One if you had done me a lovely guest post, on the run, about why searching for “nuclear secrets” in Trump’s house made as much sense as panning for gold in your shower. And I’ll post it below.
But hours after he sent it to me the story had changed. It was obvious they’d gone to everything in Trump’s house on a fishing expedition, and they were talking crazy cakes charges.
None of this makes any sense. It would flop as comedy, because it’s too frigging stupid.
… So, I used to have a bad habit of reading about dictators and the revolutions that overturned them. Okay, I still do, but not as obsessively.
This was my go-back-to-reading from about 14 to 40, when the world stopped making sense.
And what I can tell you is that none of the worst regimes made any sense. Unless you assume everyone in China had lost their minds, Mao should have been laughed off public life long before he killed hundreds of thousands, or perhaps a million or so.
So, what gives? At some point our mind goes “It can’t be that ridiculous” and we start treating completely insane claims as though they made ANY sense. Or at least normal people do.
It’s time not to let it. It’s time to get out there and mock, mock, mock. We have our work cut out for us. BUT it must be done. Because when things get that ridiculous, mass death is just around the corner.
Evil is stupid. Invincibly stupid. So stupid that humans, normal humans, have trouble PROCESSING it. But the stupid must be shown and mocked.
If we are to save civilization.
Laugh them off the stage. It’s now or never.
The FBI At Mar-a-Largo by Bob Stultus
While I’m definitely not a PhD, nor a rocket scientist, nor someone with first hand knowledge, I can think, which is apparently more than any journalists can do.
Immediate Reactions to Hearing that the FBI was looking for ‘Nuclear Secrets’
a) I can’t think of any reason that Trump would have any interest in nuclear weapons documents.
b) okay, his uncle was a prof, and studied irradiating stuff, but still.
c) if someone was interested in giving the documents to someone, why on earth keep them around?
d) Los Alamos primer has been declassified for years. Do these people even understand the difference between the Los Alamos primer, versus stuff it would be helpful to keep secure?
e) I was wondering what evidence they hoped to plant.
f) There are not a lot of reasons to think that the classification system is really working all that well. At least from the outside. Considering all the apparent security compromises.
g) It seems very likely that someone could have deliberately misinterpreted Q-anon into ‘nuclear secrets’. The Q in Q-anon was a deliberate reference to, guess what, a classification level relating to nuclear secrets. Documents on Q-Anon are actually things that would be of possible interest to Trump.
Again, classified nuclear documents can only contain so many things.
One possibility is detailed physics information, that could be used by skilled physicists or nuclear engineers to design a nuclear explosive. This is pretty useless if you do not have the scientists or engineers, or do not want to make or refine a design for a nuclear explosive.
Another possibility, would be design details, or a design. Again, this is something where you would need specialized scientists or engineers to even use, and building a design requires materials and technicians. Basically, is anyone equipped to use a design, who does not already have access to designs?
The people making bombs are mostly either people with crappy enough manufacturing that maybe more designs would really be useless for them (China, Russia, etc), or probably have designs good enough for anything they might actually want to do (our NATO ‘allies’, Japan, etc.).
Again, this stuff is not really recreational reading. You can dumb complex technical stuff down so that it isn’t gobbledegook for a general audience, but then it is usually too simple to build anything complicated with. Stuff that you can design from is going to require graduate degrees to read, basically. Or, you are talking about an extensive set of measured drawings prepared for a great number of different sorts of technician. And, blueprints are inflexible, you need to be able to adjust the design if you happen to be unable to replicate components.
Basically, it seems like it would be pretty strange for Trump to have anything like this. It would also be pretty strange to send 15 FBI agents from HQ to recover those documents.
One, that maybe isn’t enough people to securely remove everything if we are talking a bunch of blue prints.
Two, how would FBI agents know actual nuclear secrets from Q-Anon from a print of Rhodes. ‘the making of the atom bomb’?
FBI actually has been trying to hire engineers, etc.
But, the most frequent FBI hire is a lawyer.
To recognize special nuclear secrets, the FBI agents would need to be briefed in them, or trained in them.
Which is a potential security compromise.
You would actually want a narrow circle of investigators trained in those secrets, if you want to share them at all broadly. Like might be employed by, say, a specialized security service? That isn’t the FBI?
Caveats, Late at night, in response to a comment about blue prints requirements for a house:
Now, I could be wildly miss-estimating the complexity of the information.
Single story houses can be pretty complicated.
Maybe someone figured out a really simple set of secrets about nuclear devices.
If so, I should not be provided that information because the FBI caused a mess due to never hearing of subtlety or discretion.
Knowing that something can be done is sometimes the most important thing.
But, yeah, I strongly suspect that the most truth in the statement would be if they were misrepresenting an investigation into Q-anon.
Caveats this morning
1. Trump is a salesman who has worked in real estate for decades of his life. The type of person who would be interested in nuclear physics documents for the sake of recreational reading would have made different life choices, and exhibit different strengths.
2. His uncle, John Trump, was an MIT professor. His early work was in radar, which is an entirely different sort of radiation, electromagnetic waves, aka radio waves and microwaves. Radar has significant military applications. John Trump’s later work was in civilian/medical applications. Water treatment, medical imaging, and other forms of medicine. I’m not familiar enough with his later work to say exactly which kinds of radiation, nor describe the applications.
3. Obama basically deliberately caused the compromise of a bunch of personal information of everyone in the Federal government, the GAO breech. Between Clinton, and Obama, there may be no secrets left to hand out to hostile foreign powers.
3i Okay, it is still not good to give more help to foreign powers, but foreign powers generally have trouble implementing the capabilities that we still preserve a monopoly on, even with help from us.
3ii. Yes, new capabilities were developed under Trump. When you look at open sources about what they were trying to develop, or to open sources about what the academic world is learning how to do, fancy new secrets with nuclear explosives are not the ones that jump out at you. Russia, Iran, and PRC were lying about their delivery capabilities, people would have been interested in interception. It has also been a while since we have tested any warhead designs.
3iii General level of government incompetence leaves me far from confident that classification of technical information would make any sense what so ever if I had any access to it. Okay, sure there is probably a bunch of stuff buried in there that should stay buried. There is almost certainly a lot of stuff that would be about impossible to understand without the sort of career that would get you access in the first place. The open source textbooks that you can buy get into ‘takes years of study to understand’ territory real fast. The basic principle that I should not have any access that I do not actually need is probably sound.
4. The reason Q anon is called Q anon is the claim of having the Department of Energy’s Q clearance. The Department of Energy has a clearance system of its own, Q and L.
Checking wikipedia, the Department of Energy has the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, which does all of that for the DoE. Now, it is possible that the DoD has an office that covers the counterintelligence for some specific work done on nuclear secrets under a DoD umbrella. That office is likewise one that may be really jealous of just handing information to the FBI, and letting the FBI act on said information without involvement outside of the FBI. And, wiki mentions a Turchie who resigned in 2008, complaining about changes being made to the DoE OIC that Turchie felt compromised counter intelligence. (In 2006, Bush decided to combine the DoE intelligence and counter-intelligence operations.)