Back Channels

The New York Times ran an article this morning on "back channels"
You can read the article here if you wish.....emphasis on "if you wish".  This is a little rambly but gets at the point overall.

The Trumpian fair haired boy Jared Kushner sought to set up a "back channel" to Russia while Mr. Obama was President but in that lame duck period before father-in-law took the oath.  Supposedly, Jared had contact with the Russian Ambassador and suggested that communications be set up with the United States using Russian communication channels.  Why didn't he just pick up the phone one might ask?  Why didn't he wait until Trump took office, called in the Ambassador, said he needed to talk privately to Putin or someone there, and wanted the conversation to be absolutely private?

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"I think we may have an offset carrier here" (from the movie "Contact").  If you remember that scene from the movie, a message was received and there was another message attached to it, but you had to see the primary message before you could see the "offset carrier" which is a perfect example of "back channel".

I think we would all do well to visit the definition/usage of  "back channel".  You can read the Wiki article here, and the Miriam Webster definition here. The best way to distill this is to think of a two way conversation wherein one of the parties is nodding or smiling, giving a thumbs up, etc., so to convey a message that isn't heard but seen and conveys a message that "carries" along with the conversation.

What Jared had in mind was NOT back channel in the sense it was meant.  He uses this definition: "a secondary or covert route for the passage of information."  The operative word here is "covert".  

not openly acknowledged or displayed.
"covert operations against the dictatorship"

synonyms:secretfurtiveclandestinesurreptitiousstealthycloak-and-daggerhole-and-cornerbackstairs, backroom, hidden, under-the-table, concealedprivateundercoverunderground
informalhush-hush
"covert plans to sell arms"

Our last big covert thingy was Ollie North and Iran Contra....remember?

The question here and for all time will be "why did a private citizen seek to set up a covert communications channel with Russia that would have been secret, hidden, private and underground to our country"?  Why, Jared?


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