Former Senate Security director arrested for leaking to reporters

There’s a lot to unpack here. James Wolfe was Director of Security for the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence until retiring in January. He has just been arrested on federal charges for lying to the FBI about contacting reporters.

Specifically, he was in charge of classified documents. Justice says he leaked contents of a document, which had Secret and Top Secret areas, to REPORTER #2, who is New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. They are in a relationship.

Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to Secret and Top Secret documents. If you leak them and get caught, you are almost certainly screwed.

Wolfe stupidly thought encrypted message application Signal protected him. It didn’t. If someone gets access to the phone or router they can monitor everything. Those receiving Signal messages might save them. It’s just not secure.

The Senate yesterday voted overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis to cooperate with FBI on a certain area, which in retrospect, is obviously this.

From the indictment.

After WOLFE stated that he did not know about REPORTER #2’s sources, FBI agents confronted WOLFE with pictures showing WOLFE together with REPORTER #2. After being confronted, WOLFE admitted to the FBI agents that he had lied to them, and that he had engaged in a personal relationship with REPORTER #2 since 2014.

In or around December 2017,but before being interviewed by the FBI, WOLFE sent a text message to REPORTER #2 that included the following: “I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism . . . I always tried to give you as much information that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else.”

In or around March 2017, a particular Executive Branch agency agreed to fumish the SSCI with a specific classified document (“the Classified Document’) for official purposes. The Classified Document contained both SECRET and TOP SECRET information, including SECRET-level information regarding the identity and activities of the individual referred to in this Indictment as MALE-1.

On or about March 17,2017,the Classified Document was transported to the SSCI. As Director of Security, WOLFE received, maintained, and managed the Classified Document on behalf of the SSCI.

On or about March 17, 2017, WOLFE exchanged 82 text messages with REPORTER #2, and that evening engaged in a 28-minute phone call with REPORTER #2.

On or about April 3,2017, a news organization published an online article under REPORTER #2’s byline, that revealed the identity of MALE-1.

World’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage plant

Highview Power is using Liquid Air Energy Storage at grid scale in a power plant near Manchester, England. LAES uses excess renewable energy and heat generated from other processes to store air as a liquid, then releases it as needed to power turbines. Excess energy is stored then used as needed to create electricity.

Advantages of LAES over other energy storage is that it can be sited anywhere and uses off-the-shelf parts and proven technology. Also, it is zero emissions.

LAES technology makes use of a freely available resource – air – which is stored as a liquid and then converted back to a gas in a process that involves a 700-fold expansion in volume and produces zero emissions. This expansion releases stored energy, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. In addition to providing energy storage, the LAES plant converts waste heat to power using heat from the on-site landfill gas engines. A unique advantage of LAES technology is that plants can be located at the point of demand. No exotic metals or harmful chemicals are involved. The plant comprises mostly steel which has a lifespan of between 30 to 40 years, in comparison with just 10 years for batteries. At the end of life, an LAES plant can be decommissioned and the steel recycled.

Puna Geothermal is offline, provided 25% of Big Island power

Puna Geothermal Ventures, a 38 MW plant in the lava flow area of the Big Island, is completely offline. The wells have been capped. Two wellheads have been covered by lava. A substation has been destroyed. Personnel has been evacuated. PGV did generate 25% of Big Island power, which now has to be provided by other resources, which probably means fossil fuel.

No one knows when the plant will open again. If the wells have been damaged underground or geothermal energy is no longer accessible due to subterranean ground movement and lava flows, then it could be a very long time before PGV is back online providing clean, renewable energy.

Ormat Technologies Inc. provides an update that on May 30, 2018, due to the approaching lava, the substation of the Puna complex and an adjacent warehouse that stored a drilling rig were burned. Both items are expected to be covered by the Company’s insurance policies. Due to the long lead time of constructing a new substation and the extent of the damage to HELCO’s transmission lines, the Company cannot assess when the Puna complex will be able to resume operation and deliver power to the grid.

The approaching lava also covered and blocked the main access road to the power plant. Alternative access road is currently open.

As announced on May 28, the approaching lava covered the wellheads of two geothermal wells. The Company cannot assess at this stage the extent of the damage to the future functionality of these wells. As of today, the lava did not cover any additional wells. The lava continues to flow and may reach other wells and areas of the Puna facility.

On combating Trump

Combating Trump isn’t a normal political battle. Rather, it is the political equivalent of war. One side will win, the other will be crushed. Once you realize that, many things fall into place. For example, it is pointless to argue with or try to convince hardcore Trump supporters. Instead, focus on those who waver in supporting him. Nixon had a 20% positive rating when he resigned. It didn’t matter. This will happen to Trump too, and then we won’t have to care about his hardcore supporters.

But wait, you say, what if hardcore Trump supporters start waging guerrilla war after he falls? Or what happens if Pence becomes president? The answer to both is the same. It is a political war. We keep fighting until we win. There is no other alternative. This isn’t going to end with a group hug and everyone agreeing to disagree. It just isn’t.

So, there’s no need to bemoan how horrible Trump is, except when to do so would be to our tactical and strategic advantage. Frettting steals time better spent in the fight.

Also, beware of those on the left who constantly counsel that whatever organizing options are put forth, well, they just aren’t good enough, darn it. That we need to look years ahead and organize towards some nebulous goal in the future. These people aren’t our friends, and may be faux leftists (or worse.) The battle is here. Not ten years in the future.

Trump and Co. are looning crazily now, howling it is a witch hunt. That’s because they can’t refute their Russia ties (which are also about corruption too.) Comically, they think somehow they will muster enough public opinion in their favor to stop the investigations. They are delusional. And acting very guilty indeed. While doing major damage.

That’s why they must fall. Get in the fight.

Snowden wants vague organizing in the future. That’ll be so effective.

Edward Snowden

I hear Snowden’s con quite often on the supposed hard left now. “It’s ghastly what is going on, so we must organize to create change in the future.” Any actual, real action now is discouraged. The goal is nebulous. It pretends to be activist while counseling doing something vague and ineffective now.

A variant on this con is bemoaning any and all current organizing because, darn it, it’s just not good enough and we must resolutely do better. This is often includes quoting some dead commie or socialist, the more obscure the better, so you can show people how learned you are. It also deflects from having to do anything now.

Any progressive agenda is on hold until Trump is forced from power. Calls to organize towards some yet-to-be-determined goal in the future is counter-productive at best.

Not only does Snowden not call for any actual action now, he tries to get us to believe Trump is such a numbskull knucklehead that why on earth would Swonden’s apparent buddy Putin want to have any dealings with him. Right. (Hint: maybe it’s BECAUSE Trump is a knucklehead.)

Snowden, speaking from Moscow, said he also doesn’t believe Trump is the kind of crack double operator Putin would rely on.

“Things change,” he went on. “If they can change for the worse, they can change for the better. If more good people are organizing… if we’re willing to draw lines that we will not allow people to cross without moving us out of the way, the pendulum will swing.”