(1) A mere six days after President Obama’s much heralded terrorism speech, a US drone fired a missile in Pakistan that killed four people. On Saturday, another US drone killed seven people, this time in Yemen. There was some debate about whether Obama’s speech really heralded a more restrictive standard for drone use; the early results, though not dispositive, seem to suggest it is business as usual.
(2) On May 22, an FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev as they were interviewing him about his association with Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. From the start, news account – based on official claims – were wildly contradictory in several key respects, but most reports claimed that Todashev had used a knife to attack the agent, who then killed him in self defense. As it turns out, even the FBI now admits that Todashev was unarmed when they killed him. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf now examines many of the very strange questions surrounding this episode.
(3) The Washington Post details the numerous high-level Obama aides who are leaving the White House and lavishly cashing in on their political influence, connections and access. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber previously reported on some of the same sleazy dynamic with many of these same officials. A couple of months ago, a friend who works in DC sent me the below video, which he entitled “the care and feeding of a young imperial bureaucrat”, on how Tommy Vietor, Obama’s former National Security Council spokesman, is now monetizing his access and influence. There’s something unique about how this video viscerally (albeit unwittingly) conveys the sleaze driving this whole process (note, too, the numerous Obama posters Vietor has adoringly hung on his walls the way pre-adolescents venerate teen idols and boy bands: understandable in Vietor’s case, even if somewhat creepy, given that it is his connection to the president that will now generate great personal wealth):