Obama Blows Off Putin, Encouraging Kremlin Aggression Against NATO

U.S. President just ignored his Cuban Missile Crisis

Late last week, Vladimir Putin went all-in and executed the brazen geopolitical move of transporting nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea north of Poland that’s surrounded by NATO countries.

As I told you on Friday, the Kremlin’s deployment of Iskander missiles, what NATO calls SS-26s, into Kaliningrad is a direct challenge to the Atlantic Alliance, since it puts all of Poland and the Baltic republics into range for a sudden nuclear strike. An Iskander’s flight time from Kaliningrad to Warsaw is just two minutes, so NATO would functionally have no warning.

In military terms, this is a game-changer for the Baltic region. Politically, it’s deeply destabilizing too. It’s nothing less than a regional version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Moscow placing nuclear missiles close to the Western camp for strategic advantage. Why Putin would do this when Obama has just three months left in the White House is the key question—and answering it reveals disturbing truths. As I said on Friday:

This constitutes a direct challenge to Washington by Moscow—and by Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama, personally. The KGB officer in the Kremlin is seeking to get in one last, grand strategic humiliation for our president before he leaves office. And why not? Such reckless antics have worked well for the Russians so far, given Obama’s preference to avert eyes and hope for the best whenever Moscow misbehaves.

The Kremlin’s no longer hiding its actions, even when they are profoundly destabilizing to European security. Knowing that President Obama will do nothing, Moscow is now openly boasting of its Iskander gambit. Stating the move is “no secret” and just part of military drills, Kremlin media isn’t shying away from the story.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Me, The Observer, and The Donald

Since last autumn I’ve been writing about national security for The Observer, the New York-based newspaper. It’s been a lot of fun and you can see all of my columns here.

Several of those columns have covered Hillary Clinton’s on-going problems with her email when she served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term. That mess, what I’ve termed EmailGate, continues to dog Hillary’s presidential campaign and my coverage is probably not overly appreciated by Team Clinton.

To be clear, EmailGate has made me join ranks with the #NeverHillary faction. I believe her willful mishandling of her communications at Foggy Bottom — the ridiculous bathroom server, the dodging of numerous laws that apply to the rest of us, the compromise of seriously classified information, above all the flagrant lying about it that continues to this very day — shows she is not fit to be our commander-in-chief. Hillary simply cannot be trusted.

I’ve never been a Hillary hater, as I’ve explained on this blog. Before EmailGate, I considered Ms.Clinton to be a respectable, if somewhat laughable politician, who never hid her naked ambition very well. That said, I assessed her as competent and rather non-ideological (from me, that’s a compliment). I believed Hillary, whatever her faults, could make the trains run on time. Now that EmailGate has laid bare Hillary’s staggering incompetence and dishonesty, any admiration I possessed has evaporated.

Hillary’s fans, who cannot rebut my commentary on EmailGate with facts, have taken to name-calling on social media, including noting that The Observer is owned by Jared Kushner, who happens to be Donald Trump’s son-in-law. Jared is married to Ivanka Trump, who enjoys an exceptionally close relationship with her father, and the media have reported that Mr. Kushner is playing an important role in Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Hillary’s defenders have implied that my writings for The Observer constitute some sort of Trump campaign operation to attack their candidate. Some have also noted that Ken Kurson, the paper’s editor in chief, has written a speech for Mr. Trump on Israel. Since Mr. Kushner and Mr. Kurson are both Jewish, there is a nasty whiff of anti-Semitism in some of the accusations coming from Hillary’s fans.

Allow me to be perfectly clear. I write what I like for The Observer. Never — that is: not ever — have Jared or Ken asked me to write anything (or just as important, not to write anything) about Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton. Neither have they edited anything I’ve written on any issue for political effect. They wanted the Full Schindler, so they get him.

My feelings about The Donald are complex, as my regular readers know. When he entered the race almost a year ago I considered him to be a novel (if slightly risible) breath of fresh air and I valued his ability to force the GOP to discuss important national issues that the party establishment had kept a lid on for many years. That said, I noted Mr. Trump’s flaws as a presidential candidate and assessed that he had zero chance of becoming the Republican nominee in 2016. Like pretty much every other pundit in America, I was wrong.

