The AP Grab: NSL versus Subpoena

Update: In his letter responding to AP’s complaints, Deputy Attorney General James Cole says these were subpoenas. Cole tries to argue the scope of the subpoena was fair. But what he doesn’t explain is why the government didn’t give the AP notice or an opportunity to turn over the contacts voluntarily.

I want to return to a question I introduced in my post describing DOJ’s grab of call records from 20 AP phone lines.

The assumption has been that DOJ subpoenaed these call records. While that’s probably right, I still think it’s possible DOJ got them via National Security Letter, which DOJ has permitted using to get journalist contacts in national security investigations since fall 2011. I’ll grant that AP President Gary Pruitt mentions subpoenas twice in his letter, once specifically in connection with DOJ’s grab and once more generally.

That the Department undertook this unprecedented step without providing any notice to the AP, and without taking any steps to narrow the scope of its subpoenas to matters actually relevant to an ongoing investigation, is particularly troubling.

The sheer volume of records obtained, most of which can have no plausible connection to any ongoing investigation, indicates, at a minimum, that this effort did not comply with 28 C.F.R. §50.10 and should therefore never have been undertaken in the first place. The regulations require that, in all cases and without exception, a subpoena for a reporter’s telephone toll records must be “as narrowly drawn as possible.’’ This plainly did not happen. [my emphasis]

But the entire point of Pruitt’s letter is to call attention to the way in which DOJ did not honor the spirit of its media guidelines, which are tied to subpoenas, not NSLs. That’s what the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide says explicitly (PDF 166) when it talks about using NSLs with journalists: when using NSLs, the rules don’t apply.

Department of Justice policy with regard to the issuances of subpoenas for telephone toll records of members of the news media is found at 28 C.F.R. § 50.10. The regulation concerns only grand jury subpoenas, not National Security Letters (NSLs) or administrative subpoenas. (The regulation requires Attorney General approval prior to the issuance of a grand jury subpoena for telephone toll records of a member of the news media, and when such a subpoena is issued, notice must be given to the news media either before or soon after such records are obtained.) The following approval requirements and specific procedures apply for the issuance of an NSL for telephone toll records of members of the news media or news organizations. [my emphasis]

For a variety of reasons, I think it possible the AP doesn’t actually know how DOJ got its reporters’ contact information. And thus far, the most compelling argument (one Julian Sanchez made) that DOJ used a subpoena is that they did ultimately disclose the grab to the AP; with NSLs they wouldn’t have to do that, at least certainly not in the same time frame.

But Pruitt’s emphasis is sort of why I’m interested in this question: either DOJ used a subpoena and in so doing implicitly claims several things about its investigation, or DOJ used an NSL as a way to bypass all those requirements (and use this as a public test case of broad new self-claimed authorities). Both could accomplish the same objective — getting call records with a gag order — but each would indicate something different about how they’re approaching this investigation.

Here are DOJ’s own regulations about when and how they can subpoena a journalist or his call records. Some pertinent parts are:

(b) All reasonable attempts should be made to obtain information from alternative sources before considering issuing a subpoena to a member of the news media, and similarly all reasonable alternative investigative steps should be taken before considering issuing a subpoena for telephone toll records of any member of the news media.

(d) Negotiations with the affected member of the news media shall be pursued in all cases in which a subpoena for the telephone toll records of any member of the news media is contemplated where the responsible Assistant Attorney General determines that such negotiations would not pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation in connection with which the records are sought. Such determination shall be reviewed by the Attorney General when considering a subpoena authorized under paragraph (e) of this section.

(g)(1) There should be reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the information sought is essential to the successful investigation of that crime. The subpoena should be as narrowly drawn as possible; it should be directed at relevant information regarding a limited subject matter and should cover a reasonably limited time period.

