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Post With All Sources, Trust, but Verify
Created by John Eipper on 01/15/19 4:11 AM

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With All Sources, Trust, but Verify (Timothy Brown, USA, 01/15/19 4:11 am)

A minor correction to Boris Volodarsky (January 14th):

Some (but hopefully not all WAISers) seem always to believe the NYT, or most other media, without question. Based on my personal experiences during my four decades doing political/military/academic analysis based on both public, private and classified sources, I learned the hard way long ago to never--and I do mean never--accept 100% as the absolute "truth" what any single, or even collection of sources say. I've learned the hard way that what Reagan said at the Berlin Wall was dead right, always "Trust, but Verify."

Just one example. During my four years as the Senior Liaison Officer to the Nicaraguan Resistance in Central America, almost every operational or analytical report from Washington that crossed my desk had been vetted or written by the Department of Defense's top Cuba-Nicaragua intelligence analyst, Ana Belén Montes and believed and widely distributed up and including the White House. She is currently serving a 25-year sentence in a Federal Penitentiary for High Treason, because she was a Cuba spy. If you don't believe me, Google her name.

PS. Her sister was also a Cuban spy, but successfully fled for sanctuary to Scandinavia.

JE comments:  I just learned that Sweden has no extradition treaty with the US for treason cases.  Tim, it's been years since I've thought of Ana Belén Montes.  She is due for release in 2023.  Was it ever determined what motivated her to spy for Cuba?  Money alone?

"Trust but verify" is a direct calque from the Russian doveryai no proveryai, Reagan's pronunciation of which was incomprehensible to Gorbachev.  It would be fun to assemble a list of loan-translation expressions that have entered into common English usage.  Besides trusting and verifying, Saddam Hussein's "mother of all..." comes to mind.  Now we have MOAB--the Mother of All Bombs.  Can WAISers think of other examples?


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