Spanberger Vs. Trump

Rep. Abigail Spanberger

By Peter Galuszka

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th District, continues to draw international attention as a “New Look” Democrat from Virginia who is savvy about the intelligence community and global affairs.

The former CIA case officer was featured on CNN criticizing the administration of Donald Trump for ignoring reports that Russian military intelligence had paid bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops and members of the pro-U.S. coalition there.

Her comments were picked up by the British newspaper, the Guardian. This may be the first time that a woman Member of Congress has gotten so much exposure beyond borders of the Old Dominion.

Neither Dave Brat nor Eric Cantor, her Republican predecessors in the 7th district that includes parts of the once reliably Red Richmond suburbs of Chesterfield and Henrico, has gotten such exposure. The only other woman who has come close is U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat and former Navy officer who represents the 2nd District that includes Virginia Beach, another area that was once reliably Red.

On CNN June 30, Spanberger said that as a former CIA official she has “a lot of questions about who knew what when and what the next steps are.”

The New York Times and The Washington Post have reported that last year, perhaps earlier, U.S. intelligence officials and Special Forces troops had received information that a unit of the Russia GRU (Glavnoye Razvedatelnoye Upravledniye) was making cash payments to the Taliban for each U.S. solider or Marine killed.

The information was sent to defense and intelligence officials in Washington and was placed in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a tip sheet of some of the biggest security concerns that the White House needs to know. The White House has claimed the information was too uncertain to be brought to Trump’s attention. There is evidence that it was placed in Trump’s PDF and he did not read it. Some accounts claim that the intelligence was available perhaps as early as February.

Spanberger told CNN: “What concerns me most about these reports is that the Russian government was putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers and our government took no action at the time when the president of the United States was still lobbying for Russia to be included in a G-7 summit, knowing that his government was responsible for the potential deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan . . .”

She said that she knows from her CIA experience that nothing gets put in the PDF unless it is vetted and thought credible. “I am beyond words at times over thisIt’s just shameful and it’s so highly disappointing,” she said.

Spanberger and Luria have grabbed attention in their interviews and letters to newspaper editors. One such letter broke a logjam that was keeping the House of Representatives from considering Trump’s impeachment. The House did impeach Trump but the Senate did not approve removing him from office.

To be sure, the Russians have for years smarted over their decade-long incursion into Afghanistan that cost the lives of 15,000 Soviet soldiers. What turned the tide was the introduction, under President Ronald Reagan, of shoulder-held Stringer missiles that were used to shoot down numerous Soviet helicopters and other aircraft.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ordered the troops withdrawn in January 1989. Working as a U.S. correspondent, I watched the withdrawal across a bridge from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan.

Spanberger, who won her seat in 2018, has been targeted by the state GOP. One possible opponent is Nick Freitas, a former Army Special Forces soldier. Freitas, who has raised $627,078 according to the Virginia Public Access Project, has stumbled since he failed to file certain election documents. He did the same thing in the 2018 race.

Spanberger has been deemed so important to the Democrats that she has raised $4,328,393, according to VPAP.

The Russian bounty matter isn’t going away. The New York Times reported today that U.S. officials have found evidence of bank transfers from the GRU to the Taliban.

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38 responses to “Spanberger Vs. Trump

  1. I notice that even now , Cook rates Spanburgers district as R+5.

    and the GOP is planning to take that district back……..

    assuming the GOP can get their act together……

    • 115 have resigned, retired, or been defeated since 2018.

      We have had a few Trump-endorsed candidates this year who were primaried from the even further out in nutland than they. That party is showing that, in some districts, the party is running against Trump from both the left side of the party and the right side.

      Gonna be interesting in November.

  2. If she’s a former CIA officer and wasn’t aware that the Russia’s have been doing this since they stopped being our “friends” in 1945 she wasn’t very good at her job.

    All she’s doing is riding the outrage train because the public lacks the knowledge about what’s been occurring since FDR was cutting backroom deals with Stalin.

    Learn History.

  3. She said that she knows from her CIA experience that nothing gets put in the PDF unless it is vetted and thought credible. “I am beyond words at times over this…It’s just shameful and it’s so highly disappointing,” she said.

    Then explain WHY Trump was briefed on the so -called unverified, uncorroborated Steele dossier?

    Many sources have stated that the so called ‘bounty’ was not verified and that multiple IC agencies disagreed with its veracity. It was also reported such information first came to US attention in 2015.

    I’ve briefed the PDB; from what I’ve read i doubt it was in the PDB; it might have been verbally briefed as ‘unverified, uncorroborated’.