(g)(3) When the telephone toll records of a member of the news media have been subpoenaed without the notice provided for in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, notification of the subpoena shall be given the member of the news media as soon thereafter as it is determined that such notification will no longer pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation. In any event, such notification shall occur within 45 days of any return made pursuant to the subpoena, except that the responsible Assistant Attorney General may authorize delay of notification for no more than an additional 45 days. [my emphasis]

US Attorney Ronald Machen statement about the grab largely echoes those parts of the regulations (though somehow he forgot to mention that “subpoenas should be as narrowly drawn as possible”).

We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations. Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation. Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.

So either DOJ used an NSL, which would give them a longer gag, fewer express limits on the scope of the request, and zero expectation of giving notice beforehand (in addition, obtaining NSLs from journalists in national security cases doesn’t appear to require Attorney General sign-off). In which case Machen is playing the same kind of word games the DIOG plays, acknowledging there are regulations the spirit of which DOJ appears to have violated.

Or Machen maintains the following about the grab:

    • DOJ has already checked the US person call records of the people known to be read into the UndieBomb plot and not found any obviously calls or emails implicating the journalists involved in the story and either hasn’t been able to access or hasn’t found any obvious clues in the potential Saudi, Yemeni, and British people read into the operation (note, some Saudis were on the record on this within days and Yemenis also appear to have leaked it).
    • Notifying the AP that DOJ was going to go get journalist contact information for two months, in an investigation that has been widely publicized for an entire year, would pose some threat to the investigation. Normally, such a claim is usually based on the premise that revealing the investigation at all would alert the targets who would otherwise not know about it, but that’s obviously not what’s going on here, because this has been one of the most public leak investigations in recent years.

  • For some reason, DOJ needed call records for a total of 20 AP lines including some of the journalists’ personal lines for two full months, in spite of the requirement of a narrow scope.

It’s these three claims — claims which DOJ used to make the request they did and in so doing effectively expose all the work these 6 journalists as well as those working on the other lines grabbed — that make this grab so outrageous (even ignoring that John Brennan, who leaked the worst part of this story, was subsequently made CIA Director, and even ignoring that White House was going to release the information AP did the following day). While it’s possible that the AP’s sources for the story used adequate operational security such that DOJ couldn’t find any record of contact, it’s much harder to believe that DOJ couldn’t have negotiated with the AP and that DOJ needed all the phone lines of the AP — unless they were looking for something far more broad than just the UndieBomb 2.0 story.

Which brings me to another thing I’ve been thinking about: jurisdiction. After Eric Holder told Congress last January he had assigned the US Attorneys to conduct this and the StuxNet leak investigation based on some kind of jurisdiction, I asked why he’d appoint Ronald Machen, the US Attorney for DC, to investigate an alleged leak of a CIA operation, especially since as someone known to be very close to Holder, Machen raises more conflict-of-interest issues than Eastern District of VA’s US Attorney, Neil MacBride, would.

CIA thwarted a plot!!! the headlines read, until it became clear that it was really a Saudi investigation and it wasn’t a plot but a sting. Yet the CIA was definitely involved, at least according to all the reporting on the story. And the US Attorney from EDVA–Neil MacBride–would have a jurisdiction over CIA issues that is just as strong as the US Attorney from MD’s jurisdiction over NSA investigations.

These spooky agencies like keeping their investigations close to home.

So why didn’t Holder include MacBride in the dog-and-pony show last week?

There are several possibilities, all curious:

  • FBI has reason to believe the main leak did come from John Brennan’s conference call with Richard Clarke and Fran Fragos Townsend, which he placed from the White House
  • The op wasn’t run out of CIA after all, but was instead liaised with the Saudis through the NSC or State
  • The story never really existed, and the Saudis just fed us the story of an UndieBomb to give an excuse to start bombing insurgents in Yemen

Maybe there’s some entirely different, completely bureaucratically boring explanation. But Holder’s comment about district based selection (he didn’t use the word jurisdiction, though) suggests it should have been logical for MacBride to take the lead on UndieBomb 2.0. But he isn’t.

Why not?

But now I’ve got another theory as to why Holder had Machen, not MacBride, investigate this case: I suspect DOJ believes the DC Circuit will look more favorably on expansive readings of subpoenaing journalists than the 4th Circuit.

