A Warning From Dan Coats

When Dan Coats was a United States Senator from Indiana, he was too socially conservative for me. That said, I considered him an honest and personally pleasant man who seemed to have a genuine desire to serve the public interest.

I’d have to agree with a friend who said “I’d vote for him for neighbor, just not for Senator.”

Coats is an old-time conservative Republican who earned that description when “conservative” actually referred to a set of political beliefs. He is currently serving as U.S. Director of National Intelligence, and he recently issued a warning:

“The United States is under attack—under attack by entities using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States.

From U.S. businesses to the federal government, local governments—the United States is threatened by cyber attacks every day. While Russia, China, Iran and North Korea pose the greatest cyber threats, other terrorist organizations, transnational criminal organizations and ever more technically capable groups and individuals use cyber operations to achieve strategic and malign objectives.

Some of these actors, including Russia, are likely to pursue even more aggressive cyber attacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances. Persistent and disruptive cyber operatives will continue against the United States and our European allies—using our elections to undermine democracy and sow discord and division.”

The warning came in a speech to the Atlantic Conference, in Normandy, France. Coats dismissed Putin’s assurances that he wants to deal with a united and prosperous Europe, saying “invading Ukraine, seizing Crimea, attacking individuals in the U.K. with nerve agents, conducting cyber-attacks against multiple EU countries… do not strike me as unifying actions.”

It is no surprise that Trump has ignored this, as well as previous warnings that Coats and other Intelligence officials have issued, but it is extremely disheartening that the Republican legislature has also ignored the information being provided by members of their own party who are in a position to know what they’re talking about.

It has gotten so bad–and so obvious–that a former Prime Minister of Belgium tweeted out the now-infamous photo from the G7 summit (the one where Merkel is bending over a desk and appears to be lecturing “the Donald” who is sitting with his arms defiantly folded while surrounded by the other heads of state) with the caption: “Just tell us what Vladimir has on you. Maybe we can help.”

Steve Schmidt, the Republican consultant  who ran John McCain’s campaign for President and who has been a consistent–and increasingly acerbic–critic of Trump and the GOP legislators enabling him, summed it up:

Very nearly every elected member of the Republican Congress has chosen Trump and party over our country. It is shameful. They have embraced illiberalism, assaults on the rule of law, attacks on objective truth and staggering corruption. They betray their oaths with complicity.

Schmidt and Coats are patriots. The enablers in Congress are quislings.


  1. When asked about the atrocities committed by Kim Jong-un, Trump’s praise of N Korean leader as a,’ tough guy, one of 10,000…. tough enough to lead a country…” reveals the sort of leader Trump is and any reasonable, civilized human should be frightened. Of all the horrid things that come out of Trump’s mouth for me that was the most alarming. Jeff Sessions using the apostle Paul’s letter to Roman’s to justify the separation of foreigners from their children goes against everything Paul preached and intended. These leaders seem to be all about, “I was just following orders.” To use God to justify cruelty and think that cruelty is more real than compassion; we are in trouble and the GOP is a poisonous cult.

  2. “The enablers in Congress are quislings.”

    Yesterday, William suggested that we take a systems approach in trying to work out our problems…..NOT A BAD IDEA.

    Looking at all this mess from a SYSTEMIC standpoint, the “enablers in Congress” would include most all Republicans and only a minority of Democrats.

    However, without the all important DNC GEAR, the system that “has chosen Trump and party over our country” would have MALFUNCTIONED by now. The DNC is a major COG IN THE WHEEL. Democrats need to quit kidding themselves before it’s too late.

  3. Dan Coats is a tired old piece of sh**. Installing him as a director of intelligence is one of the greatest oxymorons under the Trump/Pence administration.

    I would strongly suggest reading, “The Chomsky Challenge” article posted this past week in Truthdig. It addresses empathy which we’ve discussed many times on this blog. The problem is we need the truth over propaganda. Americans have been lied to for so long, they confuse entertainment with actual news from the free press promised in our constitution.

    We can’t make good decisions or fix any of our systems if we aren’t told the truth about the problem…”why fix it if it ain’t broke?”