    I find it interesting that all these politicians are up in arms that ‘intelligence’1 from a single source was not acted upon.

    When was the last time unverified, uncorroborated intelligence from a single source was used for US action?

    Oh that’s right — CURVEBALL which stated the Iraqis has mobile chemical weapons facilities [WMD]……the result was the Iraqi War.

    1 the term intelligence has many meanings in the IC: information from a source, the act of analyzing such information, and the product created for policy makers.

  4. “Then explain WHY Trump was briefed on the so -called unverified, uncorroborated Steele dossier?”

    Because he was the subject of the dossier? Professional courtesy.

    • The IC does not brief known lies…at the time of Comey’s briefing it was known Steele’s info was made up bar room dribble. The Russian sub-source had admitted such to the FBI. If you know anything about policy maker support [even newly elected ones] you would know this was unacceptable and not within the norm. But, having only 29 years experience doing just this….what do I know about facts and TTP.

  5. Kls59. Can you tell us who you worked for when you handled the PDB? Is that classified? If you won’t say, why should we take your
    word for it? Also, what does the Steele dossier have to do with this?

    • CIA.
      I mentioned the dozzier because NN mentioned that Trump was briefed on it… and that action was a political move outside of the norm of policy maker support — one of many such moves by D/FBI Comey, which he admitted on multiple occasions.

      • No, I didn’t bring the subject up, you did.
        You asked why he was briefed on what you said was entirely fictitious.
        I suggested perhaps he was briefed only because he was the subject. Had the subject been, oh, I dunno, Romney, he may not have received the brief.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Mr. Peter I encourage you to write a memoir of your career. I would enjoy an anecdote of your memory of the Soviet’s in retreat across that bridge.

    • I believe him Peter. Everyone here is believable. Someone had to carry the unread hard copy of the PDB on the tray with the donuts and coffee.

  6. As loathe as I am to do such, I choose Bolton’s account, even with an obvious profit motive, over anything Trump might say. The only indication that Bolton could possibly be lying about anything concerning his time in the WH would be if he and Trump were in factual agreement.

  7. Kls59,
    Interesting. We may know some of the same people

  8. I live in the district Spanberger represents. I certainly do not want someone representing me in Congress who is so negligent that he missed election filing deadlines two years in a row.

    • She. Abigail.

      • He was referring to Nick Freitas.

        • Teach me… look at search result… the headline and 1st paragraph mismatch.

          ImageRichmond Times-Dispatch › news
          Web results
          Freitas takes responsibility for missing another paperwork filing deadline | Virginia | richmond.com – Richmond Times-Dispatch
          Jun 15, 2020 · Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, took responsibility Monday for missing a deadline to file campaign paperwork for the second straight year. Last year, Freitas, R-Culpeper, was re-elected to …

          • “Spanberger, who won her seat in 2018, has been targeted by the state GOP. One possible opponent is Nick Freitas, a former Army Special Forces soldier. Freitas, who has raised $627,078 according to the Virginia Public Access Project, has stumbled since he failed to file certain election documents. He did the same thing in the 2018 race.

            The above text was 3rd to last paragraph in the article you’re comment on, that was what Dick was referring.

            I’ll await your apology.

          • Nancy_Naive

            Not an RTD subscriber. Couldn’t load the page.

            What I posted is what Google displayed, I.e., search result.

            Sorry you misunderstood again.

          • Umm the article you’re commenting on is on BR, the comment that Dick made was on BR. The snip-it of superfluous crap you posted was just that, irrelevant to his comment.

            I quoted the very article from above to which Dick was referring, I wasn’t wrong yesterday and wasn’t wrong today.

            Again, you’re behind you should just stop, less you want to be further embarrassed.

          • Nancy_Naive

            (Sighs)

  9. The problem is I no longer believe anything in the New York Times. Its obsession with “getting” Trump has overridden any journalistic integrity. Just because everybody is assuming this is correct doesn’t make it correct. And from my own fairly good source inside that world (who once worked on the USAF contribution to the summaries), this has been an intelligence community coup attempt from the start, it truly has. Now, is Bolton right about the failings of the Current Incumbent? Probably. Were my concerns about his blind eye toward Putin and Xi the principal reasons I voted for an also ran? Yes.

    Did the United States pay Afghans to kill Russians in the past? Absolutely. No question. They happily take money and guns from any and all Western stooges. If this is happening, its sauce for the goose. Reap what you sow.