After all, Jeffrey Sterling’s leak prosecution under Leonie Brinkema has largely stalled, in part because the government appealed her ruling that James Risen was entitled to a qualified reporter’s privilege, one which hadn’t been overcome, particularly given the government’s unwillingness to call other spooky witnesses to testify. We’re still waiting on the decision regarding that subpoena, but at a hearing almost exactly a year ago, the judges showed some skepticism to DOJ claims.

At least two members of a three-judge federal appeals court panel appeared to express some skepticism on Friday about prosecutors’ request that they overturn a district judge’s order protecting a journalist from being forced to identify his confidential sources in the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer.

[snip]

One judge, Roger Gregory, sharply criticized prosecutors’ contention that the Constitution offers no special protection to a reporter who is a witness to a particular type of crime: the unauthorized disclosure of government secrets to that very reporter by an official.

“The king always wants to suppress what they are doing — that is what is troubling,” said Judge Gregory, who stressed what he portrayed as the “public interest” in knowing about government misconduct that led the framers of the Constitution to write the First Amendment.

In DC, meanwhile, I believe the most recent decision is the one that forced Judy Miller to testify in the Scooter Libby case. That ruling, too, recognized a qualified reporters privilege, one that Pat Fitzgerald managed to overcome by showing the efforts he had made to find out how Libby leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to Miller, and showing the gravity of the possibility that the Vice President was ordering his aides to out spies like this. If that standard were applied in this case, I suspect the shoddiness of Machen’s current claims would mean the government would fail too; DOJ just hasn’t done the work Fitzgerald did to shore up the case for needing this contact info, and DOJ also got far more than it appears they needed.

However, the DC Circuit has gotten more conservative in the last 9 years (in part because Obama hasn’t prioritized nominating and confirming a few non-radical right judges to the court), which makes it more likely any appeal of this would go before a panel of judges with a great fondness for unfettered Executive Branch authority.

Janice Rogers Brown, I suspect, would froth at the opportunity to help the Obama Administration establish a broad new standard for accessing journalist contacts.

I expect this grab to be reviewed by the courts, once AP figures out what DOJ did and what recourse they now have to put the reporter privacy genie back in the bottle. Ronald Machen is going to have to explain why, in an investigation everyone in the national security field knew about, negotiating with the AP would have damaged the investigation (unless they were after sources for other known AP articles, I suspect the answer to that is quite simple: because DOJ knew they might lose and in any case would be greatly held up by the legal challenge). DOJ may lose that fight in any case, but I suspect they stand a much better chance in the DC Circuit than the 4th Circuit.

I suspect DOJ will have a hard time defending the legitimacy of this grab in any case (which is different from defending its legality). But one reason I’m still not convinced they made this grab using a subpoena is that their legal case might actually be better if they used an NSL than if they used a subpoena (though using NSLs might well expose the use of them more generally to reversal on Constitutional grounds).

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

36 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    one would think that whitehouse, cia, and state dept email and phone call records would be highly relevant to this investigation and cause less of a fuss to collect.

    i wonder why the doj didn’t go that route.

    i also wonder if any sensible person would use email or phoine to disclose anything to a reporter after the last five years of persecutions. meting with a reporter over a cup of coffee or a beer after work would seem to be a lot more sensible way to disclose information.

    things will get very interesting indeed if we discover that whoever released the info about the two “secret” programs was ordered or permitted by the white house to do so.

  2. scribe says:

    Shorter DoJ letter: “AP, we just shat on your head and now we’re making a public spectacle of rubbing your nose in it.”

    If it was, indeed, NSLs, DoJ would never have to have notified AP of anything under existing law. That they even wrote anything tells me they wanted the public to see it. (That, or they’re trying to flush the quarry in the leak case, much like sending out pictures of the Boston knucklehead brothers. They probably have taps on the 20 lines and are waiting to see who calls, worried about being disclosed.)

    I think the proper course for AP to take would be twofold: (1) start reporting the hell out of every peccadillo of every DoJ official (and CIA and such, too) involved in this from the low-level agent on up to Holder, Brennan and Obama, and make it hurt, and (2) refuse to comply with NSL confidentiality requirements.

