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"We're Done! Get Out!"
An analysis between a TV fight between swamp dwellers and swamp drainers
On air antagonists: Phillip Mudd, Paris Denard
(BenQQ 8.20.18) It happend before and will happen again: our man in Memphis Phillip Mudd blows his top on CNN even when he had an easy answer to a Trump adversary. The confrontation, which included Mudd yelling so hard his mic popped, took place on Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, with sub-host Jim Sciutto. Mudd, a former CIA anti-terrorist analyst went incendiary at CNN commentator Paris Denard as they debated the revocation of John Brennan's security clearance.
Perhaps an omen of the coming conflict between swamp dwellers and Trump swamp drainers, Mudd seemed to want to reach through the screen to strangle the imperturbably cool Denard who even chastised him for being over the top defensive.
On the larger political scale, it was a skirmish between Trumpers who wanted to "drain the swamp" and those who Denard said made money from it. Denard asserted that former government workers really wanted to keep their security clearances because such status increased consulting pay with private groups.
To that, Mudd tried to deflect Denard's assertion by alleging he gets zero dollars from the government for his security clearance. It was a straw man defense. The fail seemed to make Mudd's personal rage at Dennard boil over.
The easy answer Mudd should have used: Surprising a CIA analyst would not have been prepared for an obvious answer to a libertarian(?): if I'm getting paid by private companies, on what is your objection based? My clients or employers deem it worth it and are willing to pay for it in an open market. That would have lead the "conversation" into a defensible position that at least would not have so humiliating for Mudd. But Mudd was hooked as Denard reeled him in like a Snakehead from the Potomac.
Continuing: Dennard said it was an open secret in D.C. that people who have high-level security clearance get higher-paying consulting jobs. Said he cooly after one of Mudd's off the mark verbal volleys: "A lot of these people that have these security clearances, and this is the secret in the swampy Washington, D.C., they have them and they keep them because it's profitable for them after they leave government, because if you [unintelligible] a security clearance, especially high level security clearance, your contracts and consulting gig pay you a lot more money because of the access that you have. I hope the president continues to do this, and I hope he adds Omarosa to the list, because if she has a clearance, she too because of her actions should have it revoked."
Shortly thereafter Mudd asserted he got no money from government or from the private sector as a result of having a security clearance.
Mudd's CNN web site bio states, "Mudd is the Director of Enterprise Risk at SouthernSun Asset Management in Memphis, Tennessee. He also is a member of the advisory board of the NCTC, and he serves as a fellow at the New America Foundation and Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group."
SouthernSun Asset Management is a private investment company. NCTC (National Counterterrorism Center) is government. We found no "Enterprise Risk" department on SouthernSun's site nor any current affiliation of Mudd mentioned in its staff pages. On NCTC's site no employees are listed except for leadership. We have emailed both organizations if the CNN bio is accurate with no response as yet.
Dennard lunged on: "You get more money as a consultant for having the security clearance. Stop acting like that doesn't happen."
That did it for Mudd.
"We're done. We're done. GET OUT!" [my emphasis] Mudd yelled as if he was in a skiff meeting with trembling subordinates. Dennard didn't tremble.
"Don't be so defensive about this," he said. "Your voice is still here. You can still do whatever you want." That was what the original debate was about: Trump's revocation of security clearances generated the allegation that it somehow denied holders free speech.
"But the politicization of the intelligence community under this administration with the people coming on here every day tweeting and talking about this administration, you all have made it about politics, not the president," Denard continued.
Here's more I pulled from the exchange:
JIM SCIUTTO: I don't know if I would put Omarosa in the same category as the 75 people who signed the letters. [Letter signed by 75 counter intelligence higherups] But, Phil Mudd, I imagine you want to react.
PHILIP MUDD: Profitable, Paris? When I am required to sit on an advisory board, let me ask you one question, how much do you think I'm paid to do that at the request of the U.S. government? Give me one answer, and you've got 10 seconds? How much?
DENNARD: I'll ask you a question. How much are you paid for your contracting gig?
MUDD: ANSWER THE QUESTION!!! I have no contracts with the U.S. government that pay money. Zero.
DENNARD: I'm not talking about your role with the federal government. I'm talking about...
MUDD: Oh, who are you talking about? Are you talking General Hayden? [Hayden is now working in a private security firm.]
DENNARD: Consultant and a contractor, the consulting firms that they form and you all get is because you get more money when having a consultant for having the security clearance. Stop acting like that doesn't happen.
MUDD: That is incorrect. I have zero consulting relationships with the U.S. government. Zero.
DENNARD: I'm not talking -- Phil, that's a good talking point. I'm not talking about relationship with the government. I'm talking about in the private sector. When you a security clearance...
MUDD: I have zero relationships with the private sector that involve my security clearance.Zero. Zero. I get zero dollars from consulting companies that deal with the U.S. government. Are we clear?
DENNARD: Well, he will be clear in saying that everybody in Washington, D.C. knows -- if you don't want to be honest about it, that's on you -- but if you have a security clearance and you keep it, you get more money to have it.
MUDD: We're done. We're done. GET OUT!
DENNARD: It's not your show. I'm staying right here. Don't be so defensive about this.
MUDD: GET OUT!!
DENNARD: Don't be so defensive about this. Your voice is still here. You can still do whatever you want. But the politicization of the intelligence community under this administration with the people coming on here every day tweeting and talking about this administration, you all have made it about politics, not the president.
See the full brawl here.
Ben "BenQQ" Harrison
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