Death did not take place at CIA headquarters
For The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz reports: A senior CIA official has died in an apparent suicide this week from injuries sustained after jumping off a building in northern Virginia, according to sources close to the CIA.
CIA spokesman Christopher White confirmed the death and said the incident did not take place at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va.
“We can confirm that there was an individual fatally injured at a facility where agency work is done,” White told the Washington Free Beacon. “He was rushed to a local area hospital where he subsequently died. Due to privacy reasons and out of respect for the family, we are not releasing additional information at this time.”
The avalanche of cash that made Washington rich in the last decade has transformed the culture of a once staid capital and created a new wave of well-heeled insiders.
The winners in the new Washington are not just the former senators, party consiglieri and four-star generals who have always profited from their connections. Now they are also the former bureaucrats, accountants and staff officers for whom unimagined riches are suddenly possible. They are the entrepreneurs attracted to the capital by its aura of prosperity and its super-educated workforce. They are the lawyers, lobbyists and executives who work for companies that barely had a presence in Washington before the boom.
During the past decade, the region added 21,000 households in the nation’s top 1 percent. No other metro area came close.
W. James Antle III writes: Next week Virginians will head to the polls to elect a new governor. It is a race that, on paper, Republicans should win. But the paper the polls are printed on says otherwise.
The GOP standard-bearer is Ken Cuccinelli, a prominent conservative who hails from the critical Northern Virginia suburbs—he lives in Prince William County and was elected to the state legislature from Fairfax County—and won the attorney general’s race with 58 percent of the vote just four years ago. His constitutional challenge to Obamacare did not prevail at the Supreme Court, but it would seem at least somewhat vindicated by the law’s metastasizing implementation problems. Read the rest of this entry »
NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre told Meet the Press this morning that the Navy Yard shooting this week was so deadly because of lack of security at the installation. Asked by David Gregory whether he thought, as the NRA has claimed in the past, that simply more security was needed at the site of the mass shooting, LaPierre said the answer was obvious: “The whole country, David, knows the problem was there weren’t enough good guys with guns. When the good guys got there, it stopped.”
“How can anybody look at what happened this week and say there was enough security there?” LaPierre said. “I mean, there was one guy, [from] a private-security firm . . . there were six guys guarding the gates. The Capital Hill SWAT team was told to stand down.”
KEVIN POULSEN writes: It wasn’t ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors. Read the rest of this entry »
During the debate leading up to the federal budget sequester, Fuller was a voice of doom. An economist at George Mason University and the director of its Center for Regional Analysis, he predicted that sequestration would be especially calamitous for Washington, D.C., and its surroundings. If Congress didn’t stop the automatic spending cuts from going into effect, Fuller warned last year, the Washington area was headed for a “devastating recession.” Some 450,000 jobs, many of them in the private sector, would be wiped out in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
“It’s something you don’t even want to draw a picture of because it’s too scary,” he said in a radio interview last summer. In January he described the sequester’s impact on the national capital region as an “end-of-the-world kind of hit.”
But the world hasn’t ended. Not even in Washington.
In the months since President Obama signed the order to cut federal outlays by $85 billion, the Washington Post reported last week, the region has added 40,000 jobs. “Income-tax receipts have surged in Virginia, beating expectations. Few government contractors have laid off workers.” There is no sign of the economic hellfire and brimstone foretold by Fuller, who says it’s a “surprise” to him that Washington’s economy is still booming. “We’ve done better than I expected,” he confessed.
The real surprise is that anyone is still surprised by the affluence of the Washington area.
According to the most recent census data, seven of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties surround Washington – including the only three counties in the United States with median incomes above $100,000: Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington, all in Northern Virginia. In 2010, there were six Washington-area counties in the Top 10; in 2007, there were five. The Great Recession may have left great swaths of America reeling, but it didn’t stop Washington from surging even higher in the income rankings.
If the worst recession in decades couldn’t tarnish Washington’s opulence, sequestration – a political budget maneuver designed to achieve merely a tiny reduction in the growth of federal spending over the next decade – isn’t likely to either.
Coverage of the D.C. area’s high-flying economy sometimes sounds like an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” In a front-page article last weekend – “What Sequester? Washington Booms as a New Gilded Age Takes Root” – The Wall Street Journal described the extraordinary wealth of Washington’s “moneyed brain trust,” beneficiaries of a generation’s worth of soaring government budgets and immense political aggrandizement. Examples of extravagance are everywhere, from the flourishing Aston Martin dealership selling sports cars at $120,000 and up to the Georgetown hotel that charges $22 for a martini.
Washington hasn’t grown so rich because it is home to industries that produce wealth through commerce or manufacturing or invention. Unlike Silicon Valley or Manhattan or Houston or Hollywood, Washington’s primary activity isn’t the creation of goods and services that have intrinsic value in themselves, and that raise the national standard of living. Government doesn’t generate new income – it redistributes income that others have already generated. Through taxes, spending, and regulation, the federal establishment now dominates more of the private economy than ever, directly confiscating trillions of dollars earned in the private economy, and indirectly controlling the fate of tens of trillions more.
“Power is the great aphrodisiac,” Henry Kissinger famously claimed. It is also a great conduit to other people’s money. When a single tweak in the tax code can make or break a business, when fortunes are being doled out through federal bailouts and contracts, when regulations can decide the future of industries and interest groups, it stands to reason that so many will spend so much to get a piece of what government controls.
“Most federal activity involves taking money from some people, giving it to others, and keeping a big chunk as a transaction fee,” says the Cato Institute’s David Boaz. At its broadest, that “transaction fee” is reflected in everything from overpaid federal employees to Washington’s gargantuan lobbying industry to the clustering of America’s wealthiest counties in suburban Washington.
If sequestration really meant a sharp decline in government spending and influence, Versailles-on-the-Potomac might have reason to fear those doomsday scenarios. That is why you can be sure that Congress and the president will never voluntarily enact anything of the kind. The federal boom will continue at our expense, as ever more of America’s wealth goes to Washington to be consumed.
- Washington Booms at America’s Expense (realclearpolitics.com)
- Washington Booms – Thanks to Other People’s Money (conservativeread.com)
- Washington Booms during Slowest Recovery (cato.org)
- D.C. Area Not Feeling Much Pain From Sequester (outsidethebeltway.com)