    And see about sussing whether there are any taps on their lines.

    There’s a lot of public education to be done on just how onerous and anti-Constitutional the whole NSL regime is, and AP is in the perfect position to do just that. A long, long series on all the intricacies of the police state. Public education in the best traditions of the Free Press.

    Early in my legal career I was on a case that was gettng some local media attention and the reporter routinely made a hash out of it and me. As my boss told me then: “don’t get into an argument with a guy who buys ink by the barrel.” We cut off the reporter – declined all requests for comment – and let it wither; when he ran out of our cooperation, he moved on to some other story. DoJ might just have picked a fight with the wrong guy. Electrons are even cheaper than ink.

  3. joanneleon says:

    This makes a lot of sense.

    I still don’t understand the motive for grabbing so much information, but I guess nobody understands that right now.

  4. joanneleon says:

    Interesting.

    Noah Shachtman [email protected] 3h
    Gotta love the so-called liberals defending the President’s right to spy on journos in an apparent attempt to cover up his own WH leaks.
    https://twitter.com/dangerroom/status/334289295827402752

    Who would they be trying to convince? Saudis? I think I’m missing something obvious. It doesn’t seem like most Americans have the first clue about the details of the whole thing, nor do they seem to care.

    However he’s right about the liberals defending this whole thing. Earlier I read a blog post, supported by almost 200 Dem partisan fierce defenders, about how it’s all just a GOP non-scandal. In the comments there is vigorous defense of the admin, and condemnation of AP for creating a national security risk and putting our men and women in harms way in danger. They’re just lapping it all up, no questions asked.

  5. Phil Perspective says:

    @orionATL: i also wonder if any sensible person would use email or phoine to disclose anything to a reporter after the last five years of persecutions.

    If they do, and are smart, both parties probably use “burners.” That’s what I would suggest. And then just use previously arranged codes so that each party knows who the other is.

  6. LittlePig says:

    or DOJ used an NSL as a way to bypass all those requirements (and use this as a public test case of broad new self-claimed authorities)

    I just assumed it was a NSL; this isn’t that much of a step as the usage of them has progressed, and the telecoms have given every indication that the letters are good enough for them. The elapsed time seems to bend that way as well, since with a NSL a lot fewer folks are involved as I understand it.

    I’m of two minds on this one. War cheerleader Ron Fournier hasn’t met any totalitarianism he hasn’t liked so far, so let’s give that shoe a try on the other foot. (Yeah, I know, I’m a bad and petty person). And it is part and parcel of what has been in plain sight for quite a while. Since we only look forward now,I expect Eric Holder’s job is quite safe.

  7. greengiant says:

    Don’t know what ate my comment. Maybe the NSL is the alternative source to the subpoena. Key points being does the NSL require the AGs notice.

    The comment cleaner may have tagged a 3 letter government agency, an ex VP, an oil services company, an oil services company subsidiary, a presidential election, a state, a voter list purge, a presidential advisor, an election voting machine server crash and crash prevention, a live breakdown on TV on election night, the government and contractor capture of microwave and cell tower data under international rules that if a foreign entity could do it from trawler or listening post then the communication was international.
    Or maybe it was the comment about “Rachel from credit card services”

  8. greengiant says:

    Don’t know what ate my comment. Maybe the NSL is the alternative source to the subpoena. Key points being does the NSL require the AGs notice.

    The comment cleaner may have tagged a 3 letter government agency, an ex VP, an oil services company, an oil services company subsidiary, a presidential election, a state, a voter list purge, a presidential advisor, an election voting machine server crash and crash prevention, a live breakdown on TV on election night, the government and contractor capture of microwave and cell tower data under international rules that if a foreign entity could do it from trawler or listening post then the communication was international.
    Or maybe it was the comment about “Rachel from credit card services”

  9. Jim White says:

    Okay, I’m speculating way beyond my pay grade since this is an area I don’t follow as closely as most of the rest of you here, but I just saw that CNN is reporting it was a subpoena and that Holder recused himself from the decision, letting it fall to an AAG (who has since left DOJ). I can only see two possible reasons for the recusal:

    1) Holder had already had conversations with Obama about going after AP.

