On Coups, Insurrections, and Security Theater

Reflections on the events of 6 January two months later.

Glenn Greenwald is perhaps the most iconoclastic journalist of his generation. Aside from being a free speech absolutist, he’s next to impossible to pigeonhole. He came to prominence attacking the excesses of the George W. Bush administration in fighting the Global War on Terror, both at home and abroad, and then continuing those attacks against the Obama administration. But then, oddly, he became one of the biggest defenders of President Trump, hammering away for years at any insinuation that he was backed by Russia and alienating the people at the magazine he co-founded with his support for Hunter Biden conspiracy theories.

His most recent essay, “As the Insurrection Narrative Crumbles, Democrats Cling to it More Desperately Than Ever,” builds on arguments he’s been making since the 6 January incident at the U.S. Capitol.

I’m largely in agreement with his main contention, that calling the event a “coup attempt” or an “armed insurrection” is a stretch. But, Greenwald can’t resist amping it up to 11.

Perhaps the most significant blow to the maximalist insurrection/coup narrative took place inside the Senate on Thursday. Ever since January 6, those who were not referring to the riot as a “coup attempt” — as though the hundreds of protesters intended to overthrow the most powerful and militarized government in history — were required to refer to it instead as an “armed insurrection.”

This formulation was crucial not only for maximizing fear levels about the Democrats’ adversaries but also, as I’ve documented previously, because declaring an “armed insurrection” empowers the state with virtually unlimited powers to act against the citizenry.

[…]

As I detailed several weeks ago, so many of the most harrowing and widespread media claims about the January 6 riot proved to be total fabrications. A pro-Trump mob did not bash Office Brian Sicknick’s skull in with a fire extinguisher. No protester brought zip-ties with them as some premeditated plot to kidnap members of Congress (two rioters found them on a table inside). There’s no evidence anyone intended to assassinate Mike Pence, Mitt Romney or anyone else.

Yet the maximalist narrative of an attempted coup or armed insurrection is so crucial to Democrats — regardless of whether it is true — that pointing out these facts deeply infuriates them. A television clip of mine from last week went viral among furious liberals calling me a fascism supporter even though it did nothing but point out the indisputable facts that other than Brian Sicknick, whose cause of death remains unknown, the only people who died at the Capitol riot were Trump supporters, and that there are no known cases of the rioters deliberately killing anyone.

Greenwald’s assessment of what the publicly-available evidence shows is reasonable. While it’s possible that his death was a homicide, Sicknick was not violently murdered by rioters as erroneously reported. The “Zip Tie Guy” did not bring them with him so that he could arrest and possibly kill lawmakers; he saw a bag left behind in haste by Capitol security forces and picked them up to make it harder to arrest those who stormed the building. And, yes, the initial reports of five or six people being killed by the rioters turned out to false. With the exception of Sicknick, everyone who died that day was among those who stormed the Capitol.

But the notion that Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are intentionally misleading the public on this score in order to impose a permanent crackdown on our freedom is, frankly, absurd. With a handful of exceptions—-Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s nonsense about Ted Cruz trying to have her killed that day comes to mind—the simplest explanation is that lawmakers are looking at the events through the lens of the larger attempt by Trump and his allies to steal the election and based on how things looked in the hours and days after the incident.

Further, as I’ve argued before, the incident was clearly not just one thing. I tend to characterize it as a “riot” and those involved as “rioters” but even that’s not quite right. At the low end, a large number of those inside the Capitol that afternoon were what a Facebook wag described as “aggressive tourists.” After the initial, violent wave that stormed their way in, there seems to have been a free-for-all in which the doors were simply open for anyone who wanted to walk in.

But “rioters” undersells a smaller group that Greenwald’s account conveniently elides: the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other organized groups who planned the attack in the days prior. They weren’t incited by Trump’s speech or, indeed, motivated by the Big Lie of a stolen election.

More strangely, Greenwald spills hundreds of words making the argument that Democrats are falsely claiming that there is a continued security threat for, well, reasons.

Twice in the last six weeks, warnings were issued about imminent, grave threats to public safety posed by the same type of right-wing extremists who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. And both times, these warnings ushered in severe security measures only to prove utterly baseless.

First we had the hysteria over the violence we were told was likely to occur at numerous state capitols on Inauguration Day. “Law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony,” announced CNN. In an even scarier formulation, NPR intoned that “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.”

The resulting clampdowns were as extreme as the dire warnings. Washington, D.C. was militarized more than at any point since the 9/11 attack. The military was highly visible on the streets. And, described The Washington Post, “state capitols nationwide locked down, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities braced for potential violence Sunday mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.” All of this, said the paper, “reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations.” 

But none of that happened — not even close.

I share Greenwald’s general skepticism of security theater but this particular argument baffles me. Mobs of people stormed into the Capitol on 6 January, demonstrating rather conclusively that stolen election lie perpetuated by Trump and his allies had reached a boiling point. There were credible threats of more violence to come and, certainly, it seemed perfectly plausible that 6 January was a dress rehearsal for the 20 January inauguration.

Did the blowback over 6 January act as a wakeup call for Trump supporters, making them realize that violence was a bridge too far? Did the presence of a massive security force surrounding the Capitol and the inauguration site act as a deterrent? Or was there simply a huge collective action problem? Hell if I know. But, surely, the fact that a second violent attack on a peaceful transition of political power didn’t manifest in the span of two weeks isn’t evidence that we shouldn’t have been prepared to stop it.

Completely undeterred by that debacle, Democrats and their media spokespeople returned with a new set of frightening warnings for this week. The date of March 4 has taken on a virtually religious significance for the Q-Anon movement, announced NBC News’ Ben Collins, who was heard on NPR on Thursday speaking through actual, literal journalistic tears as he recounted all the times he called Facebook to plead with them to remove dangerous right-wing extremists on their platform (tears commence at roughly 7:00 mark). Valiantly holding back full-on sobbing, Collins explained that he proved to be so right but it pains and sorrows him to admit this. With his self-proclaimed oracle status fully in place, he prophesized that March 4 had taken on special dangers because Q-Anon followers concluded that this is when Trump would be inaugurated.

