Giddy Up, Elon Musk Identifies the State Dept Origin Behind Twitter Content Control Mechanisms

Posted originally on the CTH on February 6, 2023 | Sundance

… He still hasn’t identified the source code, the proverbial ghost in the machine, buried deep in the algorithmic code; however, Twitter owner Elon Musk has finally identified the agency within the U.S. government who spearheaded the creation.  The “Global Engagement Center” (GEC) of the State Dept.

The GEC mission is described as, “To direct, lead, synchronize, integrate, and coordinate U.S. Federal Government efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partner nations,” (link).   However, when you overlay the expanded Dept of State mission that Obama delivered, transferring GEC intent to domestic operations, suddenly the background of Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop makes sense.  [Musk Tweet Link]

[Musk Tweet Link – GEC Center Link]

Readers here are so far ahead of the curve on this story, it’s kind of cool, funny, and yet frustrating at the same time.  Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop is all a wild conspiracy theory born from the oddly wired brain of some dude in the corner of the internet; until suddenly it’s not.

Factually, it has been staring at everyone since the operation began in 2011, yet no one was willing to believe it.  Apparently, Elon Musk is starting to realize what is inside the communication platform he purchased.

For several years, CTH has been outlining the relationship between DHS and social media.  Currently, the headlines are filled with stories about Twitter and revelations of censorship and government influence coming from the purchase of the platform by Elon Musk.  However, as I said from the outset of this new moment, I promise you things are not what they seem.

As noted earlier, and it is worth repeating, let me put some context to the dynamic that will hopefully clarify what is going on, and perhaps the context will help explain what you are seeing and what you are not seeing as this unfolds.  There are going to be a lot of citations to fill in the details, and understanding the modern Fourth Branch of Government is critical.  The bigger picture also explains why SSCI Chairman Mark Warner said “people will die” if the seized Trump Mar-a-Lago documents become public.

♦ Elevator Speech: Twitter is to the U.S. government as TikTok is to China. The overarching dynamic is the need to control public perceptions and opinions. DHS has been in ever increasing control of Twitter since the public-private partnership was formed in 2011/2012.  Jack Dorsey lost control and became owner emeritus; arguably, Elon Musk had no idea (you’ll see proof toward the end).

To explain the background activity of Twitter in a way that readers could understand, I used the metaphor of Twitter as Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop.

…”The metaphorical Jack had a great idea, open a coffee shop where the beverages were free and use internal advertising as the income subsidy to operate the business.  Crowds came for the free coffee, comfy couches, fellowship, conversation and enjoyment.

It didn’t matter where Jack got the coffee, how he paid for it, or didn’t, or what product advertising the customers would be exposed to while there.  Few people thought about such things.  Curiously, it didn’t matter what size the crowd was; in the backroom of Jack’s Coffee Shop they were able to generate massive amounts of never-ending free coffee at extreme scales.

Over time, using the justification of parking lot capacity and township regulations, not everyone would be able to park and enter.  Guards were placed at the entrance to pre-screen customers.  Some were denied.  A debate began.”…

Here’s what happened….

In/around 2011 and 2012 the U.S. Government, Obama administration and the U.S. State Dept., came into Jack’s Coffee Shop and asked him for help.

The govt officials needed to deliver massive amounts of coffee to their allies in Egypt, Libya and the middle east to support the Arab Spring party.  Jack told the officials he was willing to help but didn’t have the capacity to deliver on that scale.  The officials told Jack not to worry, they would handle that aspect – he just needed to agree to the partnership and let them utilize his business.  Jack agreed.

[Note, the timing here is not accidental.  The operational agreement happened at the same time DHS was fine tuning the domestic surveillance systems to monitor social media platforms and target political opposition. See The Fourth Branch.]

Over the next several weeks, months and eventually years, Jack watched as hundreds of new employees flooded into the business to facilitate the rapid expansion.  Along with a myriad of new faces, new equipment was delivered, and soon Jack found himself looking at heavy industrial equipment erecting large buildings in the back lots of the property.  Coffee urns were replaced with massive industrial coffee delivery systems that far exceeded anything Jack ever imagined.

Business was booming, but slowly Jack realized he had lost control.  Jack was riding a dragon.

As the years progressed, thousands of new employees moved into the offices of the new buildings and massive pipelines were producing incredible scales of coffee.  Jack noted offices of the United Nations Human Rights Commission were now creating unique blends of coffee for international distribution, and the European Commission had an entire suite of specially trained coffee production engineers creating alternate combinations and flavors.

By 2018, Jack had essentially become an “owner emeritus”; his name was on the shingle, but the day-to-day operation of Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop had turned into an industrial park complex.

