Hillary Clinton emails: U.S. intelligence preparing for massive breach of classified data – Washington Times

The U.S. intelligence community is bracing for the possibility that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email account contains hundreds of revelations of classified information from spy agencies and is taking steps to contain any damage to national security, according to documents and interviews Thursday.

The top lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committee have been notified in recent days that the extent of classified information on Mrs. Clinton’s private email server was likely far more extensive than the four emails publicly acknowledged last week as containing some sensitive spy agency secrets.

via Hillary Clinton emails: U.S. intelligence preparing for massive breach of classified data – Washington Times.

Hillary Clinton brazenly and deliberately used a private, unsecure email system to unconstitutionally avoid congressional oversight of her actions as Secretary of State, knowing full well that it would compromise classified information.

News today comes that her attorney is in possession of a thumb drive with an archive of her emails (though it is unclear what format that archive is in).  That means he is unlawfully in possession of classified information.

“In most situations like this you’d expect that a warrant would be issued and that the Marshals and the feds — FBI, somebody would go and get that thumb drive and take it somewhere where it would be considered safe by the government,” said Edward MacMahon Jr., an attorney who has handled major national security cases including the leak investigation of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. 

Under 18 USC 1924, the unlawful removal and storage of classified information is described as when a person “knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location.” The law sets punishment of a fine or prison term of “not more than one year.”

That Mr. Kendall and especially Mrs. Clinton have not been served with search warrants (hell, arrest warrants!) tells you everything you need to know about the fecklessness of the entire federal government under the Obama regime. The law simply does not apply to them. They are not only above the law, they are above any pretense to adherence to the law.

Marines declare F-35B Initial Operational Capability

Earlier today, as expected, GEN Dunford declared that VMFA-121 had achieved Initial Operational Capability, essentially the entry of the jet into real service.

In a milestone for the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Marine Corps today declared the F-35B jump-jet model to have achieved initial operational capability (IOC).

The news means that the Marines consider the F-35B model – one of three designs of the multi-role fighter — to be an active plane that can perform in operations the same way any other active aircraft in its arsenal can.

The plane was declared operational by Gen. Joe Dunford, the outgoing Marine Corps commandant — and incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs — in a July 31 announcement.

“I am pleased to announce that VMFA-121 has achieved initial operational capability in the F-35B, as defined by requirements outlined in the June 2014 Joint Report to Congressional Defense Committees,” Dunford said in a statement. “VMFA-121 has ten aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship. It is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the Joint Force.”

Of course, IOC is a starting point, not an end. Every new platform has a steep learning curve associated with it. All the testing prior to this is conducted by the contractor, and the various test establishments of the services. The Fleet Replacement Squadron, commonly called the RAG, has focused on training aircrew and maintainers to operate the jet, while also beginning to serve as the tactical schoolhouse. But until the squadrons in the fleet actually get out there and start using the jet, it is difficult to really determine how best to operate and maintain it.

There will be bad news in the future, and stories of challenges and failures. Guess what? That happens with every single aircraft, vehicle, ship, radio, rifle, you name it.

We still maintain that the Marines insistence on STOVL capability has compromised the end product, and certainly driven the cost of the program much higher than it should have been.

But we also think the F-35 program as a whole will eventually field a capable attack platform with credible survivability in defended airspace.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyU1JPWQFNg]

Two Women Advance To Final Phase of Army Ranger School – Defense One

On Friday, 127 students qualified for the final stage of Army Ranger training — including two women, the first to ever advance to this stage of the elite special operations course.

Of the 19 women who began the first gender-integrated Ranger course on April 2, three remain. Two will enter the last portion of Ranger school, the swamp phase, on Aug. 2. The third was “recycled,” or earned the right to re-try, the second portion, the mountain phase. Instructors recycled 60 men as well, which according to the Army is standard procedure for students who excel in most areas of the course but struggle at one particular element.

via Two Women Advance To Final Phase of Army Ranger School – Defense One.