As I’m a member of the #NeverHillary faction, The Donald will have my support this November if he is anointed the GOP’s nominee in Cleveland, which looks virtually certain to be the case. That support is not without certain reservations — Mr. Trump’s views on national security frequently seem half-formed while his reliance on advisers with ties to Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin troubles me, as I’ve noted many times on Twitter — but given the choice, it’s not a tough call for me. As I observed in my column yesterday, Mr. Trump may not be quite up on some key issues, but at least he’s not under investigation by the FBI for espionage and corruption.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton who wish to counter my analysis of EmailGate are free to do so. Commenters who know more about intelligence than I do will get my full attention. Otherwise keep it down while adults are talking. And lay off unfounded accusations of bias, secret Trump machinations, and hints of Jewish conspiracy. I am my own man, that’s why a lot of you read me. And I will keep it up. Enjoy.


The XX Committee Hillary EmailGate Reader

As the big story has developed over the last year regarding Hillary’s problems with her email and her “private” server of bathroom infamy when she was Secretary of State, I’ve been out front on this case, breaking a lot of exclusive stories and providing my unique insights based on my own time in the intelligence business.

For the sake of convenience, particularly for readers who are seeking one-stop-shopping on EmailGate, just as I’ve done with my extensive work on the Edward Snowden debacle, below you’ll find my work on this case — op-eds, extended analysis, blog posts, even a couple extended media interviews on all things EmailGate. Enjoy!

Since Hillary’s strange travails with IT and mishandling official secrets appear to be far from over, this is a living document: I’ll add new links as they appear.

How EmailGate Weakened America’s National Security (01 Jun 2016)

Game Over: EmailGate Just Crippled the Clinton Express (26 May 2016)

Panama Papers Reveal Clinton’s Kremlin Connection (07 Apr 2016)

Hillary Has an NSA Problem (18 Mar 2016)

NYT Report Debunks Severity of EmailGate With Classic Clintonian Wordsmithing (04 Mar 2016)

National Security Disasters and the Latest Clinton Email Dump (06 Feb 2016)

Hillary Clinton Put Spies’ Lives at Risk (01 Feb 2016)

Why Hillary’s EmailGate Matters (28 Jan 2016)

Hillary’s EmailGate Goes Nuclear (09 Jan 2016)

Hillary’s Email Troubles Are Far From Over (19 Oct 2015)

Spies Don’t Buy Hillary’s Email Excuses (10 Sep 2015)

Hillary’s Sources, Methods, and Lies (09 Sep 2015)

What Russian Intelligence Knows About Hillary Clinton (01 Sep 2015)

Hillary’s EmailGate: Understanding Security Classification (16 Sep 2015)

Will Hillary’s Emails Burn the White House? (03 Sep 2015)

Hillary’s Mounting EmailGate Troubles (26 Aug 2016)

EmailGate Gets Worse for Hillary Clinton (24 Aug 2015)

The Spy Satellite Secrets in Hillary’s Emails (12 Aug 2015)

John Schindler on the Buck Sexton Show

The other day I was on the Buck Sexton Show to discuss myriad hot-button national security issues, including Hillary’s EmailGate, the Syrian mess, Apple and the FBI, and the positions of the GOP presidential candidates on defense and security matters.

It’s a fun interview, including my take-down of Senator Cruz, so if you missed it and have fifteen minutes to spare, enjoy here!

The XX Committee Lexicon

My writings involve a lot of abbreviations and acronyms. It’s a habit long ingrained from my service in America’s military and intelligence services, plus it’s a space-saver, particularly online.

However, I regularly get asked, “What the hell does XYZ stand for?” — it’s easy to forget that to normals it’s all an impenetrable alphabet soup — so here’s a list of some of the mysterious letter combinations you’ll frequently encounter here. Hope this helps!