I’m slightly more sympathetic to Greenwald’s argument here. But only slightly. Yes, conspiracy nuts routinely advertise apocalyptic dates and then announce new ones when the apocalypse fails to arrive. And, yes, reacting to all of them with a massive lockdown is a recipe for a permanent police state.

As with Islamist terrorism, we should be cautious about an overreaction to the threat posed by domestic white nationalist terrorists. We can certainly go too far in walling off our public spaces, over-policing, profiling, and monitoring of speech and assembly. But, surely, we shouldn’t pretend that there’s no threat, either, or treat the failure of “chatter” to manifest in a particular incident as evidence that there will never be an incident.

And, indeed, Greenwald gets there eventually:

The key point to emphasize here is that threats and dangers are not binary: they either exist or they are fully illusory. They reside on a spectrum. To insist that they be discussed rationally, soberly and truthfully is not to deny the existence of the threat itself. One can demand a rational and fact-based understanding of the magnitude of the threat revealed by the January 6 riot without denying that there is any danger at all.

Those who denounced the excesses of McCarthyism were not insisting that there were no Communists in government; those denouncing the excesses of the Clinton administration’s attempts to seize more surveillance power after the Oklahoma City courting bombing were not denying that some anti-government militias may do violence again; those who objected to the protracted and unhinged assault on civil liberties by the Bush/Cheney and Obama administrations after 9/11 were not arguing that there were no Muslim extremists intent on committing violence.

On these points, Greenwald and I are in perfect agreement. And it’s why, despite disagreeing with him on so many issues and finding him genuinely frustrating at times, I find reading him worthwhile. While I don’t share most of his priors, I respect his fierce independence and willingness to go where the evidence takes him, even if it alienates him from his own side.

But, alas, his priors lead him to leaps that I find fantastical:

The argument then, and the argument now, is that the threat was being deliberately inflated and exaggerated, and fears stoked and exploited, both for political gain and to justify the placement of more and more powers in the hands of the state in the name of stopping these threats. That is the core formula of authoritarianism — to place the population in a state of such acute fear that it acquiesces to any assertion of power which security state agencies and politicians demand and which they insist are necessary to keep everyone safe.

My priors lead me to a different conclusion: security theater isn’t motivated by a desire for authoritarian control but by a fierce instinct by politicians and bureaucrats alike to cover their asses. The probable overreaction in providing post-6 January security in and around the Capitol is a direct response to the criticism that they underestimated the security threat on that day.

And, as cynical as I am about the fecklessness of politicians, I’m not this cynical:

There is, relatedly, a massive political benefit from convincing the population that the opponents and critics of those in power do not merely hold a different ideology but are coup plotters, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. That is the same political benefit that accrued from trying to persuade the population that adversaries of the Democratic Party were treasonous Kremlin agents. The more you can demonize your opponents as something monstrous, the more political power you can acquire.

Are some Democrats over-hyping the extent to which their opponents are evil? Sure. But I think most, like myself, are simply appalled at the sheer scope of the problem.

And as Democrats and liberals now gear up to demand a new War on Terror, this one domestic in nature, it should be no surprise that the rhetorical leaders of their effort now are the same lowlife neocon and Rovian slanderers — Bill Kristol, David Frum, Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, Rick Wilson — who demonized everyone who questioned them as part of the first War on Terror as traitors and terrorist-lovers and subversives. It is not a coincidence that neocons are leading the way now as liberals’ favorite propagandists: they are the most skilled and experienced in weaponizing and exaggerating terrorism threats for political gain and authoritarian power.

The more plausible explanation is that the neocons and other Republican national security professionals comprised the core of the Never Trump faction and desperately want to root at what they see is a cancer in their former party and, indeed, their country.

Again: I share Greenwald’s fear of overreaction and the threats to our civil liberties that comes with it. For selfish and ideological reasons, I would like the fences around public spaces in our nation’s capital to come down and the National Guard troops stationed there to go back to their day jobs. They can’t become permanent fixtures “just in case.”

But let’s also not pretend that the greatest danger to our Republic at the moment is coming from Democrats. It would be a lot harder to demonize Republicans if 74 million of them hadn’t voted to re-elect a would-be autocrat and if their elected officials didn’t overwhelmingly go along with his attempt to steal the election and then exonerate his incitement of a physical attack on the seat of government.

FILED UNDER: Congress, National Security, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Loviatar says:

    With a handful of exceptions—-Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s nonsense about Ted Cruz trying to have her killed that day comes to mind—

    Started to comment, then realized it wouldn’t do any good. Then I just walked away mumbling under my breath,
    – James Joyner is one of the good Republicans
    – James Joyner is one of the good Republicans
    – James Joyner is one of the good Republicans

    SMH

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  2. Mikey says:

    Glenn Greenwald

    Yeah, I just stopped reading right there.

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  3. Cheryl Rofer says:

    LOL, James.

    Even back in the day, Greenwald was never a good-faith interlocutor. He’s horseshoed around to full rightwing looney. He’s been appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show. No need to spend any time on him at all, as Mikey points out.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    @Loviatar: My last vote for a Republican was for John Kasich in the 2016 primary. I have voted exclusively for Democrats since, including the 2016 and 2020 national elections and the 2017 and 2019 Virginia elections. But there’s simply zero evidence that Ted Cruz or any other Member of Congress tried to have AOC killed. It’s a scurrilous charge designed to inflame her base and score cheap political points.

    @Mikey: @Cheryl Rofer: I agree Greenwald is odd. I find his thinking interesting and think he makes some important points, along with some nutty ones, in this particular posting.

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  5. Loviatar says:

    @James Joyner:

    My last vote for a Republican was for John Kasich in the 2016 primary. I have voted exclusively for Democrats since, including the 2016 and 2020 national elections and the 2017 and 2019 Virginia elections.