    Coats is simply passing along what he’s been told…he’s a useful idiot. As senator, he slept through meetings and would give speeches on the wrong bills.

    From the article which counters Coats:

    “The taproot of the crisis,” Mearsheimer wrote in the nation’s top establishment journal, Foreign Affairs, “is [U.S.-led] NATO expansion and Washington’s commitment to move Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit and integrated into the West,” something Vladimir Putin quite naturally saw as “a direct threat to Russia’s core interests.” And “who can blame him?” Mearsheimer asked, adding that grasping the reasons for Putin’s hostility ought to have been easy since the “United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western hemisphere, much less on its borders.”

    “We need not ask,” Chomsky reflects, “how the United States would have reacted had the countries of Latin America joined the Warsaw Pact, with plans for Mexico and Canada to join as well. The merest hints of the first tentative steps in that direction would have been ‘terminated with extreme prejudice,’ to adopt CIA lingo.”

    If you don’t like the truth, don’t read this article:


  4. On the cyber threats…
    I am very concerned about SOMEONE turning off the lights, the gas, the banking system So many things are on the web. They should NOT be. This will not have a happy end I fear

  5. “Dan Coats is a tired old piece of sh**. Installing him as a director of intelligence is one of the greatest oxymorons under the Trump/Pence administration.”

    Todd; this quote about Coats would be a more fitting oxymoron if he was a member of the Democratic party in that position because it fits with the old “do as I say not as I do” typical political inaction. The first warning we should have received from Dan Coats was a few years ago; he should have warned us that, after living in the south as a lobbyist and learning all southern ways of politics, he was rich enough to return to Indiana (which he had nothing good to say about) to buy back his Indiana Senate seat. He may have been a true conservative before moving to southern climes but he is strongly in the enemy camp at this time…no matter what comes out of his mouth. When did he make that speech in Normandy? Why isn’t he making such speeches in this country where it might actually reach the ears of some Republican voters who recognize what is being done to our – their own – country. Whose public interest does Coats have a genuine desire to serve today? His position as director of intelligence is a very dangerous position for him to be in at this time – dangerous for this country because he will not be allowed to accomplish anything positive in the current administration. And he offers no Biblical quote to back up his views. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” If he actually has any good intentions; he needs to get out of the White House now because any good intentions he may harbor will not protect him from Trump’s heavy-handed leadership. Trump put Coats in that position and Trump can take him out of that position and who would replace him? Those words above pitted him against Trump’s heroes; another dangerous place to be – dangerous for Coats personally.

    I must admit I have no idea what the term “quislings” means and couldn’t find it in 2 of my 4 dictionaries.

  6. Cyber attack’s are critical as our government and businesses need evolving security measures in place. That’s why when people push for elections by voting from their computer they are putting the very process of an election in jeopardy. Eventually any system will be hacked as cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated.
    Sen. Coats concern over cyber attack’s is reiterated at all levels. 30 years ago the only window we knew of was the one we used to let air in, now without much guided thought we are opening windows for others to snatch away our security.
    Who was outraged over the Crimea being taken? Who spoke up?
    As Smekens commented on world politics, we have to carefully tread on the soil of foreign interests for what we have intended for our new allies, the Ukraine, might become a thing of the past.

  7. Dan Coats was a useless senator for far too many years. When he showed up in this administration I was surprised – how did they manage to raise the dead? Guessing he is a pence appointee.

  8. Speaking of Pence, today’s Washington Post has an article https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-turns-vps-office-into-gateway-for-lobbyists-to-influence-the-trump-administration/2018/06/14/75675bfa-6424-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_pencelobbying-745a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.fa13131ab416 showing what Pence is up to, and with whom. The Bob Grand in the article is the guy who ran the Pence administration when he was governor.

  9. John Smith, you’re right.

    Without so much as a speck of thought this country’s businesses, government, and our own homes opened those “windows” for every lame reason. Every system, every report, every process HAD to be computerized. “Why, it will save paper!”

    Now nothing is private or secure. Your letters, your bank account, your medical records are all out there waiting to be revealed to the world via a hack.