StoryCorps: Maj. Bambi: Meet The Marine Who Was Disney’s Famous Fawn : NPR

Donnie Dunagan is a hard-nosed Marine, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served for a quarter-century. First drafted in the ’50s and subsequently promoted 13 times in 21 years — a Corps record at the time, he recalls — Dunagan found the Marines a perfect fit. That is, so long as he could keep a secret.

A dark reminder of the past Dunagan left behind still lurked unspoken: He was Bambi.

via StoryCorps: Maj. Bambi: Meet The Marine Who Was Disney’s Famous Fawn : NPR.

“Extremists”

MengeleHoessKramer1

Once upon a time, we considered those who sold body parts of those they killed to be extremists.

Apparently, Planned Parenthood believes it is those who object to such ghoulish practices who are now the extremists.

The extremists will not win this battle. The goal of these attacks is to get Planned Parenthood to stop providing care — and that will never happen. We have proudly provided reproductive health-care services for 99 years, and we are only getting started.

Whether Congress chooses to stand with extremists or with the women of the United States is up to them. Planned Parenthood will always stand with our patients and protect the rights of every woman to access care. Today, we need the American people to stand with them too.
I know that the President of Planned Parenthood has stated that allegation of such sale for profit is untrue.  But hey, a Lamborghini is a Lamborghini.   Not a peep from the Propaganda Ministry, er, mainstream media.
Planned-Parenthood-Baby-Parts-Organs-Tissue-Harvesting-Cecile-Richards-Democrats-Support-Planned-Parenthood-Hillary-Clinton-620x435
Perhaps the “war on women” is more of a blitzkrieg…  Alles klar, Hillary?
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If it isn’t klar, this should make it so.  Right on cue:
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/07/30/call-it-research-not-business-planned-parenthood-doc-says-in-latest-sting-video/?intcmp=hpbt1

Saudi Arabia Responds to Iran Deal: Give Us 600 Patriot Missiles – Defense One

Just two weeks after Western nations and Tehran struck a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the Pentagon says Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600 new Patriot missile interceptors.

The $5 billion-plus purchase is likely just the first of many more as America’s Middle Eastern allies arm themselves in response to the nuclear deal, which would lift Iran’s conventional-arms embargo sanctions in five years and sanctions on long-range missile projects in eight.

“We saw this coming,” said Thomas Karako, a missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is the consequence of leaving the Iranian missile program intact and in fact signaling sanctions will go down on it.”

via Saudi Arabia Responds to Iran Deal: Give Us 600 Patriot Missiles – Defense One.

:0  <— shocked face.

I mean, how is it that after Obama’s peace program of dealing with Iran, the arms race in the Gulf is picking up steam?

Some Additional Thoughts on the Relief of LtCol Kate Germano

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The recent relief of LtCol Kate Germano, CO of 4th RTBn at Parris Island, is an event that I have been following with some interest.  Quite frankly, I don’t know quite what to make of it.  I have largely refrained from commentary for that reason.  But let me put forth some thoughts.

The announcement that she was relieved because she “created a toxic work environment” smacks of whining about hurt feelings and people being offended.  The Depot Chief of Staff, Col Jeff Fultz, commented “She was telling them their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores. You just don’t do that.”  Actually, Colonel, you do.  Marines who are physically marginal to substandard, regardless of gender, do not inspire the respect and confidence of seniors, peers, or juniors, especially when compared to those capable of leading by physical example.   If that was the case, LtCol Germano was speaking an immutable truth of leadership.

However, there are also allegations that LtCol Germano disobeyed her chain of command, which is a serious matter.  I can also imagine, having been at the periphery of zealous activism on the part of feminists, that she might have done and said things that she should not have, that indeed were abusive, and did undermine her boss’s authority.   I happen to know Dan Haas, the Recruit Training Regimental Commander, having served with him in 10th Marines a number of years ago.  And I think a lot of his talent and professionalism.  What seems very possible is that LtCol Germano said some magic words to or about the wrong person about a subject she was passionate about, likely more than once, and she got fired for it.  Her complaints, however, deserve examination in whole and in part.  Other than what she has written publicly, I know little about her personal views or why she holds them.