    Duck test

    The duck test is a form of abductive reasoning. This is its usual expression:

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

    The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

    —–

    But there’s simply zero evidence that Ted Cruz or any other Member of Congress tried to have AOC killed.

    Its called being an accomplice. You know the thing where the driver of the getaway car is also responsible for the crimes his bank robbing accomplices may commit while in the bank.

    Sen. Cruz was one of the main agitators in creating the murderous crowd that descended on the Capitol building on Jan 6, 2021. These people were rampaging though the halls of Congress chanting “Hang Mike Pence” What do you think would have happened to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez if the crowd would have found her in the hallways or in an office?

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  6. Lounsbury says:

    @Mikey: Indeed. No matter one’s political colour, reading Greenwald is a waste of precious time. Quite happy I never ever gave him any credence. He is fundamentally an unhinged ideologue with all the capacity of being honest with facts of your usual unhinged ideologue.

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  7. Lounsbury says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Greenwald being right or left doesn’t enter into it.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Loviatar: Cruz is despicable and helping perpetuate the Big Lie is outrageous. But it’s absurd to claim he was an ‘accomplice’ in a crime, much less, as AOC did, the he tried to have her murdered. It’s beyond hyperbole.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    I will again raise my usual objection to the term, ‘security theater.’ This was coined to describe airport security and the usual knock is that a) they haven’t caught a terrorist and b) they miss things.

    The point was never to ‘catch’ terrorists. The point was to complicate planning for terrorists. The 9-11 attack had many moving parts which worked, but which likely would not have worked, or even been attempted, had ‘security theater’ been in place to add new levels of complexity.

    In fact, it’s much like regular policing. Cops don’t stop jewelry store heists or bank robberies but they are hella complicating, a factor that has to be accounted for, and which makes any job harder.
    Not impossible, just harder, because impossible is not possible, while harder is achievable. No different in that way than the locks on your front door – no, the lock won’t stop a determined intruder, but it does make the intruder’s job harder.

    All security, from the officers in squad cars, to the Ring camera on your door, is security theater. It is all intended to make it harder for bad people to do bad things. It all complicates and intimidates bad actors and succeeds in those limited goals.

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  10. Jon says:

    I think the best description for Cruz’s actions vis-a-vis AOC is reckless endangerment. I doubt he actively sought to get her killed or harmed, rather he created and contributed to a situation where that outcome became possible. And, from her perspective on the receiving end of that, I totally understand feeling like that is a distinction without a difference.

    As for Greenwald, well, Glenn’s gonna Glenn.

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  11. Jon says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yup. Another term for that is ‘performative security.’ The goal is not necessarily to catch people directly, rather to indirectly affect what actions they may take. Same with all those ADT signs in yards. It doesn’t directly stop anybody but may lead to people thinking “this one isn’t worth the effort.”

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    The US Congress cowered in terror as rioters beat on their doors and shouted threats.

    I don’t understand the urge to pooh pooh that, to play it down, to focus on the ‘aggressive tourists,’ and not on the attempted murder. Do you doubt that had the mob found Nancy Pelosi or AOC they would have committed murder? 100% No. But a good 50% chance, right? 60%? 80%?

    James, do you doubt for one minute that the lead elements of the mob would genuinely have tried to hang Mike Pence had they found him? This is a mob that had to be discouraged by having one of their number shot.

    But for the Capitol police we could have been watching mob show trials on live TV from the Senate chamber, complete with executions. That was certainly the intention of large numbers of rioters. Right? And it was barely avoided by emergency dispatch of DC police and National Guard, right? And the mob was acting on inspiration from the President of the United States who unmistakably hoped they would in fact overthrow the election. Right?

    You’re rewriting reality, James, soft-pedaling a genuine horror. It’s wrong. It was an attempted coup. It was an insurrection. It was armed. It was likely to result in the murders of members of Congress.

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  13. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Lounsbury: No disagreement. I never found him worth reading.

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  14. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I use “security theater” more narrowly, to describe things that annoy ordinary citizens but do little to nothing to deter would-be criminals, much less terrorists. Taking our shoes off at the airport is a classic example of that. But, honestly, I worry more about actual infringements on our liberties to add minimal protection against remote threats.

    @Michael Reynolds: Ultimately, as always, my instinct is to analyze—to break things down to better understand them. You’ll see that in the evolution of my postings on this issue.

    You start to see a modest shift with

    which notes that the legal standards for “incitement” and “insurrection” are likely not met but that they’re reasonable in the context of a political process

    And more of a shift with

    The bottom line is that I see a more nuanced conflation of incidents than the “armed insurrection” or “coup” rhetoric portrays. I think that’s important in terms of criminal justice but, more broadly, important in understanding the nature of our political climate.

    I continue to think Trump and his enablers are culpable for fomenting a climate that enables violence. But I think the various “militia” movements are far, far more dangerous than the average participant in the incident, much less the average Trump voter.

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  15. grumpy realist says:

    @James Joyner: It’s called “stochastic terrorism”, James. You try to walk up to the line that is legally permittable, dropping dog-whistles and rousing the crowd up so that one looney will finally go over the edge and carry out whatever your aim is. And then, after the assassination/beating/cross-burning/whatever has occurred, you act all shocked and distressed, saying oh no, you never would have DREAMED that such a thing would happen, etc. etc. and so forth.

    Either Cruz knew what he was gingering up, in which case he was trying out the above, or he didn’t, in which case he’s too stupid and irresponsible to be in Congress.

    And Greenwald? Eh. A fanatic who has gone so far to the looney left that he’s hopped over to the looney right.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @grumpy realist: I see “stochastic terrorism,” particularly in a domestic context, as more harmful than helpful as an analytical tool. In the particular case of Donald Trump, who had the world’s biggest microphone and a personality cult, it’s fair to say that he fomented, if not directly incited, violence. But it’s a rather absurd claim in the case of even Ted Cruz, who is not exactly charismatic and inspirational. Further, it casts heinous aspersion without any burden of proof or falsifiability.

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  17. charon says:

    @Jon:

    I doubt he actively sought to get her killed or harmed,

    He is a fanatic and a Dominionist Seven Mountains guy. you give him more credit than I do.

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  18. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: This. There is no such thing as 100% safety. But what you can do–is raise the threshold and cost for potential adversaries to play in the game. It shrinks the pool of people you have to watch significantly and exposes them to risk because of the signatures they’d have by planning and gathering the materials to execute the attack.

    Go try to buy a couple of thousand pounds of fertilizer–if you were planning on building a bomb with it–your cover is blown. Now you have to slowly collect it (slowing the planning cycle) or you have to go through intermediaries (expanding the number of people that could inform the police). Could you still do it? Absolutely. But you’d need to have a talented team which increases the amount of money you need to raise from your sponsors. And they want to see results so if you don’t have any successes to speak of–its unlikely you’d get big dollars for a bold attack. And if you DID have previous successes–you are also busy trying to avoid national intelligence and law enforcement agencies of your resident Country. (BTW this is the logic behind why we tried to make Afghanistan a “governed space” to shut off this type of area as a safe haven for them to flee to and stay off the radar.)

    So the playbook is the same for the Qs. Raise the threshold to get the Q-Shaman amateurs out of the game. I would be lying if there wasn’t some folks on their side who have, shall we say, special sets of skills. But all together, that group of people is small, and their tactics are recognizable because we trained them. (which btw is why we have military training teams in a lot of places. If I train you–I know your vulnerabilities).

    I think at this point de-platforming Trump has been an astounding success. By the day–its taking the edge of the a large group of the faithful. And it doesn’t appear he has an appetite to overtly motivate people for further violence.

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  19. Modulo Myself says:

    Greenwald is raging about the Democrat’s weak response to a thing did happen. Meanwhile, the GOP is mobilizing with dozens of laws to fight voter fraud–something that did not happen. The GOP is following the lead of these idiot rioters, and people like Greenwald are happy to offer them cover.

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  20. Bill says:

    I wonder if the NYT printed a prominent retraction of their fake report or just buried it somewhere as usual? Misleading headlines make them just another clickbait site, and that they rarely get fact checked by any other media outlet makes them all part of the problem. That anyone is losing their minds over a small group of crazed people invading a poorly secured building is pretty weak considering the blind eyes(s) they had over the summers actual riots…one’s that actually cost dozens of lives and what, billions in damage?
    So now DC is “occupied” by the military, and the media says it’s to prevent a “coup”? The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone, but it will be.
    Until I read this I was under the belief that the DC cop was killed by the mob….now that turned out to be more “fake news” that was never corrected as it should have been. But that brings up another point, “bad news sells print”.
    You wonder why people are so distrustful of the MSM? It’s usually because they’re too lazy to do actual research into any “news” item they find that riles them up- they assume it’s real (even though it probably contradicts itself after a few paragraphs) and start shouting it as such….until some ahole like me points it out to them, and that’s when the fun starts.

    Oh, it was nice to accuse James of being a Republican for simply stating some facts you might not like, was it too early or something?

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    I see “stochastic terrorism,” particularly in a domestic context, as more harmful than helpful as an analytical tool.

    Yes, we know you do. You’re wrong about this. I suspect it has to do with your upbringing steeped in the “personal responsibility” narrative, in which nobody is ever in any way responsible for the things other people do. You can finally see that this doesn’t hold water in the case of Trump, but you’re still missing all of the more subtle (but in the end just as causally effective) enablers.

    If I’m one of 10000 people pushing on the Washington Monument, and it falls down, can I argue that my contributions weren’t important so I’m not culpable? That in fact I wasn’t trying to knock it down? That’s the argument you’re making for Ted Cruz.

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  22. Nightcrawler says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The same applies in cybersecurity. There is no such thing as an un-breachable system. As I’m fond of saying, even the Berlin Wall was breached. The goal of security isn’t 100% safety but risk reduction. Password managers, MFA, RBAC, firewalls, IPS/IDS, monitored SIEMs + MDR, zero-trust, etc. aren’t guarantees against getting breached, but they make a breach far less likely by putting multiple obstacles in the way of cybercriminals.

    Under current security measures, the Capitol still isn’t un-breachable. A determined, well-funded, heavily armed terrorist cell could still get in, but they’d have to be a hell of a lot more organized, well-funded, and armed than the one that got in on January 6. It’s extremely unlikely that a spontaneous attack like 1/6, pulled off by idiots (as opposed to professionals with a specific plan), would work right now.

    When I say “extremely,” it’s probably more likely that the Capitol would be hit by debris from a damaged airplane.

    1
  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Bill:
    1) Who won the 2020 presidential election by 7 million votes?
    2) Who lost that election?

    Let’s see just how reality-based you are.

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    A bit of a tangent: I used to think that taking off your shoes was just political theater, but am not so sure now. Two or three new heads of HS gave interviews at the start of their tenure about how they were confident the shoe thing could be eliminated. And then it didn’t happen. They had invested their credibility in getting rid of it and then didn’t do it. And I’m not talking about Trump’s Trash. It happened with Obama’s people and maybe even later in Bush’s second term.

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  25. @James Joyner:

    Cruz is despicable and helping perpetuate the Big Lie is outrageous. But it’s absurd to claim he was an ‘accomplice’ in a crime, much less, as AOC did, the he tried to have her murdered. It’s beyond hyperbole.

    I will say this: I can fully understand how AOC feels like Cruz and Howley helped create a situation wherein members of the House and Senate were clearly under threat of potential bodily harm. Hd I been a member of the Congress that day, hiding in my office, I think fear of death would have been reasonable.

    I think the only debate one can have is how best to talk about it and the exact level of responsibility Cruz, Howley, et al. have.

    It is outrageous, I would agree, to say that Cruz tried to have her killed.

    It is not outrageous to say that Cruz was a key contributor to riling up the mob that stormed the capitol and put members of Congress in harm’s way.

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  26. Moosebreath says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “It was an attempted coup. It was an insurrection. It was armed. It was likely to result in the murders of members of Congress.”

    Hawley, Cruz and others were aware of the intent of the insurrection, and verbally supported it. Some members of Congress took active steps to give aid and comfort (words I am using deliberately) to the people taking part in the insurrection by arranging for tours of the Capitol to show them where to go once they got inside.

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  27. FWIW: I still would not call 1/6 a coup attempt.

    I do think it was an insurrection. It was an attempt to use violence (just storming the building as they did, including breaking windows, makes this a violent act) to disrupt government officials from completing a constitutionally mandated action.

    This should not be downplayed, IMO.

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  28. One more thing: I definitely do not want another war on terror. But I do want state and federal law enforcement to take seriously the increase in white supremacist group activity that we have documented proof is ongoing.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    I wrote a book with the awful title of AN ARTFUL ASSASSIN IN AMSTERDAM. The plot involved pulling off an art heist at the Rijksmuseum at absolute minimal risk, while redefining unprofitable art theft as profitable art extortion. My rule was ‘no hand waving,’ no convenient super hacker who can break into anything at any time, no lasers, no Tom Cruise dropping on a winch. It had to all be real-world do-able. And there could not be an Impossible Missions team because as any good criminal knows, the synonym for ‘crime partner’ is ‘witness for the prosecution.’

    The Rijksmuseum’s security, like most museum security, is mostly for show. Retirees and college kids in blue blazers, cameras, automatic security doors. Nothing that would actually stop any random person from grabbing a small painting off the wall and being out in the street in three minutes. Even less that would stop someone leaning a ladder up outside the building at 3 AM, bashing the window in with a sledge hammer, and likewise walking off with the goods.

    But those complications – the retiree guard who may decide to play hero, the cameras you cannot allow to capture a picture, the security doors, each of those is a hurdle my protagonist had to overcome.

    I worked it out but it was very complicated. Easy to snatch and run with a 75% chance of getting away, very hard to snatch and run with a better than 95% chance of getting away. Defeating a security measure required risk in other areas – you want a drone? Where do you buy it, how do you pay for it? That’s out of town travel and a fake credit card. Each attempt to reduce risk in one area raises risk in another. That’s what security does – it turns simple into complicated, and the vast majority of crooks (or terrorists) don’t have the chops for complicated.

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  30. Modulo Myself says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Hawley, Cruz and others were aware of the intent of the insurrection, and verbally supported it. Some members of Congress took active steps to give aid and comfort (words I am using deliberately) to the people taking part in the insurrection by arranging for tours of the Capitol to show them where to go once they got inside.

    But it wasn’t an actual insurrection. Cruz, Hawley, etc, just assumed the rubes would not get in. They weren’t scheming. The chance of overturning the election and making Trump dictator or something were 0.0%.

  31. Barry says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “FWIW: I still would not call 1/6 a coup attempt.”

    I would. It was done incompetently, because Trump.

    There was a reporter who said on Twitter that they’d witnessed a number of coups and coup attempts, and that they mostly looked ludicrous, unless they succeeded.

    9
  32. wr says:

    @Bill: “I wonder if the NYT printed a prominent retraction”

    Then, sentences later:

    “You wonder why people are so distrustful of the MSM? It’s usually because they’re too lazy to do actual research into any “news” item they find that riles them up-”

    Yes, clearly it’s the MSM that’s too lazy to do research, not the poster who poses a question he could easily answer for himself by spending three seconds on Google.

    6
  33. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It is outrageous, I would agree, to say that Cruz tried to have her killed. It is not outrageous to say that Cruz was a key contributor to riling up the mob that stormed the capitol and put members of Congress in harm’s way.

    Yes, I think that’s right.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    FWIW: I still would not call 1/6 a coup attempt. I do think it was an insurrection. It was an attempt to use violence (just storming the building as they did, including breaking windows, makes this a violent act) to disrupt government officials from completing a constitutionally mandated action.

    It certainly falls into the ambit of things for which Presidents have employed the Insurrection Act which is, probably necessarily, rather vague.

    This should not be downplayed, IMO.

    I think Greenwald does in fact go too far in that direction. But I think his pushback at some of the hysterics—and helping clear up things like the misreports on the officer being murdered by having his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher and the overwrought (if reasonable in real time) explanations for the zip-ties— is useful.
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    One more thing: I definitely do not want another war on terror. But I do want state and federal law enforcement to take seriously the increase in white supremacist group activity that we have documented proof is ongoing.

    Absolutely. There have been credible reports for years but the government has downplayed them for understandable reasons. I’m not sure exactly what the balancing act looks like here but we’re clearly doing too little.

  34. Barry says:

    James, ‘fierce independence’ has not characterized Greenwald’s reporting for a number of years.

    4
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Barry:
    Indeed. Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch was ridiculous.

    5
  36. Roger says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Please tell me that you are intentionally callling Josh Hawley “Howley.” I’m definitely stealing that.

    2
  37. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    Yes, clearly it’s the MSM that’s too lazy to do research, not the poster who poses a question he could easily answer for himself by spending three seconds on Google.

    A corollary to this is how many Republicans were asking why the MSM wasn’t all over the Andrew Cuomo COVID nursing home deaths thing when it was the fucking NEW YORK TIMES that broke the story.

    5
  38. @James Joyner:

    the Insurrection Act

    While I understand the fact that legal definitions have salience, I am not inclined to use them for analytical purposes.

    As noted, we have the elements of a mob plus violence with the collective result of the disruption of a legal, constitutionally mandated process. And, clearly, even if motives in the crowd were varied (as is true of any crowd) there was more than a critical mass of persons who were actively trying to disrupt the process.

    We can argue over the legal definition of “insurrection” but I think analytically it was an insurrectionist act.

    I, personally, do not find legal definitions appropriate for classifying events, unless we are talking specifically about applications in a court of law.

    Granted, it allows for a clear standard to be applied (although even then, until a verdict it is rendered, the application is theoretical–and especially so if charges are not filed). Since a legal definition is not binding until a judgment is rendered, why not just have a more analytical discussion anyway?

    (Plus, I can shoot a man on purpose and with premeditation but still get convicted of manslaughter–does the conviction of a lesser charge change what I actually did?). I think legal definition are not necessarily true definitions, save in the context of court.

    6
  39. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    and helping clear up things like the misreports on the officer being murdered by having his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher

    CNN, among others, has prominently reported Sicknick did not die from a blow to the head. That doesn’t change the fact he died from something that happened at the insurrection.

    I mean, really. Greenwald isn’t offering anything one can’t find at a media outlet that isn’t an America-hating enabler of treason.

    6
  40. One more thing about using legal definitions–it leads to a situation in which gravely problematic behavior is excused because “well, you can’t prove it in court.”

    For example, it may not be possible to prove in court that any of the folks on 1/6 were guilty under the Insurrection Act. That should not change, one way or the other, how we understand the event as a whole.

    5
  41. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I will say this: I can fully understand how AOC feels like Cruz and Howley helped create a situation wherein members of the House and Senate were clearly under threat of potential bodily harm. Hd I been a member of the Congress that day, hiding in my office, I think fear of death would have been reasonable.

    And AOC has been one of the people getting the most death threats, because the far right has been targeting her. If the crowd found her, I have no doubt that she would have been seriously physically assaulted at the very least.

    Cruz and Hawley and the like could reasonably be said to have been trying to get her killed for a while. Not as clearly as Fox’s “Tiller The Baby Killer” stuff that led to a guy getting killed, but in the same space.

    6
  42. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    FWIW: I still would not call 1/6 a coup attempt.

    1/6 was not a coup attempt, but everything Trump said and did between 11/3 and 1/6 was.

    4
  43. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: While insurrection, incitement and other charges being thrown about have legal definitions I agree that they’re not always analytically useful. It’s not obvious at one point a politically inspired mob crosses the threshold from riot to insurrection. But we agree at least a dignified number of the participants thought they we’re going to somehow ‘stop the steal,’ which required disrupting a legitimate governing function.

    2
  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    If you commit a crime – say, robbing a bank – and someone dies, not directly because of your action, but simply as a consequence of events you illegally helped set in motion, you can be charged with that death.

    If you commit a crime – say, invading the Capitol – and someone dies, not directly because of your action, but simply as a consequence of events you illegally helped set in motion, you can be charged with that death.

    Every person who invaded the Capitol on 1/6 contributed to the wrongful death of a police officer. Had members of Congress been beaten or killed, ditto. That’s why you don’t join mobs, because you can be judged by the worst acts of that mob.

    I didn’t lynch that negro, I was just part of the mob. . .

    7
  45. gVOR08 says:

    Once again, as somebody said – A coup attempt that steps on a rake and shits itself is still a coup attempt.

    You were expecting something well planned and carefully executed from Trump? This half-assed stir stuff up with vague suggestions and hope somebody picks up the ball is entirely consistent with Trump’s decades long mob boss “management” style.

    7
  46. James Joyner says:

    @Mikey: I agree that the information is available but the corrections were substantially less prominent than the announcements, so most people are unaware that they’re untrue. I agree that Snowden is guilty of treason but I’m not sure Greenwald is any more culpable in that than, say, David Sanger.

  47. @Barry: That’s all well and good and there is probably nothing to be gained by going down that rabbit hole. All I can say, as a guy whose deep background in Latin American politics, I wouldn’t classify it as a coup based on established facts.

    That it “looked” like a coup to some reporters is fine, but I just don’t think that appropriate elements were there.

  48. @Michael Reynolds: Nowhere near what I said.

    If you all don’t think “insurrection” is sufficient, you all can call it whatever you like. (And I say that in a neutral tone, even if the plain letter on the page can sound grumpy).

    In my professional assessment, it wasn’t a coup attempt. But people can call it what they like.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    FWIW: I still would not call 1/6 a coup attempt.

    I do think it was an insurrection. It was an attempt to use violence (just storming the building as they did, including breaking windows, makes this a violent act) to disrupt government officials from completing a constitutionally mandated action.

    What was the constitutionally mandated action?

    If they had stormed the capitol to stop voting on health care reform, I would not call it a coup attempt. But storming the capitol to stop the transfer of power? I think it’s hard to not call that a coup attempt.

    Maybe a very dumb coup attempt, but a coup attempt.

    6
  50. @Roger: I keep doing that! Let’s just assume that my subconscious is just plain hilarious.

    2
  51. Modulo Myself says:

    A lot of coups work because a larger country steps in and supports the idiots who grabbed power. If this happened in Honduras, then several months of challenging the election results would have worked with American support.

    1
  52. @Gustopher:

    Maybe a very dumb coup attempt, but a coup attempt.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the appropriate term.

    But I will note that even if that successfully stopped the certification that day, it still would not have resulted in Trump staying in office.

    Now, if the National Guard had come in to arrest the Congress. If Trump could have used the military to disband Congress, we could talk.

    Look, everyone can call it what they want. Let’s all just agree on the overall seriousness of it.

    I promise not to get all pedantic about political science terms, if people will just not seek to correct me by basically saying “yes it is.”

    3
  53. @Modulo Myself: Sure, if this event had had radically different parameters, we might classify it differently 😉

    1
  54. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    I agree that the information is available but the corrections were substantially less prominent than the announcements, so most people are unaware that they’re untrue.

    Unfortunately this is often–one could even say usually–the case. But the information is still out there, and can be obtained from sources with far less bias and bad-faith argumentation than Greenwald.

    2
  55. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But I will note that even if that successfully stopped the certification that day, it still would not have resulted in Trump staying in office.

    But, did they know that?

    Ok, to some degree this is like a bunch of six year olds digging a hole in their backyard being an Attempted Tunnel To China, or an awkward 14 year old’s Attempted Seduction that doesn’t get past the word “hi” and then freezing up…

    Except with dead bodies and an armed mob out to “confront” legislators.

    3
  56. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Well, to go back to how to deal with domestic white terrorists, the historical American parameters do not place these groups as threats working to subvert government. They place them as part of a para- government working with white business groups, local politicians, and the police. To me, this has already happened.

    I mean, pull the internet browsing histories of every Republican staffer in Congress and aside from a thousand Grindr accounts you’re going to get a lot of violent IDW race-science red-pill stuff. 100% that is the case. They might not be involved. But they’re real comfortable hearing about fighting back against the Critical Race Theory or whatever.

    2
  57. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I wasn’t directing that at you, just making a point about criminal law. If I break into your house – unarmed – but you, in the process of trying to stop me fire a gun that unintentionally kills your wife, I can be charged with manslaughter. Or, if I break in and you panic and have a heart attack, I can be charged with that death. That will vary by locality, and I don’t know DC law, but if you commit crime X intending outcome Y but outcome Z occurs instead, you are on the hook for outcome Z.

    I think the moral here is: don’t commit crimes.

    7
  58. Moosebreath says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “We will have to agree to disagree on the appropriate term.”

    This started with James calling the majority of the people who invaded the Capitol “rioters” or “aggressive tourists”, terms which I feel trivialize what happened. So there’s lots of room to disagree in both directions.

    “But I will note that even if that successfully stopped the certification that day, it still would not have resulted in Trump staying in office.”

    If they had killed or incapacitated enough Congresspersons that a majority of the remainder would vote to throw out the results in PA/GA/AZ/etc. (which I believe was the intent), then Trump could well still be in office.

    8
  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Moosebreath:

    If they had killed or incapacitated enough Congresspersons that a majority of the remainder would vote to throw out the results in PA/GA/AZ/etc. (which I believe was the intent), then Trump could well still be in office.

    Exactly.

    1
  60. @Moosebreath:

    If they had killed or incapacitated enough Congresspersons that a majority of the remainder would vote to throw out the results in PA/GA/AZ/etc. (which I believe was the intent), then Trump could well still be in office.

    Unless Trump truly took control of the federal government, he would have ceased being President on 1/20 no matter what else had happened on 1/6.

  61. @Michael Reynolds: Fair enough.

  62. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: A crime book with no cheats actually sounds pretty interesting. My library doesn’t have it online and so I may actually have to order a copy. Hope you still get royalties.

  63. @Moosebreath:

    If they had killed or incapacitated enough Congresspersons that a majority of the remainder would vote to throw out the results in PA/GA/AZ/etc. (which I believe was the intent), then Trump could well still be in office.

    Also: from a debating POV, I would note that you are having to resort to a pretty extreme alternative outcome to make your point, yes?

  64. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    the government has downplayed them for understandable reasons.

    While I agree with your premise I suspect your “understandable reasons” are different than mine.

    1
  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    It was the single worst publishing experience I’ve had in ~150 books. I decided for reasons that now seem pretty stupid to publish in the UK. Lousy title, lousy cover, pitiful layout, zero marketing. At one point the CEO of the parent company was on the phone with me apologizing. I just bought back all rights. I’m working on a larger thing at the moment to consolidate my/our old IP – we took back Everworld and Remnants series as well. I’ll probably put up a Kindle version for free.

    3
  66. Moosebreath says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Unless Trump truly took control of the federal government, he would have ceased being President on 1/20 no matter what else had happened on 1/6.”

    If a relatively small number of anti-Trump Congresspersons were killed or incapacitated, then a majority of Congress would have voted that Trump won PA/GA/AZ on 1/6, and he would have won a majority in the Electoral College. If so, he would still be President.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “from a debating POV, I would note that you are having to resort to a pretty extreme alternative outcome to make your point, yes?”

    Not from where I am sitting. Again, it looks like my scenario was the actual intent of the insurrectionists (and I suspect Trump, though there is less evidence for that). It came within a few minutes, or a few feet, of actually happening, multiple times during that day.

    4
  67. Moosebreath says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “I would note that you are having to resort to a pretty extreme alternative outcome to make your point, yes?”

    I will add that from where I sit, your statement sounds like saying, “No harm, no foul”, when the intent was to overturn our Constitutional order.

    2
  68. dazedandconfused says:

    I must say how much I appreciate your efforts to lay complicated issues out, Mr. Joyner, not just here but in general. Well done again.

    About all I can think of to add is I wish Greenwald would consider for a moment what he might do if he were charged with protecting the capitol after this incident. What would you do, Mr, Greenwald, now that it has been shown to the American public just how easy it is? Would you do nothing? Would you ramp some things up on the security? Yes, you would Mr, Greenwald, Now how do you respond to those who accuse you of making those moves simply to increase your control of The People?

    “This is why we can’t have nice things…” as my papa used to tell us kids when we collectively acted stupid. The issue may be far more the The People slowly becoming unfit for democracy than it is of democracy being stripped away from them. Go deeper and check that demonize-the-state knee reflex just a tad Mr Greenwald. Government is a necessary evil.

    1
  69. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Every person who invaded the Capitol on 1/6 contributed to the wrongful death of a police officer.

    James might actually grok that. The part that he doesn’t grok is that everyone who took actions that made it more likely that the Capitol would be invaded also contributed to the wrongful death of a police officer. If you keep leaving golf balls on staircases, at a certain point you can’t hide behind not intending to kill any particular individual.

    2
  70. flat earth luddite says:

    With apologies, And Now For Something Completely (not) Different:

    Of all the pictures that were taken during the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January, one of the most famous is of a man sitting on a chair with one foot on the desk of the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

    That man, Richard Barnett, was told by a judge on Thursday that he is to remain in jail until his next court date in May.

    Barnett, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, began to yell at US district judge Christopher Cooper, saying “it’s not fair” that he should remain in custody as he awaits trial.

    “Everybody else who did things much worse are already home,” he told Cooper during the virtual hearing, according to court records and reporters listening in. “I’ve been here for a month, they’re going to set it for another month, and everybody else is getting out.”

    Karma calling for Mr. Arkansas Idiot. Mr. Idiot, Karma is holding for you on line 1.
    Insert maniacal giggling emoji here.

    4
  71. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If you commit a crime…and someone dies, not directly because of your action, but simply as a consequence of events you illegally helped set in motion, you can be charged with that death.

    I see your point. It does seem to me, though, that at some point this breaks down. That is, as the number of “offenders” increases, so too does the range of “criminal” behavior.

    Re the Capitol [insert whatever word you prefer here], some offenders were clearly engaging in more egregious behavior than others (eg, assaulting officers vs. taking pictures outside the building). It sounds like you think those two people should be treated identically when it comes to the death of the Officer Sicknick. Please correct me if I’ve mischaracterized your view.

    Aside from the Capitol situation, as a general matter, is there any point at which the number of “offenders” is so large and the “criminal” behavior so varied that those present are not, by default, criminally liable for a death that they themselves did not directly cause?

  72. Mimai says:

    @Mimai: I now see @DrDaveT: has posted about this issue, and I’m keen to hear their thoughts too.

  73. JKB says:

    Well, the fence is a monument to The People, or rather Congresses fear of The People. I say that, because it is, but also if that view takes off, they’ll take it down.

    And the NG, who some member of Congress raises loyalty questions about weekly, are also interesting. I’ve seen one report that there was a plan to replace them with active duty troops. An interesting situation when Old Joe want Congress to debate ending the eternal wars. An action that Gen. Milley has openly, let’s say, argued against. The military being in position to seize control when the legislature seeks to end wars that the generals want to continue, is pretty much the historical stereotype conditions for a military coup. I don’t expect such, but you have to love the symbolism and the doubt it will leave as to whether the politicians weren’t, shall we say, influenced.

    But other countries are laughing at us, a country with more guns in private ownership than many countries have for their armies, and no one brings a gun to the “insurrection”.

  74. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    But other countries are laughing at us

    That’s been true since Trump was elected. At the time, you thought that was a feature, not a bug.

    6
  75. Mister Bluster says:

    @JKB:..But other countries are laughing at us,..
    …we’re gonna’ walk down and I’ll be there with you…
    I thought that was funny too. The way your boyfriend Trump hightailed it to the White House just after telling his supporters another lie. (#gazillion+1)

  76. Mimai says:

    What does it mean for other countries to be “laughing at us”? I understand the expression, and sometimes I use it myself. But if I ask myself how I come to this belief (probably not the best term), I don’t have much to hang my hat on……other than my own assessment of the situation (ie, that “we” are indeed a joke). In that case, I should own my own assessment rather than project it onto others, much less “other countries.” How are others thinking about this?

    ps, apologies if this is a tedious question….it’s not my intent.

    1
  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Still tying to get you to answer a simple question: who won the 2020 presidential election by 7 million votes?

    Until you can correctly answer that question it is clear you are only here to lie.

    2
  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ll probably put up a Kindle version for free.

    Now there’s a price point at which I’m willing to buy one of your books. 😀

    5
  79. grumpy realist says:

    @Mimai: The best you can do for a defense is claiming that the actions of the conspiracy actually weren’t linked, that there were different conspiracies (some involving a felony and some not), and that a whole bunch of different groups with different intentions happened to show up.

    It’s pretty hard under common law to get yourself out of being charged in a conspiracy once you’ve shown yourself linked to them.

    1
  80. Mimai says:

    @grumpy realist: Thanks for the response. I know next to nothing about the legal considerations, so I’m pleased you went this direction. That said, I’m particularly interested in the moral considerations (more specifically, culpability), as that is what I perceived the earlier discussion to be about.

    1
  81. grumpy realist says:

    @Mimai: It depends on the state as to who has to be involved in the death and how the conspiracy comes above. The historical view of conspiracy required at least two people involved with intention (so someone sincerely acting together with a police officer undercover wouldn’t count) but just the mental state was necessary and no action taken on behalf of the conspiracy was necessary. (Shades of Roman conspiracy/treason law, by the way. I think that’s where English Common Law grabbed it from.) Over the years this has been mutated so that you don’t need both people with intention but you DO need an action taken on behalf of the conspiracy.

    The only other distinction that states now have is whether they adhere to the agent theory or the nexus theory of conspiracy. In states which follow the agent theory, the noctive-act-you-are-trying-to-charge-someone-with has to be done by one of the members of the conspiracy. (Say, an innocent bystander gets shot by one of multiple bank robbers during the getaway. All of them can be charged with the shooting.) If the third party gets hurt by someone else (police officer trying to stop the robbery) they can’t. However, in states which follow the nexus theory, the noctive act arose out of the same circumstances even if it was carried out by non-conspiracy person, so the bank robbers could get charged.

    (This is why you have to shove a LOT of law into your head when studying for the Bar. For criminal law we always had the possibility of being asked about traditional common law, majority state law, or minority state law. Three (or more) sets of law, groan….)

    2
  82. grumpy realist says:

    (P.S. Yes I do happened to now be a gen-yoo-ine lawyer at present, albeit not practicing in criminal law.)

    1
  83. Mimai says:

    @grumpy realist: This is clarifying, thanks. The agent vs. nexus distinction seems very relevant to the question of who, if any, are morally culpable for the death of the Officer…..other than the person(s) who directly caused his death. Seems to me that many of the commenters around here implicitly subscribe to the nexus theory.

    ps, This reminds me of another thing that I like to noodle and converse with others about – namely, one’s implicit theology. This could be an interesting point of discussion around here, especially given the rather, er, strong feelings many commenters have about religion. Perhaps a topic for another day.

    1
  84. Bill says:

    @wr:
    Weak,like most of your stuff, the nyt did their best to not admit that they were just plain wrong, as usual.

    Are you upset that you can’t link deaths to purported Republicans or something? Lord knows we don’t have to look far to find dead bodies wherever Democrats abound.