  10. Marv; thank you for that information.

    I forgot to add that, after returning to Indiana to buy back his Senate seat, Dan Coat quickly abandoned it to join Trump’s camp. We will never know the truth about choosing Pence as his VP but Indiana is owned outright at this time; we can never hope for an end to gerrymandering or for changing the law regarding Electoral College members’ requirement to vote for the majority party rather than follow their conscience – to me that is a violation of their Constitutional right to vote, voter suppression at it ugliest.

    With the epidemic of cyber hacking from all sides at all levels; how can any thinking person consider computer voting?

  11. Do we dare to hope that the Europeans will take active measures to stop cyber attacks and that they will allow us to use those measures when they are in place? I’m pretty sure they’ll do the former, but after the last G-7 meeting, I doubt they’ll do the latter.

  12. Quisling… you make me look…
    it up. Thank you for that, Ms Kennedy.

  13. As time goes fleeting by and, also, as a former federal prosecutor, it clearly appears to me that those surrounding Donald Trump are part of a VEILED criminal syndicate, reminiscent of the days of Al Capone. Is there another Elliot Ness, out there? We need one for sure.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A syndicate is a self-organizing group of individuals, companies, corporations or entities formed to transact some specific business, to pursue or promote a shared interest. In most cases formed groups aim to scale up their profits.

  14. Comforting, isn’t it, to know Putin’s operatives are reading your emails, checking your bank accounts, and their boss is bragging about how he can shut down the power grids in our country which feed the regulation of stop lights, among other such mayhem-creating acts of cyberwar. Let’s hear a conspiracy theory from a liberal – me > As to Coats, he was a total disaster as senator and I am having trouble believing anything he now says (even though I want to in re his Normandy speech). I think he is a Pence plant in the vice president’s not so secretive plan to step up a notch when Trump is history and that Pence does not want Trump to finish his term since if so Pence would not have the advantage of being in place for the 2020 fracas (unless, of course, Pence goes down with the ship, the Democrats take back the House, and we have a President Pelosi). We have a problem, Houston. . .

  15. Some of these actors, including Russia, are likely to pursue even more aggressive cyber attacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances.

    Drumpf has got it covered. With a freaking moron like him in charge, we don’t need enemies.

  16. JoAnn at 7:39am

    QUISLING – word Norwegians are not very proud of having given to the world: it derives from Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. He established his name as a synonym for “traitor”, someone who collaborates with the invaders of his country, especially by serving in a puppet government.
    It is, arguably, the worst and most grave insult a Norwegian can throw at another.

  17. I remember watching Nikita Khrushchev, banging his shoe on the podium and always being quoted as saying “We will bury you!” BULLSHIT. What he said was, “We will bury you through your own ignorance!” And all I see in this whole thing is compounding ignorance. It isn’t the external threat we have to concern ourselves with – it is always there. It is the threat we have by allowing our own ignorance to continue but not just that actually perpetuating it into an almost cult status among Americans. If djt is a criminal – then tell me – why isn’t he charged NOW? Don’t look at me I want to see him hang for treason! Unfortunately for this country the dumbass has gone too deep. It is like we have done the unwritten verboten rule: never over specialize. Our democracy has become a bureaucratic nightmare – have you tried writing your Senator of late… I cannot get in because it says I need FLASH (which anyone who is wise to the net knows is now considered a NO-NO because it is a security threat – it is super easy to hack!) Such a large system and sooooo broken because of IGNORANCE. Well that is the course of history – when you all get a chance read Benjamin Franklin’s speech at the ratification of the Constitution I hope you come to realize we are there.
    It can be stopped. But I don’t see anyone really stopping anything. Pardon me.., I have a garden to get in…

  18. OMG; thanks to you also for the Quisling explanation, Norway’s shame is understandable. But like Billy Carter…and Billy Bush…it must be borne with dignity and accept the fact but don’t talk about it.

  19. “Network” in an engineering sense is a very old word describing the architecture of many systems of all kinds. It’s a design focused on connections rather than independence. I like to think that humans have over the years as we have lurched along the road from competitive tribes to collaborative institutions used what we learned along that way to design the information networks that simply are necessary in today’s sprawling, high speed, no borders, highly interconnected cyber world.