On the whole, however, LtCol Germano is witnessing the head-on collision between two mutually exclusive interests.  The advocacy for women, the accommodation made for them, the emphasis put on their importance, their empowerment to destroy careers and lives of male service members with an unfounded accusation, have caused women to serve in an environment where they are often not held to task or standard, and where they are not expected to perform.  No amount of feminist outrage can take the truth from that statement.  Women are seen, and not unreasonably, as dangerous to one’s career.  Hell hath no fury like a woman with an EEO complaint.  What LtCol Germano identifies is the predictable residue of favoritism.

That favoritism is also the cause of not a little resentment among male service members.  While they are TOLD that women are their equal at all things military (and disagreement a punishable offense, regardless of evidence to the contrary), what they really see is the dichotomy where their female comrade is portrayed as a helpless victim of unwanted sexual advances by evil men, while somehow at the same time being a fearsome she-warrior of the Ziva David variety, kicking male ass at every turn.   The truth was quite a bit different, as you can imagine.  As an example, when I was with 2nd SRIG in 1993-94, it was a staple of every quarterly conditioning hike to have to take note of the gender of the hike drops.  These were pretty mild affairs, as we carried a mere basic load for about 12 miles, and there are virtually no hills at Camp Lejeune.  From a unit of about 400 Marines (HQBn), it was not uncommon to have 30 hike drops, which would almost inevitably include every female in the battalion, of which there were between 24 and 28.   Hike after hike, not a single female could complete the event.   We were warned, however, that mentioning that fact was tantamount to sexual harassment, and we would be held accountable.   Once, one of the female Marines from 2nd UAV Company actually made the hike, and the SRIG SgtMaj wanted her to get special recognition.   If Kate Germano is looking for causes of low expectations, the climate created that would allow such a thing is a great place to start.

In detail, however, LtCol Germano’s assertions also bear some examination.  I spent three years on the Drill Field at Parris Island, graduating eleven cycles, with time thrown in as OIC of Academics and Close Combat.  My position was as a series and company commander, significantly closer to the training than Kate Germano was likely to be on a daily basis.   Though I left Parris Island before LtCol Germano was commissioned (gaaah!), some things likely still haven’t changed.  The problems she identifies regarding female marksmanship and physical fitness are not new.

First, marksmanship.  Marines, as we know, love our marksmanship.  Every Marine a rifleman, even the females.  Female recruits struggle to qualify at the same rate as males.  We explored that answer in detail some years ago, and what we found had little to do with expectations or instruction or emphasis.  It was the raw material.  Primary Marksmanship Instructors (PMIs), coaches, Drill Instructors, Series Officers, and Range Officers all came to the same conclusion, that relative to their male counterparts, far fewer female recruits had any experience handling or firing weapons.  When the PMIs would ask a recruit platoon how many had ever fired a rifle before, about a third of the male hands would go up.  On the female side, sometimes none would.  The entire concept, language, handling, and operation of the service rifle was completely foreign.  The amount of new information they have to process in comparison to their male counterparts is far greater over the same period of instruction.  (Anecdotally, the females who had fired a weapon tended to do far better than those who’d never handled one before.)   One proposal was to lengthen basic training for females by a week to give them an extra “grass week” to work on fundamentals, but with the requirements of service and cost, this was an impossibility.  While LtCol Germano may be able to work some significant improvement into female rifle scores, an effort which I loudly applaud, I believe it is the starting point of female versus male recruits that more than anything determines qualification results.