    2) Holder was one of the leakers being investigated and he already knew he was a subject of the investigation.

    Under 1), if AG notice is required for an NSL, could we actually have both routes used by different parts of the investigation? Holder getting someone going on NSL’s and then someone else coming along from lower in DOJ doing the right thing and filing for a subpoena?

    Under 2), it seems like Holder could have at least given some input that would have been able to give laser-like focus to the investigation if he was the source of the leak. (only partially snark…)

    Update: I’ve already been informed on Twitter that Holder was interviewed in one of the relevant leak investigations. I suppose that info could help pin down just when the subpoena decision was made:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-12/news/sns-rt-us-usa-security-leaksbre85b1l5-20120612_1_leak-probe-leak-investigations-sensitive-information

  10. thatvisionthing says:

    @Jim White:

    2) Holder was one of the leakers being investigated and he already knew he was a subject of the investigation.

    From my orbit shell I am hooting.

    Drifting over into OCC-Bank of America territory now… is an independent consultant/IG review next? Checking stars…

  11. rosalind says:

    @thatvisionthing: (Kevn G. just tweeted: “Understand FDL isn’t loading yet, but I was able to get my post up on DoJ seizing AP phone records… hang tight folks. Thanks…”)

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    How kind of you, echoing Eliza Doolittle, to say that Mr. Obama “hasn’t prioritized nominating and confirming a few non-radical right judges to the [DC federal appeals] court.” I would say that applies not just to the DC Circuit, but to the federal bench as a whole.

    Mr. Obama claims, in part, that making credible centrist, let alone leftish, nominations to the federal bench would be fruitless, given GOP [and Democratic] Senate obstructionism. He claims that the energy required for this, how shall I put it, act of governance, would interfere with his agenda [his generic reason not to do anything].

    It’s a president’s job, among many others, to nominate and actively seek confirmation of appointments to the federal bench. It’s how we get federal judges in the first place.

    Not attending to this task – essential to many others, such as keeping the courthouse doors open and ensuring that justice is not denied because of long delays – cannot be about interference with the president’s “agenda”. It is, after all, a fundamental part of his job that cannot be delegated. Not filling federal courtships must, therefore, be the president’s agenda. Which means that Mr. Obama must be very comfortable with the empty seats, the work not done, and right wing zealots and placeholders that Bush/Cheney so actively promoted and whose Senate confirmations they zealously pursued.

    In many ways, Mr. Obama is a fraud. He simply thinks he’s so smart no one will figure it out, and that we will thank him for trying so hard to do what he really doesn’t want done.

  13. P J Evans says:

    @earlofhuntingdon:
    He needs to wake up, because the GOP is using scandals like Benghazi™ to gin up impeachment demands, and Democrats are likely to go along because of crap like this (and drones). We aren’t stupid, but we are ticked off.

  14. GKJames says:

    At what point is it no longer unseemly to ask if this Administration is running a criminal enterprise? (The question comes from a Democrat, mind you.)

  15. GKJames says:

    @P J Evans: That, I think, is the problem. The alternative on offer in 2012 wouldn’t have been better. He’d have become just as much of a hood ornament, C-in-C in name only, co-opted by the national security apparatus. The rot is systemic.

  16. lefty665 says:

    EW, What haven’t we seen yet?

    What about cell? That geo locates for physical meetings in addition to traffic analysis and content. A cell phone also makes a pretty good bug.

    AP could reasonably be figuring that everything on their individual computers and the entire AP information system has been compromised. Email, calendars, notes, story drafts, internal communications, Skype, web activity, whatever.

    AP didn’t know it, but StuxNet and spawn’s handlers were after them.

    From the AG today: This was a serious leak, a very, very serious leak,” Holder said, saying it was the most serious he’s seen since he became a prosecutor in 1979. “It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole, it put the American people at risk, and trying to determine who was responsible for that, I think, required very aggressive action.”

