I gave Nick the benefit of the doubt that he was given access to the Navy SEALs who carried out the Bin Laden hit. Nope, I was wrong. Great piece by C. Christine Fair, a Georgetown Professor, sheds more light on the fact that Schmidle was writing out of his ass:

Mr. Schmidle then recalls, in riveting detail, the harrowing movements of the helicopters and how “the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered.” When the first helicopter encountered problems, Schmidle exposits how the pilot reoptimized his plans and aimed for “for an animal pen in the western section of the compound.” He next tells his readers how the SEALs in the ill-fated bird “braced themselves as the tail rotor swung around, scraping the security wall. The pilot jammed the nose forward to drive it into the dirt and prevent his aircraft from rolling onto its side. Cows, chickens, and rabbits scurried.”

He even describes how the translator Ahmed hollered in Pashto at the locals that a security operation was ongoing to allay their suspicions about the nature of the cacophony in the cantonment town. (This detail caught my eye as the majority of persons in Abbottabad, where the raid took place, speak Hindko rather than Pashto.) He account is replete with quotes and other minute details obtained from persons seemingly involved directly in the assault and presumably speaking to him in person.

The article was in fact so detailed that it left the unmistakable impression that Mr. Schmidle had interviewed at least a few of the SEALs involved in the raid. During an NPR interview, Steve Inskeep explains that indeed Schmidle had spent time with the SEALs who were on the mission to get Bin Laden. NPR subsequently issued a correction for reasons noted below.

Ahh, Nick.

NPR issued the following correction:

We incorrectly said that reporter Nicholas Schmidle had spoken with the Navy SEALs who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Schmidle used information from others who had debriefed the SEALs; he did not speak with them himself.

Jesus Christ! The boy was writing fiction. Every thing he wrote about what the SEALs did was based on info from someone who was not there.

But wait, there’s more. Schmidle claims expertise where he has none:

Over the next few years, I watched Mr. Schmidle’s reporting. He had an eye for the key issues and he covered many important stories that others overlooked. I met him episodically in Islamabad when I came to Pakistan. In January 2008, Mr. Schmidle published a piece in the New York Times Magazine called the “Next-Gen Taliban.” In that article, he ventured into Quetta to attend an opening ceremony for the campaign office of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), which he described in anodyne terms as a “a hard-line Islamist party.”

Mr. Schmidle wrote that the men in attendance mostly spoke Pashto but “knowing Urdu, I could understand enough [of their Pashto] to realize that they weren’t rehashing the typical J.U.I. rhetoric.” That made the rest of the article immediately suspect. I knew Mr. Schmidle, and knew that his language skills in Urdu were functional at best and, even if he had superb Urdu skills (and he did not), this would not render Pashto comprehensible in the slightest. (It is not an Indo-Aryan language like Urdu and therefore has a grammar and syntax that is starkly different from Urdu.) While one may recognize some Urdu words, without grammar and syntax the content of the discussion would have been opaque to Mr. Schmidle. Indeed, Pakistanis who have spent their entire life in the country speaking Urdu cannot understand Pashto and would never make the absurd claim to do so. How could Mr. Schmidle understand, must less interpret, what was going on without knowledge of Pashto or a translator? It seemed to me that things were not as they were reported.

I was right that the New Yorker, via Schmidle, was bamboozling the American public on behalf of Obama. I just didn’t realize how shameless the effort was.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
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  • Anonymous

    You left out this part of Fair’s blog post:

    “His [Schmidle]’s father, as noted above, is the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. 
    Given the conspiratorial propensities of many within and beyond the
    Muslim world, Schmidle’s ties to this organization by virtue of his
    father would recast any serious inaccuracy in his report as a U.S.
    military psychological operation to deliberately misinform the world
    about the operation.”

    That would explain how he had access to the information and may even explain why some it may be inaccurate.

    Fair is a neo-liberal member of the Council on Foreign Relations who worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan. She is a Phd in languages with a b.a. in biochemistry who was allowed to
    write military tactical analysis reports when she was with the Rand
    that are mostly PC drivle.   Her website is http://www.ChristineFair.net Her CV and all of her writings are on the site.