Jack saw his personal wealth attached to the success of the business, but operationally, his only responsibility was traveling to symposiums and venues where he would stand on stage and wax philosophically about the future of a coffee delivery organization he no longer controlled.  Day-to-day operations were now controlled by experts in the scale of massive industrial coffee.  Those experts came from the Dept of Homeland Security.

[The Intercept] – […] Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information.

“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.

In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government. Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” (read more)

To streamline the operational efficiencies as the industrial coffee system grew, direct portals between the Washington DC government offices and Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop were created.  Officials no longer needed to travel to the location of Jack’s Coffee Shop in order to operate the valves, mixers, grinders and systems to generate the scale of blends being produced.

Experts could now use direct portals to the facility to operate the coffee production systems remotely, with a limited number of specially trained (FBI) coffee engineers doing the laborious tasks and maintenance at the facility.

The badges were intimidating to Jack who went to sleep every night under the realization he no longer had any clue about how the coffee shop communication business was operating.

[…]  The extent to which the DHS initiatives affect Americans’ daily social feeds is unclear. During the 2020 election, the government flagged numerous posts as suspicious, many of which were then taken down, documents cited in the Missouri attorney general’s lawsuit disclosed. And a 2021 report by the Election Integrity Partnership at Stanford University found that of nearly 4,800 flagged items, technology platforms took action on 35 percent — either removing, labeling, or soft-blocking speech, meaning the users were only able to view content after bypassing a warning screen. The research was done “in consultation with CISA,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Prior to the 2020 election, tech companies including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media met on a monthly basis with the FBI, CISA, and other government representatives. According to NBC News, the meetings were part of an initiative, still ongoing, between the private sector and government to discuss how firms would handle misinformation during the election. (keep reading)

After several years of increasing distance from the Coffee Shop operation he initially started, eventually Jack decided it was silly to own an industrial coffee delivery system that he didn’t control.  So, Jack decided to sell his shingle to someone else.

Enter, Elon Musk.

Billionaire Elon Musk, a man intimately familiar with large industrial systems and government, had been watching the disgruntled visitors to Jack’s Coffee Shop who were no longer permitted to enter.  Musk saw an inequity between the amount of coffee that was available, and the scarcity of the coffee amid a community blacklisted by the operational executives and managers of the shop.

With expressions of both interest and fellowship, Mr. Elon Musk told Mr. Jack Dorsey he would take ownership of Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop and remove any discriminatory guards that were now controlling permitted entry.  Jack had no aversion to Elon and eventually a deal was brokered.

After the transfer of sale was complete, Mr. Musk fired many of the guards and then set about checking the payroll to identify which group of shop employees were actually involved in the generation of coffee, and which employees were involved in promotion of the industrial coffee delivery system that were no longer needed.

Within this process, Elon Musk begins to discover the complex nature of what, at least at the surface, appeared to be an uncomplicated coffee shop.  Why is there a 500-room glass walled office building on the backside of the coffee shop?  What is going on in that GEC building that has anything to do with selling domestic coffee?

The sunlight revelations began surfacing a few months ago when someone of reasonably intelligent curiosity finally asked Elon Musk the right question about this direct portal from DHS into the coffee shop. How Mr. Musk replied might surprise you.

You see, the Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop metaphor is evidenced in the Musk response.

Twitter owner Elon Musk has no idea that a DHS portal into the coffee shop existed and what it would be for.  WATCH:


To put it in brutally honest terms, the State Dept initially created the partnership between the U.S. government and Twitter (Arab Spring).  However, when the operations needed to become domestically centered (post Trump election), another agency stepped in…. The United States Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) is the operating system running in the background of Twitter.

You can debate whether Elon Musk honestly didn’t know all this before purchasing Twitter from his good friend Jack Dorsey, and/or what the scenario of owner/operator motive actually is.  Decide for yourself, but with public statements it genuinely looks like Musk didn’t know.

Regardless of foreknowledge, I feel confident the conflicting and odd datapoints only reconcile in one direction.  The State Dept started it, but now DHS, via CISA, controls Twitter.

Wittingly or unwittingly (you decide) Elon Musk is now the face of a quasi govt controlled enterprise.

If you concur with my researched assessment, then what you see being released by Elon Musk in the Twitter Files is actually a filtered outcome as a result of this new ownership dynamic.

Put simply, DHS stakeholders, to include the DOJ, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), are mitigating any consequential public exposure of their domestic surveillance activity by controlling and feeding Mr. Musk selected information about their prior Twitter operations.  DHS is still the ghost in the machine.