    Our networking hardware and software technology like many aspects of the world we were born into is both a blessing and a curse. One thing that it has elevated greatly is the never ending cops and robbers race to employ it legally or for personal gain. Robbers used to operate under cover of night, now they can obscure their crimes in a space so complex that no single person can hope to wrap their head around more than tiny parts of the whole.

    Same is true of our entertainment network which has become a super culture capable of creating lives that are not individual but managed by both cops and robbers. So many interconnections between human forces competing for our attention and suggesting unlimited views of the human soup that we each are an insignificant ingredient of.

    Good or bad? YES, but done. There’s simply no way to go back.

    The 2016 US Presidential election will go down in history as a big fat lesson in the cost of the robbers besting the cops. Other countries/forces are apparently ahead of us in recognizing that future wars will be cyber in nature. Militaries are as obsolete as battleships were discovered to be in WWII.

    Can we catch up? Certainly not when we are trying not to because the robbers are running the political show.

  20. Pete,

    We’re dealing with something much more complicated than cyberwar.

    “The Advent of Netwar”by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt (Rand, Prepared for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Santa Monica, CA, 1996):

    “This documented briefing elucidates a concept—“netwar”—that we mentioned in an earlier paper on “cyberwar” (Aquilla and Ronfeldt, 1993).

    At the time, we had begun to wonder about the implications of the information revolution for war and lesser modes of conflict. Our notion was that the information revolution would cause radical shifts in how societies come into conflict, and how their security for forces should prepare and respond. When we coined the term “cyberwar” to discuss military implications for warfare, we realized that we needed a separate term to discuss conflicts short of war involving actors who may or not be military. That term became “netwar.”

    Its distinguishing element is that at least one the protagonists, usually a nonstate actor, organizes a network rather than a hierarchy. Network designs have been used throughout history with mixed results. Today’s information revolution, however, is making the network a much more effective form of organization, one that may have overarching effects on society and security. For example, terrorist and criminal organizations are increasingly taking advantage of new information technologies to realize the potential of highly decentralized, networked designs.” p. 1-2

    “An archetypal netwar actor consists of a web (or network) of dispersed, interconnected “nodes” (or activity centers) this is its key defining characteristic. These nodes may be individuals, groups, formal or informal organizations, or parts of groups or organizations.” p. 9

    “The other assumption is that the information revolution favors and strengthens network forms of organization while making life difficult for hierarchical forms [like Southern Poverty Law Center]. This implies that conflicts will increasingly be fought by “networks” more than by “hierarchies.” Thus , whoever masters the network form should gain MAJOR ADVANTAGES in the new era.” p. 4

  21. The theme of Space Aliens invading earth in Science Fiction and earthlings united in resistance is a familiar one. The Masters of Deflection (like Dan Coats and others) have managed to create the “Alien Threat Menace” Per Coats >>>

    “The United States is under attack—under attack by entities using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States.”

    “Some of these actors, including Russia, are likely to pursue even more aggressive cyber attacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances. Persistent and disruptive cyber operatives will continue against the United States and our European allies—using our elections to undermine democracy and sow discord and division.”
    Cyber attacks for whatever reason are a threat. However, I would say the biggest threat by far to fair elections is our own 1% who dominate politics through their campaign donations and lobbying: ALEC and the NRA come to mind. We should not forget those forces who refuse to consider Universal or Single Payer Heath Care for all Americans. Money and Free Speech are now co-equals through various court rulings.
    Yesterday an IG Report came out. I watched FOX, MSDNC and CNN. Each net work had a villain or villains in mind to support their preconceived story ending and selected various parts to support their conclusions. The Spin each Network used was like watching a roulette wheel set in motion and then stopped on the number you wanted.

  22. Todd, good link to the Chomsky article. It is an article that has no place what so ever in the narrative of American Exceptionalism. There are “Good” dictatorships like the Gulf Oil States that are supported by our War Machine and “Bad” dictatorships that must endure regime change via violence, either US military action or coups.