    Take a look at her report on urban warfare, the premise of which is that the Indian and Sri Lankan armies have more experience in urban warfare than the U.S. Army, and that therefore the U.S. Army can learn from India and Sri Lanka’s example. Absolutely no discussion about the vast quantitative differences in training.   I don’t know what her agenda is but I do know it isn’t anger over the article making  Obama look good.  Perhaps this section of her blog post explains her motivation:

    “How would a proclamation that Bin Laden was killed “for God and for
    country” be read in a place like Pakistan where the war on terror has
    been largely seen as a war on Islam and Muslims? If this was in fact
    uttered, as an American, I am saddened that eliminating the world’s most
    notorious killer was done “for God” first and country second. If it
    wasn’t uttered, such a gratuitous detail hardly helps the United States
    make its case that it opposes terrorists not Muslims.”

    See what I mean?

  • Anonymous

    Larry wrote, “… the majority of persons in Abbottabad, where the raid took place, speak Hindko rather than Pashto.”  That’s probably why most of the people that heard the guy said, “What’s that fucking guy saying and what is he doing here, anyway?”

  • Wbboe

    One final point on jurnolisters.  Ezra Klein (WashPo) is another member of this cabal.

     Ed Morrisey has a clip from Morning Joe where Klein tells Rick Santelli (godfather of the Tea Party) that the problem with the economy is that markets move money around in ways that are unfair, that government has an affirmative duty to correct that problem and what is needed now is a drastic round of inflation to save us.  

    From the floor of the NYSE, Santelli  schools this young ignoramus that this is precisely the kind of thinking that has brought us to the brink where we are now–massive debt (it has gone from 40 to 70% of GDP since Obama took office,  unemployment levels unseen since the Great Depression and a housing crisis that Larry among others points out as the vortex of the problem.  Obama inherited a recession and he has turned it into a depression, all before his 50th Birthday.

    Under Obama government has intervened time and again to save failing businesses with taxpayer funds where they get the profits and the American People assume the risk.. Under Obama, government has run up an unprecedented level of public debt and has simultaneously ignored the common sense axiom, when you are in a hole stop digging. Under Obama, big business has parked $3 trillion cash on the sidelines, due to uncertainty over his tax and regulatory policies. No investment=no jobs, Ezra.  Under Obama, fairness means targeting the white middle class for extinction–whether you call it spreading the wealth or dealing with “bitter clinging people”.

    Young Ezra would do well to reflect on the wisdom of Albert Einstein who once observed that doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is sympromatic of insanity. Krugman should reflect on that too, unless he wants to create a new global economic crisis.


  • Anonymous

    Gallup Poll:
    Tea Party Movement As Large As Nation’s Entire Liberal Population…
    Aug.5, 2011
    – The percentage of Americans who expressly state that they are supporters of the Tea Party movement is currently about as large at 22 percent of the population as the 21 percent who say they are liberals, according to recent but separate Gallup polls.
    Meanwhile, at 41 percent of the population, according to Gallup, self-described conservatives outnumber both Tea Party movement supporters and liberals by nearly 2-to-1.
    In separate polls done on July 27 and August 2, 23 and 22 percent of respondents told Gallup they considered themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement. These polls (each of which was conducted in one day) had a margin of error of +/-4 points, and Gallup warned that polls conducted in one day “are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.”
    In fact, the July 27 and August 2 polls showed a considerably smaller percentage of Americans saying they were Tea Party supporters thanprevious Gallup polls conducted over three- and four-day periods.
    For example, a Gallup survey conducted April 20-23 of this year, found that 30 percent of Americans described themselves as Tea Party supporters. Similarly, a Gallup poll conducted Jan. 14-16 of this year also found that 30 percent of Americans described themselves as Tea Party supporters.


  • AC

    Quit using the name “Nick” without a qualifier.  
    You got something about people named Nick?
    Not all Nick’s are equal!

    • Anonymous

      And at least one is a saint!

      • Anonymous

        Then again, “Old Nick” was a term for the Devil….