TikTok is to Beijing as Twitter is to Washington DC.

The larger objective of U.S. involvement in social media has always been monitoring and surveillance of the public conversation, and then ultimately controlling and influencing public opinion.

Mr. Elon Musk and his team are combing through millions of lines of algorithmic code, trying to find that “fundamental part” that will deliver their own ‘ah-ha’ moment.  Until then, we keep watching and smiling…

Support CTH Here ~

[Musk Tweet Link]


Large Numbers of FBI Agents Work Inside Twitter 

Govt Structured Cloud Computing is Social Media operating System

Tech Platforms Connected to DHS Portals

Examples of Govt Influence of Social Media Content

[…] “Intelligence agencies backed new startups designed to monitor the vast flow of information across social networks to better understand emerging narratives and risks.” [HERE]

Understanding Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop

Leaked DHS Documents Showing Connections

Why Govt Fears Discovery of Relationship

Intel Community Says They Discovered Prior Chinese Spy Balloon Operations, Only After President Trump Left Office

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on February 6, 2023 | Sundance 

This is so stunningly incredulous, and transparently politically orchestrated, it’s laughable.

The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) defended the actions of the Biden administration last Saturday by saying three Chinese spy balloons had previously been deployed during the Trump administration.  However, President Trump and all national security heads including Mike Pompeo (CIA), Richard Grenell and John Ratcliffe (DNI) denied ever hearing about these balloons.

To reconcile the claim of historic Chinese spy balloon operations, against the denials and absence of briefings for the Trump IC officials, the current Intel Community (and Biden Administration) are now claiming they only discovered the prior balloon flights *AFTER* President Trump left office.

Oh, and due to national security issues, the IC cannot explain how they found out after the fact.

Yes Alice, that’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

WASHINGTON DC – The Biden administration is willing to brief former Trump officials on newly discovered intelligence that China sent spy balloons into U.S. airspace during their time in charge.

The offer, described by senior Biden administration officials on Sunday night, comes as former President Donald Trump and senior members of his national security team say they were never briefed on such an incursion by a Beijing-sent aircraft.

“This information was discovered after the prior administration left. The intelligence community is prepared to offer key officials from the Trump administration briefings on [China’s] surveillance program,” one of the officials said. The official, along with several others, asked not to be named in order to discuss sensitive information.

Briefers would also be willing to discuss Beijing’s similar operations in East Asia, South Asia and Europe over the last several years, the official said.

The proposal to brief the Trump officials is the latest development following the military’s shootdown of a Chinese spy balloon on Saturday, seven days after it entered U.S. airspace. Republicans and former Trump officials said this week that they would have downed the airship as soon as it appeared, and criticized President Joe Biden for waiting until the balloon was over water before bringing it down.

Yet on Saturday, a senior Defense Department official said that Chinese spy balloons entered American airspace three times during Trump’s tenure and once before during the current administration. The administration officials didn’t detail how they learned of those events long after they happened.

Still, it helps explain why five senior Trump administration officials POLITICO spoke with on Sunday said they were never told of such incidents occurring when they were in office. “This never happened. It would have never happened,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday. (read more)

Farm Input Costs Continue Driving Massive Food Inflation

Posted originally on the CTH on February 6, 2023 | Sundance 

John Boyd Jr., President of the National Black Farmers Association appears on Newsmax TV to discuss the ongoing issue of higher farm input costs.  Energy costs, fertilizer costs, fuel costs as well as all packing and distribution costs that are associated with petroleum manufacturing, are continuing to drive farm costs throughout the supply chain.

After a review of the current farm output status, there is a very strong possibility we will see the fourth wave of food inflation hit this spring, in combination with several manufacturing and production facilities.  Again, the lack of consumer spending on durable goods has moderated the price in hard goods (supplies up, demand down); however, the highly consumable products like food, fuel and energy continue to experience upward price pressure as a direct result of Biden energy policy.  WATCH:


If consumers could eat missiles and weapons, the U.S. government would be offsetting the costs.  Unfortunately, for actual farming products, there is no government attention, policy or support.  Apparently, food is still not considered a national security issue.

Biden – His Creative Destruction of America

Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics re-Posted Feb 6, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

COMMENT: Marty, I know you no longer want to work in Washington. Honestly, your experience is greatly needed. Everything you said that this braindead administration is pushing China and Russia together when Nixon had divided them is coming true. The WSJ has even reported that China is aiding Russia in Ukraine. With all due respect, what you have been saying is not rocket science. There is no common sense in the Biden Administration and every damn person who voted for him should be rounded up for treason.

Thank you for the straight facts.


ANSWER: I understand what you are saying. There is nothing I can do in Washington. Biden has destroyed the world economy. Globalization is dead. Our sanctions have divided the world in two and Russia is immune to our sanctions.

These people in the Biden Administration have their agenda and it is to destroy the United States, our values, culture, and traditions, and remake it into a land of their vision. The Biden Administration has DELIBERATELY waged war against Russia to change our energy system and the goal has been to destroy Russia because 50% of its GDP is fossil fuels.

Even the BBC now reports that this war has accelerated the shift to clean energy, quoting a report now from British Petroleum. Even the Economist, the magazine that is incapable of walking a straight line because it slants to the left so much, is cheering Biden so you know we are screwed. They wrote:

“This is America in 2033, if the Biden administration has its way. In the past two years Congress has passed three bills, on infrastructure, semiconductor chips and greenery, that will make $2trn available to reshape the economy. “

This is why I say that Republican forms of government are the WORST possible. They are no different from a dictatorship other than we pretend to have a right to vote, but there is no representation. None of these issues were EVER submitted to the people for a vote. Biden is changing EVERYTHING about America to the point we no longer can even define what a woman is anymore according to this Administration.

Quite frankly, I can scream all I want, but there is no changing the direction of the country at the polls. Our system of government is precisely what the revolution was all about – no taxation without representation. We have no right to vote to reignite this cold war about to turn red hot because these people also think there are just too many of us running around and they have the RIGHT to create war and hopefully eliminate 50% of the population.

Unfortunately, I have to wait for Scotty to beam me up before I can escape this insanity.

“Eve of Destruction” was a protest song written by P. F. Sloan. Barry McGuire recorded the track in July 1965 about the Vietnam War. History repeats – always – because human nature never changes.

American Pie” is a song by American singer and songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released in 1971. This was another popular song of the era.

Trusted News Initiative – Mainstream Monopoly for Fake News

Armstrong Economics Blog/Press Re-Posted Feb 6, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

The Trusted News Initiative (TNI) was founded in 2019 and its goal is to push only the accepted narrative ending both free speech and real independent journalism.  TNI actually violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and should be criminally charged for its deliberate destruction of our society and the censoring of any news that was warning about the vaccine side effects.

TNI includes companies such as Google, Facebook, BBC, YouTube, Twitter, the New York Times, Microsoft, and Reuters.  It also includes all of the companies owned by these companies, and therefore, it has destroyed independent journalism no different than the Stalin control of media in Communist Russia. To this group, freedom of speech means they have the freedom to censor whatever they disagree with. So tell your children to forget journalism as a career. They will be reduced to a mindless propaganda machine.

Everything from ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and Fox News indeed trickle down to your local news affiliates despite the fact that they are supposed to be independent stations. The newspapers engaged in this monopoly of news are USA Today, the Washington Post, and even the Kansas City Star. Of all of the countless mainstream television channels in the USA, they are ALL owned by only SIX companies!  Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, Disney, National Amusements, and News Corp. By uniting in this monopoly TNI for news, this is really criminal activity as if they were producing a car. What is the difference because it is news content?

In 1983, there were more than 50 companies that owned our television channel’s media content.  The crime took place with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, during which the FCC removed restrictions on how many news outlets an owner could own thereby legalizing a monopoly in news. Telecommunications Act of 1996, was purported to bring more competition to the telephone market for both local and long distance service. Fine, it ended AT&T monopoly, but it allowed a monopoly in news to take shape.

It was passed by Congress in January 1996 and signed into law by none other than Bill Clinton in February 1996. It permitted firms that served competitive local markets to enter the long-distance market, and it attempted to implement a single layer of regulation at the federal level. Additional provisions of the act removed restrictions on media ownership and resulted in immediate consolidation within that segment of the industry. Yet another provision provided guidelines for Internet indecency and prohibited sending indecent or obscene communications to minors via the Internet (see Communications Decency Act, sponsored by Republican Tom Bliley). The Supreme Court, however, later ruled that the provision was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Another significant provision protected Internet service providers from liability for the content of third parties on their service.

Here we had legislation that was supposed to create competition and instead created a monopoly. Today, we have fewer television media channels compared to what was available in 1983.  And there were more than 50 companies who owned those outlets then versus now just SIX!

A Record Number of Americans Say They Are Worse Off Financially Since Joe Biden Took Office

Posted originally on the CTH on February 5, 2023 | Sundance

According to the latest ABC/WaPo polling [Full pdf Here], 41% of Americans say they are worse off financially under Joe Biden.  That is the highest negative response to the question in the 37-year history of ABC polling.

Yet we are supposed to believe voters suffering under the worst financial outlooks in 40-years rewarded Joe Biden just two months ago with support for his Democrat Party and candidates?   Something is just not adding up.


[Full Poll Data Here]

Sunday Talks, Former DNI John Ratcliffe Gives His Opinion of “Chinese Spy Balloon” Story

Posted originally on the CTH on February 5, 2023 | Sundance

The more I see how much attention was exhausted focusuing on the Chinese balloon, the more I am inclined to believe the attention was manufactured by internal deep state operatives.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cancelled his trip to China over the spy balloon issue, and beyond the general cancellation, he also cancelled a rare meeting with Chairman Xi.   Xi never almost never meets with foreign ministers, only Presidents and Prime Ministers.  So, what gives?  Did the intelligence community expose the balloon crossing to stop the Xi/Blinken meeting?  I don’t know, but something is fishy.

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe gives his .02 cents.   Ratcliffe takes the position that it was an intended spy and surveillance operation by China, and it was successful. WATCH:


Sunday Talks, Cohn and Brennan Talk Gleefully About the Return of the Service Driven Economy Under Biden, Happy with No Wage Growth

Posted originally on the CTH on February 5, 2023 | Sundance

This is one of those interviews where you don’t have to take my word for what is being said, Gary Cohn and Margaret Brennan are gleeful about the January jobs report and the overall return of the U.S. economy to a service driven system with low wages.   Seriously, this is them celebrating out loud.

In order to calm the Wall Street apoplexy about his election victory, President Trump selected Gary Cohn to be an economic advisor early in the administration.  However, it was also no surprise that President Trump did not follow Cohn’s advice, and quickly dispatched him after Cohn protested.  In this interview the worldview of Cohn is typically globalist, multinational and Wall St centric.

Talking about the January jobs report, Cohn literally gets everything wrong from the position of Main Street USA.  Cohn also celebrates what he calls the “renormalization of the new economy.”  Continuing with his thought process Cohn states, “A lot of the jobs that we saw were jobs in the service industry, the service, the industries coming back very strong because we’re starting to see the economy go back to what we historically think of the economy,” he said.  This is exactly how Wall Street, and the multinationals look at the U.S. economy.

The next part that both Cohn and Margaret Brennan celebrate is even more sunlight. “The interesting thing about last month’s unemployment numbers is we brought people back to work, but we did not have to entice them with pay,” Cohn stated. “So, the monthly, the month over month number in wage gains was 30 basis points. The prior month was 40 basis points. So, we’re seeing we’re getting people back into the labor force for a lower wage than we were prior to this,” he said.   With higher prices (inflation) crushing the middle-class and service workers, the multinationals Cohn represents are celebrating that they don’t have to pay workers higher wages.  WATCH:

[Transcript] – MARGARET BRENNAN: So 517,000 new jobs, but a lot of companies, particularly in tech, are announcing layoffs. So exactly where’s the economy headed?

GARY COHN: So, it’s interesting. We did see the 500,000 plus new jobs, which was quite surprising, I think, to many of us. But I think what we’re actually seeing here is a renormalization of the new economy. A lot of the jobs that we saw were jobs in the service industry, the service, the industries coming back very strong because we’re starting to see the economy go back to what we historically think of the economy. For the first time, we’ve seen occupancy rates in offices in major cities over 50%. When you see occupancy rates go up, you need the service sector to work. Think about people going back into the office. They need parking attendants. They need people to work in the buildings. They need security. They need people to clean the buildings. People stop for coffee when they go into the buildings. They go out to lunch. They go to bars. For the- for that to happen, you need the service sectors to come back to work. So the 120,000 service sector employees that came back to work, that 100% correlates with people going back to what is the new normal. It may not be five days a week in the office, but it’s enough days in the week in the office where you need the service sector to come back to work. The interesting thing about last month’s unemployment numbers is we brought people back to work, but we did not have to entice them with pay. So the monthly, the month over month number in wage gains was 30 basis points. The prior month was 40 basis points. So we’re seeing we’re getting people back into the labor force for a lower wage than we were prior to this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that’s a little bit hopeful for you on the inflation front.

GARY COHN: Yeah, and I think this is natural. I think what we’ve seen is, after all the stimulus that was put in the system over the last three months, people are running out of the stimulus money. We saw that in the fourth quarter of last year. We saw consumer spending slow down. We saw debit balances on credit cards go up. We started to see delinquencies go up. And you know what happened? People actually did the right thing and they went back to work. They’re engaged and they reenter the workforce. And I think we saw a lot of that in the January numbers.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So these more positive signs have led Bank of America, for example, to say recession still in the cards, but not until after March. I wonder what your thoughts are on that. And as CEOs warned about borrowing costs going up as a result of the Fed hiking. They are tightening belts. So how far off is this recession?

GARY COHN: Well, we’ve got a couple of phenomena going on. Interest rates have been going up, so borrowing costs have been going up for companies. On the flip side, the dollar has been weakening. So the multinational corporations in the United States who repatriate earnings from offshore, those repatriated earnings have become more valuable. I think the people that have been really worried about a recession in the first and second quarter of this year, I think after what we’ve seen this week with both Chairman Powell’s announcements and the data in unemployment, I think that recession is off the table for Q and one in Q2 of this year. You know, we’re going to get another employment report before the next Fed meeting and we’ll see where the economy’s going. But it does feel like we’re in relatively good shape here. The question is going to be how does the Federal Reserve handle what’s going on in the economy? Are we going to continue to have to increase wages to draw people back in the labor force, or are people coming back in the labor force because they need to? And we’re not going to have wage inflation if that happens. The Federal Reserve is actually in a very good place.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you about something the Fed chair said this week. He said Congress has to lift this debt ceiling. I’m throwing one of the things that could screw up your- your rosy prediction at you. He said no one should assume that the Fed can protect the economy from the consequences of failing to act in a timely manner. He’s warning he’s not making plans for a default. You’re on your own if it happens.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Should there be a plan for the Fed to step in? I mean, I know legally it’s in question here, but I talk to people on Capitol Hill who say Wall Street is not taking this seriously enough. The politics are really bad around the debt ceiling.

GARY COHN: The politics are very bad. You know, the one thing is every American, every American is holding the US government to raise the debt ceiling. The full faith and credit of the US dollar and the US dollar being the reserve currency is imperative to our economic well-being as a country. We ultimately have to get the debt ceiling raised. That said, what’s going on here is not something out of the ordinary. If you look at debt ceiling raises over the last 40 or 50 years, no matter which party is in the minority, about 50% of the time, debt ceiling raises come with some amendments attached- attached to them from the other party. So this is quite an. Normal, the process that we’re going through.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You don’t sound overly concerned.

GARY COHN: Like I’m always concerned when we’re dealing with debt ceiling, but I have a feeling that we will get there in the end when we have no other choice. You had this- you had the speaker here last week and he felt confident that we would get there when we had no other choice. The speaker met with the president of the United States this week. The two of them came out of the meeting relatively confident. I feel they both understand there is no choice. In the end of the day, we have to raise the debt ceiling. The question is, can the Republicans get something in the legislation, attach the debt ceiling legislation that they want that they feel like is a win and the Democrats are willing to give it to? Historically, that is what’s happened numerous times.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  Yeah. And the risk there is real. I want to ask you as well about China. Mark Warner was here with us last week and he said technology competition with China is the biggest issue of our time. He’s worried about things that- like your company does IBM, in terms of quantum computing. Is enough being done to keep America competitive on that front?

GARY COHN: Well, we’re starting you know, if you look at where we’ve been this year, you know, we passed the CHIPS Act in the United States, which, you know, is- is- is something that’s not a normal motion for us in the United States for the federal government to pick and choose–


GARY COHN: –an industry, and and to subsidize. It really is not a normal action- is an action that, you know, historically I probably not would have been have supportive. I was extremely supportive of the CHIPS Act, we at IBM was extremely supportive of the CHIPS Act. If we learned nothing else from the pandemic, we learned that there are certain goods that are necessity goods for this country to have, and we are overly reliant on places like China. And if we don’t find ways to change the manufacturing system in the supply chain and move it back to the United States where we can take care of ourselves, we have made a catastrophic miscalculation. Chips are one of those areas where we cannot depend on the rest of the world and run our manufacturing business and continue to grow our economy. Pharmaceuticals is another area where we really have to move that industry and that manufacturing back to the United States. So I think we really have to evaluate what are the most crucial and sensitive businesses or industries that we cannot live within the United States. And we’re going to have to make real investments in those here in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’ll keep talking about it with legislators. Have to figure out how to pass some of those laws. We’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’ll be talking with four members of the freshman class and the 118th Congress.

[Transcript link]

Sunday Talks, House Intel Chairman Mike Turner Discusses Likely China Objectives with Massive Surveillance Balloon

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on February 5, 2023 | Sundance

House Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) appears on Meet the Press to discuss his perspective on the motive of China to send a massive surveillance balloon over key U.S. military facilities.

According to Chairman Turner, it appears (a) the balloon was designed to capture some intelligence that satellites cannot; and (b) the flight path of the surveillance balloon was steered to cover areas housing key the strategic military bases and missile defenses. WATCH (Transcript Below):

CHUCK TODD: Joining me now is the Republican Chair of the House Intel Committee, Mike Turner of Ohio. Chairman Turner, welcome back to Meet the Press.

REP. MIKE TURNER: Good morning, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD: All right. Let me start with what you know here. So the decision to take this down – what more have you learned? And you’re part of the so-called Gang of Eight. I don’t think you guys have gotten a personal briefing, but I know staff has. What more can you tell us about the take-down operation?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Yeah. Well, clearly the president taking it down over the Atlantic is sort of like the quarterback—sort of like tackling the quarterback after the game is over. The satellite had completed its mission. This should never have been allowed to enter the United States, and it never should’ve been allowed to complete its mission. If you ask somebody to draw an X at every place where our sensitive missile defense sites, our nuclear weapons infrastructure, our nuclear weapon sites are, you would put them all along this path. Clearly, this was an attempt by China to gather information, to defeat our command and control of our sensitive missile defense and nuclear weapon sites. And that certainly is an urgency that this administration does not recognize.

CHUCK TODD: Do you think we should have a policy that just anything that enters our airspace that’s a balloon from China gets shot down immediately?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, first off, you have to understand this administration didn’t just fail here; they failed to prepare after the first time this happened during this administration. The administration has already admitted, which I’ve been briefed on, that China has done this before in the continental United States during this president’s tenure –

CHUCK TODD: When did that happen?

REP. MIKE TURNER: I – you have to let them release it; I can’t release classified information, but they can tell you.

CHUCK TODD: Were you also briefed on – there was apparently two or three incidents in the previous administration as well.

REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, that’s what they’re saying now. But I think that the administration needs to come forward, because this is not an ability to say that this is a crisis that was handed to them. This is a crisis that has developed as a result of this president during his administration allowing China to do a similar act before, not responding and then clearly in this one, not seeing the urgency of what was unfolding. I mean, the president allowed this to go across our most sensitive sites, and wasn’t even going to tell the American public. If you hadn’t broken this story, the American public would not have even known. There was no attempt to notify Congress, no attempt to put together the Gang of Eight. I think this administration lacks urgency.

CHUCK TODD: Do you – the Pentagon says that they were able to use some countermeasures that blocked or limited the ability of China to extract information from this balloon. Do you buy that?

REP. MIKE TURNER: No. And certainly you don’t either. Here’s the thing that’s interesting. The administration says there was nothing for them to gain here. This was quite a risk by China, quite a calculation that they would take a balloon, put it up in China, take it across the United States where it’s clearly going to be discoverable by us. They clearly had some information that they were trying to garner, that they can’t garner from space, so they did not have otherwise.

CHUCK TODD: What could that be? Have you – I mean what – you’re pretty familiar with this. What is it that they think they could have gotten from a balloon? Or what can be done with a balloon that can’t be done with a satellite?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, the key obviously is not just the balloon. The key is the payload that was attached to it, which you’ve reported is, you know, the size of three buses. That’s obviously huge. And it was being commanded and controlled by mainland China, and delivering data and information back to mainland China. Again, if you look at the path, and you put X’s where all of our sensitive missile defense and nuclear weapons facilities are, I believe that they were trying to gain information on how to defeat the command and control of our nuclear weapon systems and our missile defense systems. That’s a crisis. That certainly should’ve had an urgency to the president, and not just wait until this gets to the Atlantic to take it down.

CHUCK TODD: Do you at all accept – I mean, it sounds like he did put the order in on Wednesday to shoot it down, and then it’s the military that said, “Hey, it’s not safe yet.” Do you accept that?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Yeah, no. There’s no excuses here. When this first occurred last time during this administration — remember, this is the third year of this administration — they should have been preparing for this. They knew what this was. They know what the balloon is, what its capabilities, maneuverability is, from having observed previous actions by China. They should have been prepared. They seemed not only to be unprepared, but to even be waiting. You know, where is the balloon going to go? What are they trying to do? That’s not how you look at the actions of an adversary. China is a self-declared adversary. They are clearly expanding their military capabilities. They are tripling their nuclear weapons capabilities. They’re fielding hypersonic weapons, they’re expanding in space. In this instance, this president should’ve taken this as an urgency, and so should’ve our military. This should have been taken down before it entered the U.S. airspace, when it was over Alaska.

CHUCK TODD: This, there’s some sort of surveillance technology with this balloon. There’s been some speculation that it might have the capability of launching its own drone – sort of miniature drones to do extra surveillance. Do you know anything about that, or has there been any reports to confirm any of that?

REP. MIKE TURNER: No. I have not been briefed on that. But I can tell you — and we’re supposed to be briefed this week as to what we know. But I think what we can believe is that this administration says, “We don’t really know.” And if we don’t really know, how they keep telling the American public this is not a threat, that there was no need to act is just extraordinary to me. This administration does not understand the urgency of taking action to protect our national security –

CHUCK TODD: What do you believe the actual threat is right now? What is it that they’re trying to do? I mean, you see this as just a simple military exercise by the Chinese.

REP. MIKE TURNER: Absolutely. I mean, they didn’t go and look at the Grand Canyon; they went and looked at our nuclear weapon sites and the missile defense sites throughout the country. And whatever was in this humongous payload — I mean, there wasn’t a camera on this thing. I mean, I’m certain there were cameras, but at the same time, this was huge. The expanse that was there, and what they were trying to accomplish obviously was important enough to China to take the risk of something that was overt. This was not covert, this wasn’t secret. They did it in such a grand scale. They knew that the United States would know, and they did it anyway.

CHUCK TODD: So was it the right call for Secretary Blinken to postpone his trip?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Sure. But if you noticed – and I have a great deal of regard for Secretary Blinken – but if you notice, he didn’t cancel it until it was already public, and there was public scrutiny of the fact that he was going.

CHUCK TODD: Well, there’s some that argue that it shouldn’t have been canceled, that this should be immediately they – we should be immediately confronting them. What do you make of that idea?

REP. MIKE TURNER: What should’ve happened is the first time this happened during this administration, there should have been outrage. They should have addressed this with China. They should have prepared for when this balloon was coming. They should have understood that there was a great deal of risk at our national security. And they should have been prepared the moment this balloon was launched, because they knew what this was like, they knew what it was capable of, and they should have responded.

CHUCK TODD: So what now should be the American response here? What would you like to see going forward in our, in response to this incursion?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Well I – first off, the president needs to shift and understand that he has urgent national security matters. You can’t just act like nothing matters if it matters to our adversaries. If our adversaries think this is important, we need to thwart it and we need to respond. With respect to this balloon, obviously, you know, the administration’s indicated they’re going to try to collect whatever is left of having this strewn across the ocean to see what we can learn there. We’re going to find what signals intelligence that the administration might have been able to capture, and from that, understand what this was doing. But they need to make clear to all our adversaries, “You’re not going to get to come to the United States and take a tour of our most sensitive military sites and have a free shot.”

CHUCK TODD: How aggressive should we be about these balloons that are in the Western Hemisphere, not over our airspace, but we know there’s reports that there’s one of these balloons in Latin America right now?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Right. Well, I think all of these – if the administration had, when they became aware that China was deploying this capability, if they had been aggressive to determine how to capture them, how to exploit the technology, how to thwart the technology, we would be in a different place today. And I think, you know, the same is true for the other balloons that you’re seeing.

CHUCK TODD: All right, I’m going to – we’re running out of time – but before I let you go, you and others in the Gang of Eight have asked for a briefing on all of the classified documents that have been discovered from President Trump, President Biden, and Vice President Pence. Where are we on that?

REP. MIKE TURNER: You know, what’s striking about this, Chuck, is that the Biden administration told the American public that they raided Donald Trump’s home because it was a national security risk. But what we found in the intelligence community and in the intelligence committee is that the Biden administration had not engaged at all anyone who was in national security on the issue of threats from these documents. It took Congress to step in and say, “We want a security threat.” And then they tried to deny giving the briefing to us from that threat. What’s interesting is that the moment this balloon became public, I got a notice not from the administration that I’m going to get a briefing on this balloon, but they have to rush to Congress now to talk to us about Donald Trump’s documents. You can see they want to change the news.

CHUCK TODD: So you’re going to get a briefing on Trump’s documents, but –

REP. MIKE TURNER: There’s nothing scheduled on the balloon, but they’re scheduling Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD: Anything on Biden or Pence?

REP. MIKE TURNER: It’s included, yes.

CHUCK TODD: That will all be included. When is that, this week?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Yes, it’s supposed to be this week. We’ll see whether or not the balloon happens first. It certainly should. Again, urgency. This administration needs to understand we do have national security urgent matters.

CHUCK TODD: Mike Turner, Chair of the House Intel Committee, Republican from Ohio.


CHUCK TODD: Thanks for coming in, sharing your perspective with us —

REP. MIKE TURNER: Thank you.