From Russia, with love

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So, Team Obama has pulled another Christmas Day bomber hash-up.  Recall how, in the case of Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab, after a grand total of fifty minutes of interrogation by the law enforcement folks who could be scared up in Detroit on that holiday, he was allowed to lawyer up.

Flash forward to the news just in:  Within five days of rounding up ten of eleven individuals the FBI had under surveillance for ten years in connection with a KGB (sorry, the new name is FSB) covert influence operation, they are all being sent back to Mother Russia.  In that respect, the Obama administration actually handled the Abdulmuttalab’s case somewhat better; at last check, he’s still in federal custody – presumably, awaiting a prisoner exchange with al Qaeda.

No wait, al Qaeda doesn’t have any U.S. prisoners.  But then, it is not clear Russia has any U.S. spies in custody, either.

Instead, the letter submitted by the Justice Department late today to Judge Kimba Wood, who has presided over the Russian Ten’s brief prosecution and their confessions, says that – in exchange for repatriating them to the Motherland – the United States will get "four individuals who are incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies."

While the latter four have not been named at this writing, it seems as though the Obama Justice Department is not saying they actually were engaged in espionage.  Even if they were, it is not clear whether they were working for us.

This sort of deal calls to mind the so-called "New START" Treaty of which President Obama is so proud.  The world "lousy" comes to mind.  After all, both the "spy swap" and the recently concluded arms control negotiations seem to have turned Ronald Reagan’s successful strategy for winning the Cold War on its head:  Under Obama, it’s more like: "We lose, they win."

As a general rule, only the Israelis are foolish enough to reward bullies like Russian Prime Minister (and former KGB operative) Vladimir Putin for their kidnappings and other thuggery by exchanging four of "ours" for ten of theirs, to say nothing of one for hundreds.

Not only has the Obama administration once again compromised U.S. security interests by a) effectively foreclosing patient, exacting debriefs (and, no, the promised "extensive factual recitation with respect to the Defendants’ conduct is not necessarily the same thing) and b) getting had in its dealings with the Kremlin.  It has provided political cover for the Russians by allowing Putin to claim moral equivalence.  They spy, we spy; so, let’s call the whole thing off.

In this case as in so many others – notably, giving up a near-term European missile defense the Kremlin opposed, serially conceding to get Russian "cooperation on sanctions" on Iran and writing off the so-called "Near Abroad" (notwithstanding Hillary Clinton’s recent hearts-and-minds tour there), to say nothing of START – the latest capitulation stinks of an overweening desire to, as the DoJ letter to Judge Wood puts it, "further United States-Russian relations and to enhance the national security of the United States."

Clearly, this so-called "spy swap" will "further" the U.S. appeasement of Russia that passes for Team Obama’s "reset" of bilateral ties.  It is not self-evident, though, that it – any more than the other concessions made to this elusive end – will do anything to enhance the national security of this country.


Frank Gaffney, Jr.

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