        • AC

          See what I mean oowawa, not all Nick’s are equal.  You however have a very unique handle.

  • Anonymous

    Larry, this is terrible news since the one thing that set The New Yorker apart — or so I’d been told many times — was its army of fact checkers who reportedly verified every single fact as well as verifying statements/quotations.

    Let’s hope that your revelations — all three of your posts — are front-page news at Huffington Post’s media section, Howie Kurtz’s Daily Beast column (and his CNN Sunday show, Reliable Sources), Fox News Corp.’s Media Watch (Sat./Sun. 1/2-hour show), Editor & Publisher, and more such sites. 

    Further, the editor of The New Yorker is honor-bound to make a statement.  (Have you written a letter to the editor of The New Yorker? I hope so because subscribers do read LTEs and the editor’s responses.)

    • Anonymous

      Lets hope that LJ revelations are front page news somewhere besides NQ. But let’s not hold our breath until that is so.

    • Anonymous

      love the new Avatar.BronwynsHarbor

    • momule

      Years ago when I couldn’t bear to look at Newsweek any more I told my husband to get a subscription to the New Yorker. For many years I perused it happily every week, but sometime in 2008 I started to find myself being less inclined to read the main articles. They were so in the tank for Obama that I completely turned off. Now the issues pile up and only my husband reads (very slowly!) through them. Nowadays I just read the movie, theatre and art reviews, + anything Anthony Lane writes.
      Since the newstand price is now $5.99 and we pay a small fraction of that, you can figure that their subscription readers are not an overwhelming number! It is a sad decline. 

  • Denise

    I read it also, IMO, there is not a shred of truth to the piece except for perhaps the training prior to the alleged event. Seals train non-stop. What struck me among other things was the fact they had to go back and get the body bag, if the intention was to kill him, then umm, no body bag in the ruck sack? From my research and intel, the CIA owned that compound. If I were to cover all the other holes in the story, well, this comment box would not allow enough typing space. Thanks for your summary….I concur.

  • nqisfun

    This one is for HARP and his Tea Party friends on NQ who claims the “protest” movement is growing:

    “The public’s opinion of the Tea Party movement has soured in the wake of the debt-ceiling debate. The Tea Party is now viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of the public and favorably by just 20 percent, according to the poll. In mid-April 29 percent of those polled viewed the movement unfavorably, while 26 percent viewed it favorably. And 43 percent of Americans now think the Tea Party has too much influence on the Republican Party, up from 27 percent in mid-April.”


    I think we will see many of these Tea Party house members thrown out in 2012.

    • Anonymous

      From the NYTIMES? lololololololololololololol
      Yea, they know sooooooooooo much about “fly-over” country. Keep dreaming….omg lololololololololololololololololol

      • Anonymous

        Not just the New York Times but also CBS News – two news organizations known for making up news.

        The NY Times should have changed their tag line to: All The News We See Fit To Print.”

        • Anonymous

          Or “All The News That Fits Our Ideology.” Certainly not an unbiased or honest purveyor of news either one of them. Propaganda – yes. News – no.

    • Anonymous

      “I think we will see many of these Tea Party house members thrown out in 2012.”

      No you won’t, because all of them are from the Republican Party and not the Tea Party.

      And, guess what? They were right! This debt reduction bill was going to zero to fix this economy and calm the markets. They were right and all the rest of the politicians in DC were wrong (on both sides of the aisle).

    • yttik

      That poll is totally bogus, but it is kind of funny to note that in spite of all this hype about how tea party approval has soured, they’re still scoring 7 points ahead of Obama in a rigged poll.

      According to this bogus poll, Obama disapproval is at 47%, congress disapproval is at 88%, but what does the article decide to focus on? Tea Party disapproval is at 40%. They don’t even mention that leaves 60% feeling rather optimistic about the tea party. The group in our government with the highest approval rating from the people, is featured in that article with the implication that nobody really likes the tea party anymore.

      That’s  kind of funny : )

      • Anonymous

        Check out the internals:

        Reps 24%
        Dems 32%
        Inds 44%

        And Obamacus is underwater with the indies.

