Morning Bits

The new State Department spokeswoman is not even intelligible. Or well-informed.

Income tax forms
(Bloomberg)

Not even Ecuador respects us. “Ecuador would consider granting asylum to whistleblower Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee who single- handedly disclosed the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)’s PRISM mass-surveillance program, a top Ecuadorian official said Monday.”

The White House spin has not even been minimally successful on the IRS scandal. “Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.”

Not even success in disrupting dozens of plots against Americans is grounds for far-left and libertarian right to keep its hysteria about the NSA surveillance in check. “Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, said that American surveillance had helped prevent ‘potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,’ including at least 10 ‘homeland-based threats.’ But he said that a vast majority must remain secret [to avoid disclosing sources and methods].”

The FISA court itself may not even be secure. “U.S. intelligence officials were careful to say investigators have not yet concluded there is a mole inside the FISA Court or that the secure databases that store the court warrants have been compromised, only that both prospects were under active investigation. If the secret court has been breached, it would be one of the most significant intelligence failures in U.S. history, potentially giving America’s adversaries a road map to every suspected agent inside the United States currently being watched by the FBI, according to the officials.” I guess Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would find this admirable.

Not even giving right-wing opponents of immigration reform what they want is good enough, it seems. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “I would remind, however, that many of the opponents of this bill are people that have been filing E-Verify bills or have been supporting E-Verify bills for a long time. And the reason is that we understand fundamentally that the driver of illegal immigration are jobs that are available in the United States. And the only way you’re going to cut that off successfully is by having a way for employers and requiring employers in a cost-effective way to verify that the person that they are hiring is legally here. If you don’t do that, if we don’t have a way of doing that, then we’re going to have that magnet for illegal immigration still there.”

Not even Obama can destroy neoconservatism. Elliott Abrams explains that “now in year five of Obama, the neocon critique finds reverberations among Democrats as well. Too many of the administration’s policies — outreach to Iran and to Russia, passivity in Syria, failure to support democratic forces in Iran and more recently Egypt — are making Democrats nervous. A policy of American weakness, a desire to remain out of the fray, and a deeply dubious assessment of American morality may have seemed just the ticket to defeat the GOP in 2008, reacting to George W. Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But will such policies bring victory in 2016, when Obama is gone and those wars are behind the United States?”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | June 18, 2013