    The American Public and of course our Corporate Establishment Media are like the three monkeys – deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to American Brutality played out some where over there.

  23. “I know that when people think of cybersecurity today, they worry about hackers and criminals who prowl the Internet, steal people’s identities, steal sensitive business information, steal even national security secrets. Those threats are real and they exist today.
    But the even greater danger — the greater danger facing us in cyberspace goes beyond crime and it goes beyond harassment. A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states are violent extremists groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack on 9/11. Such a destructive cyber-terrorist attack could virtually paralyze the nation.”

    The above quote is from the Department of Defense Archives, taken from a speech by former Sec. of Defense, Leon Panetta. Read the whole thing. This occurred Oct, 2012.

    We have been warned repeatedly in the past several years and the Republican controlled Congress has done nothing to secure the internet, nor have the companies, many of them public, that provide vital services to the populace.

  24. Yesterday NPR reported the with John Bolton as his consultant, Donald Trump has declined to fill the position of Cybersecurity Coordinator and has transferred those responsibilities to – who else – John Bolton. Invoking the administration’s inviolable principle of never giving a job to someone who might know something about it, Bolton the Barbarian was selected to ignore Russian interference in our elections, North Korean cyber-theft of movies from Hollywood, Iranians, Chinese, and many others. Bolton’s assumption of cybersecurity responsibilities, replacing Rob Joyce, an NSA expert on the subject, assures that he will not approach the job with any preconceptions. His complete ignorance of the subject matter precludes that possibility. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear Dan Coats reaction to this development?

    This would all be a huge joke if the Pentagon did not consider cybersecurity to be the front line in the next world war.

    At NSA, cybersecrity, although not always successful, has been not just a job but a profession for decades. Some of the most gifted mathematicians in the country are hired right out of college, trained thoroughly in cryptography, taught all there is to know about computers, and assigned to keep the Agency from being hacked. Those who have been on the job for a month or more are far better qualified than Bolton for this work. Consequently, this implies that Trump is intentionally issuing an invitation for Russians to hack U.S. Government organizations. I know that makes about as much sense as tearing children away from their parents at a border crossing, but it is what it is.

    Since Trump has said nothing and done nothing about Russian interference in our 2016 elections, and this refusal to act is treasonous, his facilitation of internet-based spying by enemy countries is just another form of treason that shows his skill at betraying his country with impunity. If we don’t find some way to stop him, we will soon find ourselves up a very polluted creek without a paddle.

    P.S. – Steve Schmidt is a former Republican campaign consultant turned patriot who is one of the most articulate critics of the Trump administration. He is a frequent guest on MSNBC where he calls ’em as he sees ’em with an eloquence that most of can only dream about.

    PP.SS. – I believe I was in high school when I learned the term “Quisling.” It’s one of those words whose etymology people who write books called “Build a Better Vocabulary” love to explain. Admittedly I have not seen it a lot since college, but it’s hard to read a book about WWII without running into it.

  25. Snowden dumped thousands of documents and E-mails simply because he could; he knew how to do it. He was no hero; had he made public specific information the American public should know but didn’t, it would be a different matter entirely and he would not have had to flee the United States. We have our own dangerous hackers who probably make it easy for foreign countries to know where to look to find information the fastest way. The benefits of cyber communication are vital at this time; as with everything else, there will always be those who find a criminal use for everything.

  26. Marv – This may not come as a shock to you since you have just described a RICO case, which I prefer over even impeachment or indictment for obstruction etc. Why? Because the Mafia and/or their political equivalent are in charge of the Oval Office and the advantage of a conviction under the RICO statute is that you may not only jail the offenders but also seize their assets – and I for one would love to see Trump & Co. camped out under the bridge or on the sidewalk.

    I think we are far beyond whining about the (unenforced) emolument clause and into open and notorious grand larceny, embezzlement and obtaining under false pretenses (see Trump’s New York charity account that brought in millions for veterans et al. but was spent for campaign expenses and other such prohibited expenses including, for all we know as of now, payoffs to women) and that a RICO prosecution is in order. I also see no need to let up on the emolument and obstruction fronts while probing for evidence of other such prohibited expenses under the New York statute governing charities. Multiple offenses within different jurisdictions require multiple prosecutions.