    • It seems strained to argue that there is an intelligence community coup attempt afoot. After all, the President’s appointees head up all the intelligence agencies. Don’t they vet whatever goes into the PDB before it is distributed in the White House?

      • No, the intel analysts do the vetting, heads are just that they are figureheads for the most part. The bureaucrats who have occupied their offices and desks for any number of years are the ones that run the shows, how they see fit.

        Not to disparage Rep. Spanberger or her service, but most people who tout their employment at the Agency weren’t very important to it and or weren’t what they currently claim to be. The Agency just isn’t going to correct them, they’ll burn them in other ways if they feel it necessary.

      • They don’t vet what some middle level careerist whispers to a NYT reporter from his phone…..

    • It’s just another step in the proxy war that started in when Stalin was running the show.

    • No longer? That implies that at one time…

  10. Madams. In general the russians and Americans have refrained from killing each other directly.
    Dick you are absolutely right about trump’s totally chaotic personnel changes. The sooner he is gone the better.

    • “Madams. In general the russians and Americans have refrained from killing each other directly.”

      Of this I’m aware and didn’t state otherwise. If you believe I did, point out where I indicated it hasn’t been a prolonged proxy since FDR and I’ll correct it.

    • Chaotic personnel changes? Absolutely. And everybody who leaves seems to hate the man with a vengeance. Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. Things will be better when Joe from Scranton installs his loyal cabinet of Ozzie Osborne, Jar Jar Binks, Captain Kangaroo, Lisa Simpson and whatever additional imaginary characters come to his mind.

      It’s hard to imagine a worse option than re-electing Donald Trump until you think about Joe Biden.

      Once again I may have to write in “James A Bacon”.

      • If enough people find Biden uninspiring – and the Trumpsters turn out big as expected – it’s gonna be Deja Vu All Over Again.

        don’t believe the polls… they’re just as wrong as they were for Clinton.

      • I think more of the irony is that Biden is a known. He’s been in DC for 40 years and all the change he’s not promising he didn’t or couldn’t deliver back as a Senator. As a POTUS you have zero legislative power, what exactly do they think he can do.

      • I’d be in favor of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo heading up the DEA.

  11. TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is real, and affects many folks on the left equally as many on the right. Some on the right seem to believe he is the second coming of Christ who will lead us to Glory. Some on the left believe he is the Devil himself (or whatever deity equates in the religion of progressivism). At the same time it is funny to watch him playing folks like a fiddle, and sad that so many are so gullible.

    The funniest part of it is that the MSM on the left (NYT, CNN, etc) who seem to be gunning for him to the greatest degree are the ones most responsible for his election. They have alienated so many in middle America (the Deplorables) that their derision of Trump flung middle America straight into his waiting arms.

    I really don’t think he is the root of the problem, but rather a symptom. Hopefully one day we’ll all get over this, but I don’t think it will be soon.

    • I more or less agree with your assessment with one skepticism – and that’s that Trump supporters like him no matter what CNN/NYT say. They don’t just like Trump because the MSM dislikes him. They support his values including the religious right of all folks… Many of these folks started with the Tea party and were already at odds with even the likes of Bush.

      The fact that Trump also is willing to do battle with the MSM is icing on the cake but he is making massive changes to much of the Federal bureaucracy from the EPA to Voice America, to OSHA, to the CDC, to ObamaCare, wide ranging changes that his supporters want.

  12. The news came out today that the NSA does not share the CIA’s assessment of the intelligence. Personally, I don’t find the Russians-paying-Taliban-to-kill-American-soldiers hard to believe — not that the Taliban needed a monetary incentive to do what they were bent upon doing anyway. As Peter noted, we sent Stinger missiles to the Afghan rebels fighting the Russians. Why wouldn’t the Russians return the favor?

    Let’s assume for a moment that the CIA intelligence assessment is the accurate one. What do we do about it? Does Spanberger go beyond her criticism of Trump to actually proffer a suggestion?

    • I do not think there is a problem is how to retaliate from the traditional players in the intelligence community – but a lot of it won’t get Trumps support and so it’s blocked before it starts.

      But I agree – that the US did all manner of things to undermine the Soviet Union when they were in Afghanistan, so I’m not sure what all the shock and outrage is now except as anti-Trump.

  13. Ripper. Write again? Please do. Miss your wit and clear thinking.
    Jim, I read that Spanberger and other members of House Foreign Affairs were supposed to be briefed in detail either yesterday or today. Don’t know what happened. In any case it us likely classified. Not surprised at NSA report.

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