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How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook 266

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Conor Friedersdorf has written a tongue-in-cheek article in The Atlantic advising New Jersey Governor Chris Christie how he can use the NSA playbook to successfully defend himself of the charges that a senior member of his staff was involved in shutting down George Washington Bridge traffic, a stunt meant to punish the mayor of an affected town for opposing his reelection. Christie's NSA-inspired explanation would include the following points: There are almost 9 million people in New Jersey, and only one was targeted for retribution, an impressively tiny error rate lower than .001 percent; The bridge closure was vital to national security because [redacted]; Since the George Washington Bridge is a potential terrorist target, everything that may or may not have happened near it is a state secret; Going after a political rival is wrong but it's important to put this event in context; Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was the only target of non-compliant behavior. No other Fort Lee resident was ever targeted for retribution, and any delays that any Fort Lee resident experienced were totally inadvertent and incidental; Finally a panel will be formed to figure out how to restore the public's faith in Chris Christie. "To some readers, these talking points may seem absurd or deliberately misleading," concludes Friedersdorf, "but there isn't any denying that so far they're working okay for the NSA.""
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How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook

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  • beacon of freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:33AM (#45925787)
    it is really telling that the public official closed the bridge illegally and nobody is sitting in jail for this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      “Chris Christie is dealing with a scandal after it was revealed that a top aide shut down access to the George Washington Bridge to get back at a Democratic mayor for not endorsing him. Christie was furious when they blocked the bridge because he thought they said they were blocking the fridge.” –Jimmy Fallon []

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I think its telling that Chris Christie didn't attempt any of that BS when he apologized.

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      Oh, come on. This was revealed, what? Two days ago? You're angry because convictions don't happen instantaneously? You can get angry about this is in a few months when we find out that the prosecutor has decided to drop the investigation. You're really jumping the gun here.
    • it is really telling that the public official closed the bridge illegally and nobody is sitting in jail for this.

      "Telling?" If you look at politics, this is business as usual. Bush, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, they all have done much worse. Christie just was particularly stupid because he acted on something that's a bit sensitive and exercised his power out of complete pettiness instead of advancing his career through it. But by the time the next election comes around, voters will have forgotten even this.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      There's this concept called "Due Process". Prosecutors investigate what happened, decide if someone should be charged. Then there's this thing called a trial. If someone is finally found guilty they might go to jail.

      At this point there is absolutely no evidence that Christie knew his staff was involved. But Democrats will be harping on the "scandal" for the next three years because Christie is the biggest threat to the gravy train they've been enjoying for the past five years.

    • Yet. No one is sitting in jail, yet. This was just uncovered. Everyone involved is already punished to some degree though. The public official was fired. The political adviser was not only fired but was told he would not be eligible to work as a consultant for any Republican governor again.
  • by plasticquart ( 75467 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:42AM (#45925813)

    ... a stunt meant to punish the mayor of an affected town for opposing his reelection.

    It is now suspected that this might not be the motivation for the bridge closure. []

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:48AM (#45925841)
      From your link:

      In 2010, Christie took the unprecedented step of refusing to reappoint a New Jersey Supreme Court justice for another term, which set off the New Jersey Democrats, who got back at Christie by shooting down all the other Supreme Court justice nominees he put forward.

      So when a Republican member of the New Jersey Supreme Court came up for reappointment last year, NJ Senate Democrats promised to make it a brutal fight, so Christie decided to stop the reappointment. He was furious at Senate Democrats, and held a press conference getting really angry with them.

      That press conference, expressing much anger with Senate Democrats, was held on August 12, 2013, a day before the Bridgegate e-mail was sent. And Fort Lee, the town that got backed up, is part of the legislative district represented by Loretta Weinberg, the leader of the Senate Democrats.

    • An interesting theory, but I think it goes to prove once more that Christie doesn't like the fact that people commute to New York for work. Remember when he shut down a financed infrastructure project that would have helped the economy immensely and would have reduced road traffic -- well, until he shut it down based on fake reasons and outright lies? I'm talking about the second railway tunnel crossing the Hudson, for those to ADS to remember. []

  • Random satire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:47AM (#45925835)

    I'm struggling to understand how this qualifies as "News For Nerds" or "Stuff That Matters".

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Maybe you aren't nerdy enough.

    • by cffrost ( 885375 )

      I'm struggling to understand how this qualifies as "News For Nerds" or "Stuff That Matters".

      I believe it was meant to foster a discussion about NSA's post-Snowden propaganda campaign, but we don't seem to be having that discussion, as far as I've read.

  • by lemur3 ( 997863 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:55AM (#45925855)

    this 'article' is a load of cynical sarcastic crap.

    and im a cynical sarcastic crap myself... i dont get it.. what exactly is the point of this?