AFRICOM = US Africa Command

ASD = Australian Signals Directorate (i.e. Oz’s NSA)

ASIO  = Australian Security Intelligence Organization (i.e. domestic intelligence)

ASIS = Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Down Under’s UK SIS equivalent)

BfV = German Domestic Intelligence Service [1]

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front

BND = German Federal Intelligence Service (their CIA + NSA) [2]

CENTCOM = US Central Command (i.e. the Pentagon’s Middle East HQ)

CI = Counterintelligence

CIA = Central Intelligence Agency (AKA Christians in Action)

COMSEC = Communications Security

CONUS = Continental United States

COS = Chief of Station (CIA)

CSEC = Communications Security Establishment Canada (i.e. their NSA)

CSIS = Canadian Security Intelligence Service (i.e. domestic intelligence)

CYBERCOM = US Cyber Command (its commander is dual-hatted as DIRNSA)

DEVGRU = US Naval Special Warfare Development Group (“SEAL Team SIX”)

DGSE = French Foreign Intelligence Service (their CIA + NSA) [3]

DGSI = French Domestic Intelligence Service [4]

DIA = Defense Intelligence Agency (AKA Do It Again)

DIRNSA = Director, NSA

DNI = Director of National Intelligence (USA)

DoD = Department of Defense (AKA The Pentagon, The Five Sided Funny Farm)

DoS = Department of State (AKA Foggy Bottom)

EUCOM = US European Command

FBI = Federal Bureau of Investigation (AKA The Bureau, The Feebs)

FCI = Foreign Counterintelligence

FIS = Foreign Intelligence Service

FSB = Russian Federal Security Service (i.e. domestic intelligence) [5]

FVEY = Five Eyes (i.e. the US+UK+CAN+AUS+NZ SIGINT Alliance)

GCHQ = Government Communications Headquarters (i.e. UK’s NSA)

GCSB = Government Communications Security Bureau (i.e. New Zealand’s NSA)

GRU = Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (i.e. MI) [6]

HoIS = Hostile Intelligence Service

HMG = Her Majesty’s Government (UK)

HUMINT = Human Intelligence

IMINT = Imagery Intelligence

INFOSEC = Information Security

INR = Bureau of Intelligence & Research (DoS)

IRGC = Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (AKA Pasdaran)

JSOC = Joint Special Operations Command (the spooky part of SOCOM)

KGB = Soviet State Security Committee [7]

KOS = Yugoslav (Communist) Military Counterintelligence Service [8]

MFA = Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MI = Military Intelligence

MoD = Ministry of Defense

MOIS = Iranian Ministry of Intelligence & Security (AKA VEVAK)

NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NGA = National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

NIC = National Intelligence Council

NIO = National Intelligence Officer (the folks who mostly staff the NIC)

NOC = Non-Official Cover

NODISSEM = Not for Dissemination

NOFORN = Not for Dissemination to Foreigners

NRO = National Reconnaissance Office

NSA = National Security Agency (AKA No Such Agency)

NSOC = National Security Operations Center (NSA)


OFCO = Offensive Counterintelligence

PACOM = US Pacific Command

POTUS = President of the United States

RUMINT = Rumor Intelligence (i.e. information of dubious reliability)

SAD = CIA Special Activities Division (i.e. paramilitary ops)

SAP = Special Access Program

SCI = Sensitive Compartmented Information

SCIF = Sensitive Compartmented Information facility

SECDEF = Secretary of Defense

SECSTATE = Secretary of State

SIGINT = Signals Intelligence

SIS = UK Secret Intelligence Service (AKA MI6)

SITREP = Situation Report

SOCOM = US Special Operations Command

SOF = Special Operations Forces

SOUTHCOM = US Southern Command (i.e. the Pentagon’s Latin America HQ)

SPETSNAZ = Russian SOF, subordinate to GRU [9]

SSBI = Single Scope Background Investigation

SSO = Staff Security Officer

SVR = Russian Foreign Intelligence Service [10]

TAO = NSA Tailored Access Operations (i.e. NSA’s hacking org)

UDBA  = Yugoslav (Communist) State Security [11]

USG = United States Government



[1] Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

[2] Bundesnachrichtendienst

[3] Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure

[4] Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure

[5] Федеральная служба безопасности

[6] Главное разведывательное управление

[7] Комитет государственной безопасности

[8] Kontraobaveštajna služba

[9] Derived from Войска специального назначения

[10] Служба внешней разведки

[11] Uprava državne bezbednosti




This is What Max Hastings Did. Is this Plagiarism? You Decide.

Several months ago I made the unpleasant discovery that sections of the 2013 best-selling book Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Sir Max Hastings, the prolific British popular historian, looked an awful lot like one of my scholarly articles. Of course, plagiarism is among the gravest of charges among historians so I explained the situation in open-letter format, a post on my blog, expecting some sort of a reply from Hastings or his publisher. As I have received no reply of any sort, although I know through third parties that Hastings is aware of the matter, it’s time to explain this matter in detail – and let you decide if this is plagiarism or not.

Chapter Four of Hastings’ book is titled “Disaster on the Drina”1 – which just happens to be the title of my article published in the academic journal War in History eleven years before.2 Nowhere does Hastings mention that he has “borrowed” my article title for his chapter title. Both discuss the ill-fated Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia in August 1914. This is especially germane because “Disaster on the Drina” is the also the title of a chapter in my newly released book Fall of the Double Eagle: The Battle for Galicia and the Demise of Austria-Hungary.

Is this plagiarism?

Read the rest at History News Network

What’s Next in the Terrifying, Unraveling Russo-Turkish Crisis

The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber jet on November 24 by a Turkish F-16 fighter on the Turkish-Syrian border, where the two air forces have been playing high-speed cat-and-mouse games for months, opened a new and dangerous phase in an international crisis that’s long been brewing on low-boil.

Although President Recep Erdoğan’s Turkey and President Vladimir Putin’s Russia are ancestral foes, in recent years the countries had enjoyed a cordial relationship with subsde between them and significant alignments on many security issues, notwithstanding the former’s NATO membership going back to the early Cold War. As the Middle East has gone up in flames since the Arab Spring, a Russo-Turkish partnership might have gone a long way in preventing wider conflagration.

Alas, any regional cooperation between Ankara and Moscow has broken up on Syrian rocks, with the two countries pursuing contrary goals in that sad country, which has experienced the torments of hell since its civil war began in spring 2011. While Mr. Putin has backed its proxy—the Assad dictatorship in Damascus—to the hilt, Mr. Erdoğan has quietly supported anti-Assad guerrilla groups with equal determination.

Read the rest at the New York Observer

Islamic State Raids in Macedonia

Last night, police and intelligence forces in Macedonia raided multiple locations in the small Balkan country, seeking to root out the Islamic State infrastructure that has established a foothold in recent years.

According to Macedonian press reports, Operation Cell, which had been planned since late September, was executed in several locations in the capital Skopje as well as the provincial cities of Gostivar, Tetovo, Kumanovo and Struga, Specific sites where police conducted searches included Skopje’s Tutunsuz mosque, which known for its radicalism, an internet cafe, and two unnamed NGOs, as well as more than two dozen residences.

Nine suspected Islamic State militants have been arrested, including Rechep Memishi, the imam of the Tutunsuz mosque, who is considered by Macedonian state security to be the group’s ideological ringleader. In all, three dozen arrest warrants were issued; the missing men, twenty-seven in all, are believed to be abroad, fighting with the Islamic State in the Middle East.

path_2393The men in custody range from nineteen to forty-nine years of age and will face criminal charges of aid to terrorism and supporting illegal paramilitary organizations. Among the items confiscated by police include several computers, SIM cards, significant amounts of cash, a gas pistol, and brass knuckles, while an Islamic State flag was seized at the Tutunsuz mosque (left).

Macedonian intelligence assesses that 130 of its citizens, mainly ethnic Albanians, have gone abroad to wage jihad with the Islamic State, of whom sixteen are believed to have been killed.

Operation Cell, which was planned in coordination with multiple partner intelligence services, appears to be an important success in the struggle against terrorism and radicalism in Southeastern Europe. Given the fragile state of interethnic relations in Macedonia, including large-scale still-murky terrorist acts, as well as string-pulling by Putin’s Russia, it’s imperative that Skopje gets a handle on its Islamic State problem. This seems to be a step in the right direction.