        • yttik

          LOL! That’s a seriously weighted poll. In spite of the attempted stacking, it still shows 66% unhappy with the Dems, 47% unhappy with Obama.

      • nqisfun


        You sure have a funny way of reading polls.

        You comment:

        “They don’t even mention that leaves 60% feeling rather optimistic about the tea party.”

        does not make much sense. The poll says that only 20% view the Tea Party as favorable. That is a huge drop in the last year (see my chart below).

        Obama’s favorability rating is about 46%. The reality is that Obama has had the highest approval rating of any national politician since he was elected.

    • Anonymous

      Careful…….We just might have to take you hostage.

      • Anonymous

        What do you think Obama would pay to get him back?

        • Anonymous

          $ 0

    • Anonymous

      Yawn, flag, swat. Another troll with a Tea Party obsession.

  • Anonymous

    It should be no surprise that schmidle can easily be confused with the Yiddish word shmekele

    • Anonymous

      His father, Robert Schmidle, is a 3-star general in the Marine Corps.  Too bad he didn’t name his son after one of the greatest of all Marine Corps generals, Smedley Butler. 

      Smedley Schmidle has a nice ring to it!  Bet he considered it!

      • Wbboe

        Butler is a fascinating character—legend has it that he had a big birdie ball and anchor tattooed on his chest, but it got shot up at the Wall of Legations in China where he won the Medal of Honor. Later he became commandant of the Marine corps.

        Ironically, he was a Quaker,  and Quakers deplore violence, whereas war is all about violence. After he retired he an old man’s regrets, became an outspoken critic of the banana wars in which he participated, i.e. War is A Racket–he said. 

        Eventually, he said to hell with these foreign adventures that benefit Wall Street but not the people.  There are only two reasons to go to war–one is to protectt the Bill of Rghts and the other is to repel a foreign invasion. 

        In the early 1930s there was a coup against FDR, the capitalists who entered into it brought Butler into their confidence hoping that he would rally the military.  Instead he exposed them. 

        You are right.  It is too bad the father did not name his son after Smedley Butler.  He might have turned out differently—or in the Georgetown Social circles he traverses, it would be like the Johnny Cash song A Boy Named Sue.

        Here is a picture of Butler along with another commandant of the Marine Corps– John Lejune.

  • Frenchnail

    And this is the exact reason why I DO NOT read any of the print press anymore. Total waste of time. I stick with the few internet sites I trust and I end up better informed everyday.

  • Anonymous

    HaHa–Thanks Larry–great moments in American journalism… But I could have done better–The windshield of the Blackhawk Helicopter was so covered with  goat blood, cow entrails, and chicken feathers that the windshield wipers could not clear it….Still, a steely calm prevailed in the doomed chopper as the Seals locked and loaded–ready to rumble….

    Shouldn’t Schmidle’s article have appeared in “Rolling Stone”?

    • Anonymous

      “I speak Urdu, with a Pashto accent”…Does that hurt? I hope not.
      Like an Itlaian speaking French?

  • Anonymous

    So, a lefty journalist lies…what else is new?

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately it’s not only not new, it’s not even news. How sad, and bad is that. We must continue to be outraged so that at the very least they know that we know.

  • nqisfun

    Again, what has this got to do with Obama? Do you have to tie everything on the planet to Obama? You are now reaching so low that you have to blame a magazine article on Obama?

    • Anonymous

      I understand that talking about Obama leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

      Here……….have a mint…

    • Anonymous

      Yawn, flag, swat

    • Anonymous

      The only thing Obama has done in 2.5 years is campaign and continue to feed and coordinate his propaganda mainstream media allies to mislead and misinform the American public. And they have done a damn good job at it. At least until they uncovered JournOList.

      What Larry has uncovered is one more example of that.

      • nqisfun

        Your tinfoil hat is on extra tight this morning.

        Do you ever have any actual proof to what you claim? Or does this stuff just spew out of you head?

        • Anonymous

          There are websites dedicated to exposing Obama bias like this and many journalists have all but openly admitted to collusion with the White House in “reporting” the news.
          Try reading something other than the Daily Koz .
          How’s the market doing today?