  • how did those emails and texts get to the media?

    i'm not saying the NSA did it. but how easy would it have been for it to do so?

    i'm not even saying the NSA would be pursing this as policy. the NSA is not an iron machine, it's composed of people. there's greed and corruption everywhere. for every virtuous edward snowden, there's another guy like edward snowden who knows a political operative and would do what snowden did, but for the motivation of cash instead. sell this kind of info for six or seven figures

    that's how dangerous the NSA is to democracy. infiltrate the NSA, abuse its powers as an employee, destroy the legitimacy of our government with the leaks and manipulations you are now capable of

    we live in a world where the NSA can decide presidential elections, or any elections. right now. everyone has dirt on them. focus on the candidates you want to weed out, get dirt like this bridge fiasco on them, leak it to the media, and voila: you decide elections

    this is why the NSA has to be curtailed. it is incompatible with democracy. the NSA will destroy this country, make everyone believe their government is fake

    the NSA must be made transparent, congressional oversight bolted on, its scope of powers severely reduced, etc. secret courts? what the fuck? no! not acceptable

  • by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:08AM (#45925901) Homepage

    It wasn't to punish someone who wouldn't endorse him. That's just a flashpoint scandal, nothing big. I half suspect it to be one that's being sent out intentionally to exhaust the media's attention before the real scandal starts getting out.

    Basically he screwed over some Democratic Judge, and the Dems in his area announced they would be very critical of a Republican Judge that was coming up for reconfirmation in retaliation, so he pulled the same screwjob on that Republican Judge to prevent her from being questioned by the Dems. The next day he pulled the bridgegate crap in the home district of the head Democrat.

    Rachel Maddow has done all the work and has an interview with said head Dem. []

    Or you could turn to Fox News, where somehow it was Obama's fault because Benghazi.

    • how can you in good faith slam fox news while at the same time use racheal maddow as an example of good investigative journalism? Your bias is showing
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:16AM (#45925941) Homepage
    the mayor of Fort Lee has nothing to do with this:

    Recently Christie had unloaded on Democrats in a particularly angry press conference concerning the renomination battle of a N.J. Supreme Court judge, a battle that had been several years in the making. The woman who headed the state Senate committee causing embarrassment for Christie at the time was N.J. state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D), who happens to represent Fort Lee.
  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:46AM (#45926059) Homepage

    So by looking a Chris Christie's friends what can we determine from him? All of his friends seem to be petty, vindictive, bullies. Then when things go bad, it is every man for themselves which shows a lack of loyalty since everyone except Christie has had to resign. It won't be long until one of his friends turns on him, but then it will be an all out character assassination against that old friend.

    This little stunt happened on the first day of school, messing with kids and communities on a stressful first day, the people of NY & NJ, interstate commerce, and possible security and emergency services.

    Some of the friends are going to need a timeout, where big people go for timeout. A little jail time.

  • Not "working well" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:11PM (#45926441)
    The NSA's "defense" is not "working well." Except maybe with Democrats and Republicans who wish Snowden never existed. For a lot of the rest of the population NSA excuses are making things worse for them, not better.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:14PM (#45926455)

    This sort of thing is what politicians do every day. There is essentially no legal way to hold the guy responsible.

    The only people who can punish Christie are voters. Hopefully they will do just that, although the fact that both Bush and Obama got reelected doesn't make me very confident that voters care about abuse of power.

  • So if I have this right (regardless what caused these assholes to close the bridge), then if terrorists hate the American government, they take it out on The People of America (Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, Boston Marathon, etc...), and now if the American government hates the American government, they take it out on The People of America, too. Ouch, my country hurts!
  • by germansausage ( 682057 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:34PM (#45926561)
    As a non-USA-citizen, I don't have any stake in the outcome, but I'm really curious to see how this affects Christie's run for the White House. Is this a big enough problem to derail his carefully crafted "Pragmatic, bi-partisan, get stuff done" persona, or will it blow over?

    My personal take, FWIW, is that he either knew and is lying, or he didn't and is a schmuck because his whole team leadership lied to him for months and he didn't catch on. If I was a voter I would be asking myself, "What if this guy is elected president, and then one day gets mad at me?"
    • He apparently never asked for the results of the traffic study. Given that his former job was as a prosecutor, he's been doing a really bad job investigating.

  • Christie has already dealt with the scandal. He fired everyone responsible, apologized to the victims and made sure that anyone involved in the bad decision making will not be involved in further decision making. The premise of summary is that Christie should try to downplay the impact of the harm done by the closure. But he didn't do that. He accepted the responsibility (so no attempt to downplay the impact) and dealt with the issue promptly.
    • Cristie learned from Clinton.

      The slow admission.

      Now we wait for the inevitable evidence of Cristie's direct involvement. Then he admits to another slice.

      It won't work for Christie, it only worked for Bill because the press was blowing him on a daily basis.

      Of course this is part of the larger picture of both parties sniping at the others centrists. So they have a better candidate to run against.

  • The Democrats can have Christie for all I care ... they are his true kindred.

    But it is funny to see all the Two Minutes Hate starting already.

  • And outside of the US, we call both Repooplicans and Democraps "Americans" and have a good laugh at your perpetual stream of made-in-the-media "scandals".

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Not to worry, though. We have our own media trying to spin minor events as "major scandals" to sell advertising, too.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen