I like that phrase with which a contributor to Dailykos concludes a report of DHS “intelligence” gathering about reporters.
The Washington Post has gotten their hands on some truly disturbing “intelligence reports” that were reportedly compiled by the Department of Homeland Security, disseminated by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and are entirely focused on journalists from The New York Times and the creator of the Lawfare blog. These journalists seem to have been targeted for leaking unclassified memos and reports that highlighted how aggressively ignorant federal agents were when it came to the true nature of the Portland protests they were brought into squash.
The fact that Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s used federal forces to stifle predominantly peaceful protests and violate the civil liberties of American citizens—against the wishes of both state and local officials—is an enormous swastika-shaped red flag of fascism. As the Post points out, these DHS intelligence reports themselves are not classified documents, and “are traditionally used for sharing the department’s analysis with federal law enforcement agencies, state and local officials, and some foreign governments.” They aren’t meant to be created about American citizens who have zero affiliation with illegal activities.
Benjamin Wittes, one of the journalists whose tweets and reporting was turned into a DHS intelligence report, told the Post that he is considering what his legal options are and would have more to say about this piece of law enforcement overreach “at a later date.”
Former acting ICE director John Sandweg told the Post that these reports serve no operational purpose “whatsoever,” and calling the decision to create them “incredibly dumb.” That’s a nice way to say it. However, everything about this administration is either fascistic or play-acting at fascism. The only thing keeping Trump and friends from fully manifesting their clear desire to run the country as a dictatorship instead of a democracy is their general mediocrity and natural haphazard incompetence.
My own opinion is that bad behavior by subordinates is often a sign of poor management. It is a kind of rear guard action. Failure by design. It is not necessarily a bad thing.