          • nqisfun

            markets up 98 points.

            • Anonymous

              Try 61 for the day. Not much of a rebound at all. Very dismal and does not bode well for next week.

              All in all another miserable week for the U.S. economy with no light at the end of the tunnel.

              But Obama parties on  .  .   .

          • Docelder

            Obama is partying like it’s 1929… because that is pretty close probably to the truth.

        • Anonymous

          Giant boring troll

    • Anonymous

       Hump day was Wednesday…


    • Wbboe

      Obama bears no responsibility for anything that turns out bad, and He will be the first to tell you.  Take the economy for example.  First, he said the bad economy was the fault of Bush.  Then he said the bad economy is because Cantor will not allow me to raise taxes.  Then he said the bad economy was due to Arab Spring–which he personally botched (see Niall Ferguson).  Then he said the bad economy is due the tsunami in Japan.  However, if you were to ask business men who create jobs they will tell you that the problem is uncertainty over the regulations and taxes that Obama has or will propose.  Others will say it was the reckless spending he and his party initiated–not to build infrastructure but to buy votes for the 2010 mid terms. So in the final analysis, Obama is responsible for everything and takes responsibility for nothing. He is a frog princess waiting to be kissed.

    • Anonymous

      OK, let’s talk about our bond rating being downgraded for the first time in 70 years.  Oh, wait a minute, that doesn’t have anything to do with Obama, either.  That’s Bush’s fault, isn’t it, or do we go back and blame it on Reagan?

  • Wbboe

    Larry, you were 100% correct that this was a bogus story which was politically inspired.  This new evidence is just further confirmation. Unless it can be shown that Schmidle spent time in a Kenyan Village as a youth, which is the acid test that big media applies in determining foreign policy expertise (including military operations), the entire story must be dismissed as an exercise in bamboozling.

    On a note which relates to your prior posting, if there had to be a stock market correction, let us at least be grateful that it happened after Obama struck the grand bargain with the feckless Republican leadership.  If this had happened before the deal was struck then the politics would have been completely different, and Obama–and big media would have demagogue it to hell and back. We now know from congressional sources that that is what the Dims were hoping for.

    Talleyrand said treason is a matter of dates.  Same goes for stock market corrections in this hyper political environment.


    • Wbboe

      Schmidle should be classified as a jurnolister.  This is a confederation of left leaning writers who formed a pact prior to the 2008 primary to promote Obama and to savage his opponents. They communicate by email and coordinate their attacks upon individuals and the truth. 

      Ben Smith of Politico, Sam Stein of Huff and Puff and Law Professor Jeffrey Toobin (shame on him), Joe Klein (Time), Greg Sargeant (WashPo), Nate Silver (phony pollster) are among its 151 members.

      Here is the list of the known members of this confederation: http://thevailspot.blogspot.com/2011/01/journolist-membership.html  Anything they say should be viewed with skepticism and suspicion.


      • Betty

        Thank you !  The names of those traders need to be remembered and spoken, or written till 100 years after they are dead.  

      • Anonymous

        Schmidle should be classified as a Journo-notster IMO. Didn’t the New York Times have to fire someone for just making things up? Jayson Blair? Something like that.

      • candymarl


        When you make a pact to support a certain politician or political point of view no matter what you’ve gone way past being a journolister.  You’re a propagandist.

        • Lisaa Querido

          Wbboie you are missed at big pink.

          • Wbboe

            Lisaa–I miss you and everyone else at Hillaryis44. 

            Nobody has deeper insight into the history, character flaws, and dirty tricks practiced by Obama–and his big media acolytes.  Nobody has predicted the rise and subsequent fall of Obama with greater precision than Admin.  

            This is the result of solid opposition research, and political acumen, second to none.  If someone were to sit down and plow through the archives of Admin’s work they would see a sustained factually supported narrative of Obama from alpha to Omega, orders of magnitude better than any book on the subject.

            The identity of Admin remains a mystery.  Peggy Noonan once opined that it was Hillary herself whereas jurnolister Ben Smith claims it is Alex Rodriguez (not the Yankee), and my sense is they are all wrong. 