(I hate to bring this up, but LtCol Germano wears two Marksman badges, the lowest classification of qual for rifle and pistol.  What is true of physical fitness is also true of weapons proficiency.  Practicing what you preach and shooting expert would help a great deal with credibility…)

In the physical realm, we experimented back in the late 80s/early 90s with increasing female running and hiking requirements to approximate male standards.  What we wound up doing was injuring female recruits in large numbers. Here is where Mother Nature was most unfair.  The injuries to the female recruits were far more serious than to their male counterparts.  Males would suffer stress fractures in their shins, below the knee.  Painful, for sure, but when healed, not debilitating.  Female recruits would suffer their stress fractures in the femur and pelvis.  Often those injuries did permanent damage.   We were breaking female recruits at an alarming rate, so the experiment was stopped.  I don’t know if the prevalence of girls and young women on the sports field will eventually have some impact on the disparity, but I would caution that we would continue to break females at an unacceptably high rate, with serious injuries, by implementing male standards for female recruits.

I didn’t see where LtCol Germano advocated for integration of male and female platoons.  If she did, I missed it.  I hope she does not.  Such would be a catastrophe, destroying the character of both male and female training.  The reasons are legion, and I will not explore them here.  Perhaps in another post.  But her lament about being “away from male training” doesn’t really hold water.  When I was at Parris Island, Third Recruit Training Battalion was farther from the main parade deck than Fourth Recruit Training Battalion was/is. “Where nobody can hear your pleas for mercy”, as one of my favorite Senior Drill Instructors was fond of saying.   4th Bn should embrace being “away from the flagpole”, as we did out in the woods with 3rd Bn.

So, I cannot get a feel whether I find LtCol Germano’s relief justified.  I can empathize with and agree with some of her assertions.  I can applaud her zeal in trying to ensure her Marines are trained to the sharpest edge.  I also cannot tell whether I would agree with her in a sit-down regarding the training and leadership of Marines.  She does not come across as a girl-power feminist whose cause comes before Corps.  But again, I don’t know.  I would be disappointed if she were.   What I do surmise is that her relief had little to do with “integration of women in the Marine Corps”, as both sides of the discussion seem to want to make it.

But what we definitely saw was the head-on collision between special treatment and high expectations.  They are mutually exclusive.

Storm in Benelux causes near disaster at Schiphol

A couple of days ago, there was severe weather across much of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux).  This played merry hell with the very dense air traffic in northern Europe, with many flights diverted from their destinations.  One other knock on effect is that bad weather reduces the operations capacity of an airport. An airport  can accommodate half a dozen jet landings in 10 minutes in fair weather might be reduced to only two or three in bad weather. Worse still, bad weather will force missed approaches, further reducing the capacity.

This severe weather lead to some very close calls at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nio38kxye-I]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9LruOa-hzA]

Wind shear is the phenomenon where a column of air is flowing down from a storm toward the ground. When that column of air hits the ground, it flows outward.

http://www.allweatherinc.com/wp-content/uploads/Microburst.png

What happens is that an aircraft on approach, flying into this outward flow essentially suddenly has a major headwind component, and its indicated airspeed makes a sudden leap, say from 140 knots to 160 knots. Pilots on approach, being very sensitive to maintaining speed for landing, almost instinctively reduce power to reduce speed.* The problem is, as the jet passes through the column, while decelerating, they then encounter a very strong downward force, and worse on the far side, they suddenly find themselves traveling in the same direction of the outflow.  That effectively removes the headwind component, and indeed, the tailwind component results in a sudden drastic drop in indicated airspeed, say from 160 knots to suddenly 120 knots. The problem is, a 737 won’t fly at 120 knots. 

Coupled with the downward vector imparted earlier, and the reduction of power, it is very easy for an airliner to be slammed into the ground well short of the runway, with disastrous consequences. 

I’ll leave it to Spill to describe the proper procedure for pilots that do find themselves in windshear.

The atrocious weather at Schiphol meant that Trasnavia wasn’t the only airliner having trouble that day.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02ddnGzxNZs?feature=player_embedded]

H/T to Airplane Pictures.
https://twitter.com/iLove_Aviation/status/626207186587287553

*Or worse, the autothrottles most airliners fly approaches with do it for the pilot and the pilot doesn’t immediately grasp that they are flying into windshear.