President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even Harder

President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even HarderWhen I was in marketing in High Tech, there was always a fantastic dread of tarnishing the brand. Actions that made our company look terrible and causing our potential customers not to buy our products and services.President Trump has taken three actions that are tarnishing the American brand and making our job even harder. “Travel Ban”The first is the ‘Travel Ban’. While the administration maintains it is necessary for national security, the depression is that it is anti-Muslim, a clear go away from America’s tolerance doctrine and a step towards fascism. One article on that topic is from Brookings. (See: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/02/01/first-they-came-for-the-iranians/?utm_campaign=Brookings+Concise&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=41813767, which is also the photo source)“The Wall”Building a wall on the Mexican border is not an effective way to stem the tide of illegal drugs and immigration from that fantastic nation. Even the President’s own Homeland Security Secretary believes it won’t work (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/homeland-security-john-kelly-border-wall.html?_r=0); also a photo source)The Russians tried a wall in Berlin and we know how that worked out(See: http://history.howstuffworks.com/past-events/berlin-wall.htm; and their picture at right).Selling the “American Brand” or influential people around the world that democracy and constitutional freedoms are the best sort of government is hard sufficient. When you tell some ‘you are not welcome’, you are not only denigrating the ideals, but also adage “I despise you!”. While the administration maintains the travel ban is not a ban hostile to Muslims, the world thinks differently, resulting in fantastic danger for people who have helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking in this area interpreters in particular. These native citizens literally place their lives on the line to help US and Coalition troops. By invoking such a draconian go, we are turning our backs on the very people responsible for our success.TortureThe third way President Trump is making our job harder is by espousing the believe that torture is really a productive intelligence technique. (See: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trump-on-torture-again/)It appears that I am in excellent company. Even James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense opposes the ban. (see: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/316356-mattis-ruins-different-to-torture-pentagon-says; which is another photo source)I’ve been an analyst of one kind or another – intelligence, market research or legal analyst for most of my adult life, which has been a sweet long time so far. I’ve also taken more than a couple of sales training courses. I am firmly persuaded that torture is not an effective interrogation technique. Even if that repulsive method was helpful, the amount of information gained would in no way come close to the harm in terms of how many new terrorists have been recruited.I know that the President believes in what he is doing, and strangely sufficient for a politician, really subsequent through with campaign promises. I just wish he would have looked at the larger picture before acting.

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Feds Add New Espionage Act Charge Against Linguist

Last fall, Navy contract linguist James Hitselberger was exciting under the Espionage Act with two counts of unlawful retention of national defense information after several classified documents were allegedly found in his possession.  (See “Document Collector Exciting Under Espionage Statute,” Secrecy News, November 7, 2012.)
Two weeks ago, in a superseding indictment, prosecutors added a third charge of unlawful retention under the Espionage Act, by the side of with three other counts of unauthorized removal of a public confirmation.
Mr. Hitselberger’s public defenders responded with a battery of pre-trial motions, including a new challenge to the constitutionality of the Espionage Act itself.
The defense attorneys said the indictment hostile to Mr. Hitselberger is “multiplicious,” importance that a single offense has been alleged in multiple, redundant counts. This is an impermissible practice that is considered prejudicial to a defendant.  Mulitplicious counts “afford the government an unfair advantage by increasing the likelihood that the jury will convict on at least one count, if only as the result of a compromise verdict.”  The defense questioned the court to compel prosecutors to choose between Count One and Count Two, “both of which charge the same offense of unlawful retention of national defense information.”
Defense attorneys also went for a “bill of particulars” to require the government to identify exactly which “national defense information” Mr. Hitselberger is accused of unlawfully retaining in violation of the Espionage Act.
“Even if the documents at issue here are classified and the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt the Mr. Hitselberger retained them, the government must establish that information within these documents constitutes national defense information…. [Yet] much (if not all) of the information contained in the documents is publicly available information…. In order to prepare for trial lacking needlessly preparing to respond to irrelevant information or guessing at what the government deems relevant, defense counsel must be directed to the parts of the documents that the government claims constitute national defense information.”
But perhaps the most fascinating shift filed by the defense, and one which adds a dimension beyond the particular facts of Mr. Hitselberger’s case, questions the court to find the unlawful retention statute of the Espionage Act unconstitutionally vague.
Every leak prosecution has included a defense challenge to the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, nearly as a matter of course.  The constitutionality of the Act has consistently been upheld, though sometimes with limiting factors forced by the court.  In any event, the Hitselberger shift, filed by public defenders A.J. Kramer and Mary Manning Petras, carefully distinguishes the contemporary matter from previous cases.  At several points the shift included striking insights from Melville Nimmer and other legal scholars to bolster its argument.  The result is something more than a pro forma gesture.
The Espionage Act prohibition on unlawful retention of national defense information (18 USC 793e) “is a statute of alarming breadth and small classification,” the defense attorneys concluded. “Because the statute is vague, this Court should dismiss Counts One, Two and Three of the indictment.”
Other motions filed by the defense and the prosecution are posted here.
Mr. Hitselberger is not accused of espionage, nor is he suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign power.

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