Just as Russian media misleads the Russian people into thinking that NATO is a threat to Russian sovereignty (it’s actually a purely defensive force against Russian aggression; believe me, nobody wants to take over Russia, certainly not in February), many young people in America have been misled by their teachers into thinking that communism is just “people sharing” and the real evil in the world is the United States.

Well, kids, those Russian tanks and missiles are your rude awakening to reality. You finally get to see the real face of communism that the rest of us grew up with. It’s a tough way to learn what “violence” and “imperialism” really are, and it's not someone building a Chick-Fil-A on your campus.

Putin will do whatever he wants without regard for any threats from the US or NATO. He’s seen weakness, he’s waited for the perfect moment to strike, and after seeing us leave Afghanistan, he’s decided that this is it. And he’s not the only one. Yesterday, China defended Ukraine as an independent nation only so they could warn the world not to confuse Taiwan with one of those because it’s part of China. They went on to make a not-so-veiled threat that implies Beijing has also been emboldened by our weak dealings with Afghanistan and is watching closely to see what Biden does about Ukraine.

At this moment, we’re still waiting to hear what Biden plans to do, although last night, he did reimpose the sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline that he inexplicably lifted less than a year ago.

Maybe that will help bring down the estimated extra $1 billion a day that’s been flowing into Putin’s war chest thanks to high oil and gas prices brought about by targeting America’s fossil fuel industry.

The White House warned that due to the Ukraine crisis and coming sanctions, Americans might be seeing even higher prices at the gas pumps. Gosh, if only there were some way that America could produce its own oil and gas so we wouldn’t be reliant on imports from places like Russia.

There’s a lot more that I could say, but there’s an old tradition in America that’s been ripped up in recent years, but I think it deserves preservation: when America is facing a serious crisis abroad, Americans shouldn’t attack their own President. I think we all know why we, and the world, are in this situation now, so I don’t have to belabor it.

Let’s just say for now that I, and I hope all Americans, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and behind all those who stand up against this barbaric action by Vladimir Putin. And please, pray for Ukraine.

Romney was right about Russia

February 24, 2022

Say what you will about Sen. Mitt Romney, but he was right when he warned during the 2012 presidential campaign that Russia would be America’s biggest security threat. The media laughed, and Obama mockingly said that “the ‘80s called, and they want their foreign policy back.” Well, Romney just responded to the Ukraine invasion by saying, “The ‘80s called, and we didn’t answer.”

He also rightly pointed out how predictable this was because Putin pulled similar assaults against Georgia and Crimea while Obama was in office, not that the media spent much time telling you about that.

Oh, but wait: Mitt just couldn’t get through his statement without taking a slam at Trump and trying to blame Putin’s aggression on Trump’s policy of putting “America First.” So close, Mitt…