    I do foresee a practical problem in effectively bringing a RICO case, to wit: It would be the DOJ who would prosecute such a RICO case and Trump seems to have captured a cowed Sessions into captivity, so perhaps it’s time for the Congress to appoint another special counsel to investigate all matters in re Trump not included in the portfolio of Mueller, thus covering the legal waterfront. As for comparisons, the present situation in the Oval Office makes Watergate look like a walk in the park, but unlike Watergate, a Trump resignation a la Nixon should not end his prosecution under RICO and whatever other state and federal statutes he may have been proven to have violated, and parenthetically, Trump should take notice that witness tampering, a crime in and of itself, can land one in jail as it has as of this writing today with his former campaign manager, Manafort. The noose is tightening, and I think the lash of the rule of law is about ready to supercede Trump’s blathering to his base.

  27. Quisling (/ˈkwɪzlɪŋ/; Norwegian pronunciation: [²kvisliŋ]) is a term originating in Norway, which is used in Scandinavian languages and in English for a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force – or more generally as a synonym for traitor.[1][2][3] The word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II.

  28. Gerald,

    Marv, …..you have just described a Rico case.

    Prez you’re right. This current mess reminds me of the Coal Creek Mining conspiracy case where I had been an attorney for one of the defendants. Hijacking is nothing new, but hijacking a NETWAR movement such as the Religious Right, Far Right Movement which Trump/Bannon have done is unprecedented, to say the least, as was the Jewish Holocaust which forced the creation of a NEW TRIBUNAL.

    See my website http://www.TheAlarmReport.info for an effective indictment in THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION which led to the, unprecedented, one man, one vote VICTORY in Dallas back in 1991.

    The following is from a terrific new book: “How Democracies Die” by two professors of government at Harvard University, Steven Livitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2018):

    “The egalitarianism, civility, sense of freedom, and shared purpose portrayed by E.B. White were the essence of mid-twentieth century American democracy. Today that vision is under assault. To save our democracy, Americans need to restore the basic norms that once protected it. But we must do more than that. We must extend those norms through the whole of a diverse society. We must make them truly inclusive. America’s democratic norms, at their core, have always been sound. But for much of our history, they were accompanied–indeed, sustained –by racial exclusion. Now those norms must be made to work in an age of racial equality and unprecedented diversity. Few societies in history have managed to be both mutiracial and genuinely democratic. That is our challenge. It is also our opportunity. If we meet it, America will truly be EXCEPTIONAL.

    Comparing our current predicament to democratic crises in other parts of the world and at other moments of history, it becomes clear that America is not so different from other nations. Our constitutional system, while older and more robust than any in history, is vulnerable to the same pathologies that have killed democracy elsewhere. Ultimately, then, American democracy depends on us–the citizens of the United States. No single political leader can end a democracy; no single leader can rescue one, either. Democracy is a shared enterprise. Its fate depends on all of us.” pp. 231-2

  29. “When asked about the atrocities committed by Kim Jong-un, Trump’s praise of N Korean leader as a,’ tough guy, one of 10,000…. tough enough to lead a country…” reveals the sort of leader Trump is…”

    We have to understand what Trump means by “tough”. He does not mean tough like tough enough to take a punch, a criticism, a mike-drop, etc.; by tough Trump means “brutal”. So, when he said We’re not tough enough, we should hear We’re not brutal enough. When you can hear that clearly, then you will understand what is coming to us if Trump survives his soon-coming coup attempt.

  30. “Few societies in history have managed to be both mutiracial and genuinely democratic.”

    So, I share that quote with an acquaintance, Mr. Joe Bubba, and he replies:

    “If my country has to be multiracial, then we cannot allow it to be genuinely democratic, not if genuinely democratic means my kids have to go to school with coloreds and coloreds are free to court my daughters; not if coloreds can make as much money as me; not if coloreds can take my job or be my boss. No sir! Multiracial is the end of democracy.”

Comments are closed.