UPDATE (1315 EST, 6 AUG): latest reports from Skopje indicate that the NGOs raided last night are Spark of Mercy (Искра на милоста) and Islamic Youth-Saraj (Исламска младина-Сарај), which are suspected radical fronts. Police seized a total of 38 computers, 18 laptops, 18 tablets and 119 phones. The Interior Ministry has stated that those arrested have “some overlap” with the Kumanovo radical group, which is blamed by Skopje for recent terrorist attacks in Macedonia.

Trump and Hitler’s Recreated Bodyguard

Yesterday the presidential campaign of billionaire reality star Donald Trump took a turn for the weird, even by his impressive standards. As I’ve previously noted, Trump’s strange campaign, which seems to have gained impressive traction with many grassroots Republicans, has raised some important issues notwithstanding the crass language The Donald has often used to make his points. Moreover, Trump has been praised by even his opponents for his savvy use of social media, especially Twitter, where the real estate mogul has over three million followers.

CJ5ZTjdWsAAVRhFWherever Trump’s unique political caravan is headed, it’s safe to say that his reputation as a social media genius won’t recover from yesterday. It was discovered — ok, I discovered and told everybody online — that a new campaign ad (left), tweeted out by Trump’s account — a frankly tacky montage of the American flag, Trump’s visage, the White House, a stack of Benjamins (of course), and some armed troops — had a problem. A big problem.

The troops depicted at the bottom, you see, weren’t American. No GI Joes here. Who exactly was Trump recommending help him #MakeAmericaGreatAgain? Oddly, Germans. Worse, they were World War II Germans — you know, when the guy with that trim mustache was destroying Europe and genociding millions.

I don’t know how many people out of a million would notice that something was “off” with Trump’s new ad, but one person did. An observant follower tweeted an important question at me about who these camouflaged guys were.

CJ5L9nIW8AUOUUfUpon close examination (right), I immediately realized that these were not just Wehrmacht (meaning regular German military) troops, but soldiers from the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite political army that was responsible for war crimes on every front where it fought. The Waffen-SS, made up of fanatical fighters who battled for Hitlerism without restraint, was judged a criminal organization by the Nuremberg Tribunal (with exemptions only for those conscripted into its ranks in the war’s last two years such as Günter Grass, the heralded left-wing novelist who — whoops — for decades lied about his Waffen-SS service).

So these really aren’t the guys you want stumping for you if you want to be the president of the United States.

My very first job was in a military museum, I’m a historian, and I’m well acquainted with militaria and uniforms, so for a trained eye like mine knowing that the guys in the picture were Waffen-SS was an easy call. As I told the media, “Some people can tell a ’56 Chevy from a ’57 easily, some of us can tell German uniforms easily.”

Specifically, the camouflage worn by some troops in the photo was issued only to the SS in the last year of the war. Additionally, the placement of the SS eagle and a unit cuff title on the left arms is a dead giveaway that it’s not the normal Wehrmacht we’re dealing with here. Let some of my tweets do the talking:

Today a Twitter follower sent me a high-resolution version of the original photograph that Trump’s campaign used, and on it you can read the cuff-title on the soldiers’ left arms. It is unmistakably this one (below).images

That’s the cuff title — yes, it says Adolf Hitler — of the 1st SS Panzer Division, the most elite unit of a very elite force. Officially it was termed the “Leibstandarte (Bodyguard Regiment) Adolf Hitler,” charged with protecting the Führer’s life.

That storied division, which began as Hitler’s personal bodyguard in the early days of Nazism, fought on many fronts throughout World War II and earned a reputation for determination and viciousness. The Leibstandarte Division is best known to Americans as the perpetrators of the Malmedy massacre in mid-December 1944, at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, when 84 American POWs were murdered by SS troops from the 1st Division.

nazi_424The picture in question is actually of recent vintage. It soon emerged that it was taken a few years ago in England, at a living history event. Yes, there really are people who run around in Nazi uniforms for fun. They exist in the United States too, where guys pretend to be the very same 1st SS Panzer Division. This group of Leibstandarte “reenactors” is nearly a battalion strong. Back in 2010, a Republican running for Congress in Ohio got into hot water when it emerged, with pictures (above), that he liked to put on Waffen-SS garb on the weekends.

Thus was #WaffenSSGate born. Trump pulled down his tweet once the mistake was realized and the blame was soon placed, predictably, on an intern. In 1945, “I was only following orders” worked; in 2015, “the intern did it” is preferred.

