Foreign desk: An Intel ‘Bombshell’ That Wasn’t
At Tablet, Eli Lake exposes the emptiness of Team Biden’s much-ballyhooed release of US intel blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “for ordering the operation that ended in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.” It’s based overwhelmingly on a classified report conducted soon after the fact, in October 2018 — which, like the new one, “also lacked hard proof of the crown prince’s role in Khashoggi’s murder.” Career civil servant Kirsten Fontenrose, a top National Security Council staffer then, calls the assessment “an abuse of the intelligence community’s power” used in a bid to force then-President Donald Trump’s hand. Yes, Lake notes, MBS’ top aides did the deed, but “the Khashoggi killing has many hallmarks of an attempted kidnapping gone wrong.” So why push this distorted intel? Well, for one thing, President Biden wants to get closer to Iran, the Saudis’ arch-nemesis; for another, the CIA resents how MBS sidelined its longtime friend, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, in becoming heir to the throne. In other words, it’s politics all the way down.
Conservative: Why Is Biden Dodging Media?
In “more than six weeks since” taking office, President Biden “has yet to hold a press conference during a pandemic that has claimed more than 107,000 lives since his inauguration,” notes Joe Concha at The Hill. And “the decision by his team to limit his interactions with the media, while barely traveling outside the White House to address the concerns of the American people, is wearing thin.” After his staff cut the feed as soon as he offered to take questions at a recent event, Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged on when the president would hold a news conference. There is also no sign of “a speech to a joint session of Congress, traditionally given within a few days of any modern president taking office.” People are noticing: The commander in chief dropped 22 points among independents in a Monmouth poll at what is “supposed to be the political-honeymoon stage of Biden’s presidency.”
Immigration watch: Joe’s Open-Borders Flop
President Biden’s plan to “sweep illegal immigrants and asylum into the American system with scarce thought for potential consequences” is decidedly unpopular, reports William Murchison at Spectator USA. Texas in particular, with its 1,254-mile Mexican border, knows the benefits and “challenges that any immigration policy brings.” And it’s telling that “neither Anglo nor Hispanic Texans yearn to make the southern border disappear.” Instead, they wonder why the Biden administration can’t seem to “get through its thick skull the notion that you can’t just let into America everyone who, on whatever ground, wants to come.”
From the right: DC Sacrificed to Political Theater
A large National Guard contingent has occupied the nation’s capital for more than eight weeks — but not to deter “rising far-right militias, ready to strike at any moment,” snarks The Federalist’s Christopher Bedford. It’s because on Jan. 6, a Capitol Police force “hobbled by its leadership’s poor training regimens, nearly nonexistent fitness standards and fecklessness in the face of crisis, was incapable of protecting the building or even shutting the big doors on time.” Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman “is perfectly content to use her own men and women as political pawns” for her Democratic bosses’ attempts “to spread fear and distrust against the half of the country that disagrees” with the left. But the security operations are clearly not about protecting against any real threat. “What matters is the narrative,” even if it means turning DC into “a great big theater.”
Faith beat: Theology Against the Woke Mobs
Why did ousted New York Times reporter Donald McNeil refuse under intense pressure to apologize for an incident an internal Times probe had already cleared him of? Perhaps because “he had the moral formation of a Catholic school” education, muses National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty. That formation carefully distinguishes various sins and offers a “supple understanding of duty and conscience, as well as the personal and social need for mercy” — that is to say, a rock-solid defense against woke terror.
— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board