    Remember “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” A Barry is a Barry is a Barry…

    Land lines gotta be just the tip of the iceberg.

  17. Jim Bishop says:

    I think we should all take a very deep breath and consider the AG’s comment ‘…This was a serious leak, a very, very serious leak,” Holder said, saying it was the most serious he’s seen since he became a prosecutor in 1979. “It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole, it put the American people at risk, and trying to determine who was responsible for that, I think, required very aggressive action.” Unless you take him for a liar, I think he and the administration deserve some patience on this issue. If the A.P. is actually threatening the country’s core interests, they should pay the price.

  18. bmaz says:

    @Jim Bishop: Yeah, sure. Well, except every fact we know about this “investigation” militates agains that position, from start to now. In fact, other than pure self serving bullshit from government yammering heads, please tell me one shred, just one shred, of evidence that supports this mealy mouthed suck up position of yours. I’ll be waiting.

  19. Jim Bishop says:

    @Jim White: and bmaz – You two remind me of every right and left wing fanatic I’ve ever met over 52 years of following politics. Just fly off at the mouth as soon as you get a hint of events and take no time to gather information first, even for a few days. I would read the IG’s report when that is available before claiming to have actual knowledge of what is happening, and who did what to whom.

  20. Jim Bishop says:

    @Jim White: and bmaz – You two remind me of every right and left wing fanatic I’ve ever met over 52 years of following politics. Just fly off at the mouth as soon as you get a hint of events and take no time to gather information first, even for a few days. I would read the IG’s report when that is available before claiming to have actual knowledge of what is happening, and who did what to whom.

  21. Jim White says:

    @Jim Bishop: Oh that’s rich. I was drawn to the other writers of this blog precisely because they are dedicated only to civil liberties and don’t care whether they are attacking the left or right when they call out moves that endanger rights. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been equally excoriated here when they infringe rights.

    The proprietress of this blog has been digging into the intricate details of the issues underlying this DOJ investigation since the orginal events over a year ago, and so to accuse her or bamaz and me of “flying off at the mouth” over the latest events either displays a complete lack of reading comprehension or demonstrates you are merely spending your day driving by every commentary outlet you can find, offering your advice to take a deep breath before attacking our fearless leader over his latest infringing of our civil liberties.

  22. Jim Bishop says:

    @Jim White: ‘…our fearless leader over his latest infringing of our civil liberties…’ Thus far it looks to me like the D.O.J. is enforcing written law. That’s what we hire it to do. If you don’t like the law, have it changed.

  23. bmaz says:

    @Jim Bishop: Yeah, right back at you there bubba. By the way, what “IG report” are you referring to and demanding we “wait for”?? This is currently, by all evidence, a grand jury matter. At any rate, you seem to have no problem mouthing off, so I think we will just keep doing what we do.

  24. Jim Bishop says:

    @bmaz: @bmaz: I’m sure you will, as is your right. However, the loudness of your jabber, and the ignorance of it, does not make you sensible. There is a process we have agreed to with which we settle such questions, and pitchforks and torches are not part of it.

  25. GKJames says:

    @Jim Bishop: Interesting is your low threshold of satisfaction with Holder’s statement. To insist that it was a “a very, very serious leak” and that it “put the American people at risk” is asserted easily enough. But shouldn’t Holder have the burden to offer more meaty facts on which that banal conclusion is based? And doesn’t context matter? The gulf between Administration action and rhetoric on national security matters over the course of half a decade begs for the highest skepticism.

  26. Jim Bishop says:

    @GKJames: I guess we’ll see, when we have more than chicken guts to sort through, which is all you have at the moment.

  27. bmaz says:

    @Jim Bishop: Listen, make no mistake, YOU are the one who wandered in here today, for the first time, out of the blue with apologist talking points, and started telling people that have been around a decade or more at this blog and its precursors how and what to think. It is YOU who are arrogant, dismissive and, apparently, ill informed. That is the last time I will waste on you.

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