I doubt that this embarrassing mistake will do much to tar Trump’s reputation among Americans who like his blustery and bombastic style. His poll numbers continually rise. On the other hand, when you already stand accused of racism by many people, pushing Hitler’s elite troops isn’t a good visual for your campaign.

I always advocate people learning more history. This little debacle makes my point for me nicely.

A Brief Intelligence Reality Check

Our right wing is in a flutter over recently declassified and released Pentagon intelligence documents regarding Middle Eastern events in recent years. FoxNews is blaring about failures to miss the rise of the Islamic State and (of course) about Benghazi, in its customary way, but without much context.

Worse is this piece, which has a pronouncedly conspiratorial bent, implying that the Pentagon was somehow in on the rise of the Islamic State — which is precisely what Tehran and Moscow want you to think. The documents in question, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a right-wing group, can be seen in full here, but the report generating the most heat, if not light, is this one.

This is an early August 2012 field report to the Defense Intelligence Agency, known in the trade as an Intelligence Information Report or IIR. As it states clearly, this is an “information report, not finally evaluated intelligence.” Its contents are deemed explosive by those seeking explosions. According to outraged observers online, this DIA IIR is “proof” that “the Pentagon” and “the Intelligence Community” knew more about the rise of the Islamic State than they let on. At best, they’re fools; at worst, they’re deceivers who have lied to the American people.

It’s time for a reality check. Having written my share of IIRs, let me explain a few things to you. First off, this report, which is classified SECRET/NOFORN (i.e. it’s far from “highly classified”) is so heavily redacted that it’s difficult to say much meaningful about it. Who filed this IIR has been taken out, and its distribution list (at least what we can see of it) is the usual alphabet soup of DoD and IC headquarters and agencies. Nothing special here, not one bit.

As for the pronouncements in this IIR, which are taken as highly meaningful by the conspiracy-minded, they are routine, the sort of thing found in the thousands of IIRs that DIA generates annually, on a wide range of subjects. Is this the take of a U.S. defense attaché somewhere in the Middle East, and therefore a reflection of his/her personal views only? Is this the rant of someone who claims good access, who may (or may not) have that? Are these the ramblings of a partner security service — in other words, glorified hall gossip — that an attaché felt obliged to report back in that mixture of “FYI” and “CYA” that dominates inside the Beltway? Given the heavy redactions, it’s simply impossible to say.

What we can say with certainty, however, is that this IIR is not the view of “the Defense Intelligence Agency” or “the Pentagon,” much less “the Intelligence Community.” The IC is a sprawling enterprise of seventeen different agencies, some of which don’t play well with each other. Plus, not to put too fine a point on this, DIA isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the IC shed, being viewed as a bit of an also-ran by CIA and NSA, who are the Big Dogs of American intelligence in terms of mission, budgets, and prestige.

This is but one IIR, whose provenance we know basically nothing about. Don’t read too much into it. There is nothing conspiratorial here to those who understand the IC. Raw intelligence like this is often wide of the mark, and DIA’s reputation here is less than stellar. Has everybody forgotten about CURVEBALL so soon?

I am pretty critical of the Obama administration’s policy towards the Islamic State, as I’ve written about many times, and it’s clear that calling them the “JV team” was a stupid mistake. As I’ve reported, there has been robust debate inside the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community for several years about what the Islamic State exactly is, and what should be done about, and it’s safe to say that most of DoD and the IC today are out of step with the White House’s soft-touch approach to its pseudo-war against this virulent and fanatical enemy.

This lone IIR is but a single data point that serious analysts will not get worked up over, as opposed to those who have ideological axes to grind, to say nothing of the tinfoil-hat brigade. After 9/11, the Intelligence Community was exhorted to “connect the dots” better. I would caution all to observe that this is a mere dot, one whose provenance and reliability we do not know.

On a final note, let me add that, while I am in favor of the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community releasing more classified documents to promote greater public understanding — an area where this administration, contrary to its grandiose promises of transparency, has a dismal track record — releasing documents that are so heavily redacted as to be almost incomprehensible does not actually promote understanding of complex issues, rather the contrary.