            I think it is a group of men and women who believe in this country, in the Democratic Party of FDR (as opposed to this new fangled cult of Obama), and in the quaint notion that the system functions best when Democrats behave like Democrats and Republicans behave like Republicans.

            I read every post by Admin and most of the comments.  I posted Admin’s brilliant analysis of the emerging political scene here yesterday.  I post it elsewhere as well.

        • Wbboe

          No question about it.  These bitter partisans masquerading as journalists attacked Hillary, Sarah and even fellow journalists who spoke the truth.  They are right out of central casting in the movie Springtime for Hitler. 

          When I hear a name like Spenser Ackerman, I expect to see some austere man of the world with gravitas only to find a young punk with an attitude and a warped view of the world. Thee are a few others who could be added to the list.

          Two of the aforementioned however bug me the most. One is Joe Klein, who is a proven liar (Primary Colors and in other ventures) who has found his way unto the Council of Foreign Relations which was once the haven and home of Ambassador Kennan and other people with wisdom perspective and insight, as opposed to this little schlameel.  I will be you Kissinger gives him no time whatsoever.

          The other is CNN’s vaunted legal expert Jeffrey Toobin who was very out front in sucking up to Obama and trashing Hillary. I knew he was out there, but I never guessed he was part of that conspiracy, until I saw his name on the list. 

          I use the term conspiracy advisedly because the technical definition of conspiracy is a combination for an illegal purpose whereas here it is for an unethical one which is offensive to the truth  and the right of the people to know the truth.  In essence they violate the core tenet of democracy which is a well informed public.  They categorically reject the Holmesian notion of a marketplace of ideas, and opt for a monopoly of ideas–their own to the exclusion of all others.

          In sum, that is why when Obama goes down these ideologues, propandaists, liars–call them what you will, must go down with him.  I  am sure they would laugh at this, but it is reasonable to assume that one way or another their day is coming.  The public is learning who tells them the truth and who lies to them, which is the beginning of wisdom.

        • candymarl

          BTW that applies to both the left and the right. I didn’t like the rabid GWB apologists any better than this bunch.

    • Frenchnail

      Talleyrand?!  I’m impressed

  • Anonymous

    Larry, when you are write, you are right…..lol


    even when something that had to be done in the best interest of the USA , the people who carry backtrack have to screw it up.

    The SEALS did their job and the country is proud of them as it should be. There was no reason to lie and embellish and to do so is just wrong.

    This so-called writer and the so-called editors who allowed this fiction to be printed as truth need to be fired.

    unemployment needs to start in DC asap



    • Anonymous

      Just trying to push a rise in the polls for Oblahblah. Why I don’t know since the ever “prescient” Joyless Behar of The View infamy said after the news broke of Osama’s death something to the effect that the Republicans didn’t even need to run a candidate since this news would assure Oblahblah’s re-election. Her prescient brain cells must not have been working on that particular day and issue.

      Oh my God, did I say brain cell and Joyless Behar in the same sentence. My bad. Mea culpa

      • Anonymous

        Joy told me that you are a racist.  Me too, she said.

        • Anonymous

          Guess we’re just two little racist peas in a pod then BronwynsHarbor. We’re in much better company in our “pod” together than anywhere near Ms. Joyless, and Truthless, Behar!

  • Anonymous

    Wow!  the state of American journalism is lower than I imagined.  I am appalled.

    I guess, however, that if we get presidential candidates who are able to get fictionalized memoirs ghot written and published and then convince their mindless followers to carry around that fiction during the primary and the general election as if it were a Holy Book, we now get to have fictionalized accounts of recent news events..

    In the really elite university arts and humanities departments, there is a group of people who contend that all history is fiction anyway, that it is all really speculation, etc. 

    I really now believe that I actually grew up in an alternate universe in which there was respect for the truth, for ethical behavior, for honesty and integrity.  How I got into this universe is the question I would like answered—or really, how I can get back to my first universe.

    • Anonymous

      It seems like a lot of confabulators and con artists are attracted to journalism these days.

      • Anonymous

        And to this administration…