You read that right. Being a Russian national isn't enough. Even having Russian ancestry isn't enough (the descendants of Russians who fled the revolution a century ago are all agents of Putin, after all). No, anyone who Johnson might even have reason to believe might have a bit of those "deceptive" Russian genes is fair game.
When did we leave planet Earth and enter George Orwell's nightmare?
Even left-leaning journalists are horrified - and they should be. Michael Tracey posted the letter on Twitter, which was sent on December 19.
The request references a July 27th, 2017 letter that demanded Johnson turn over to the committee his communications with "Russian persons," and goes on to define those words to mean "persons that Mr. Johnson knows or has reason to believe are of Russian nationality or descent."Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi calls it "madness", pointing out that there are close to three million people "of Russian descent" in the US:
Tracey noted that by targeting every person of Russian descent, the committee is going after people based on an "inborn ethnic characteristic," thereby raising serious ethical and legal questions:
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald also tweeted about the letter, pointing out his belief that it is not an error. It is a deliberate attempt to target Russians as an ethnic group:
This is total madness. But James Clapper must be happy. He knows the truth: that all Russians are sneaky, deceptive, lying criminals.
Does that statement raise your hackles? It should. Just replace "Russians" with "Jews" or "Blacks" and see what emotions and thoughts come up.
In a time when overt racism against white people is not only widespread but accepted as fair game, it's no surprise that overt racism against Russians also slips by the radars of even the most finely-tuned racism detectors.
And it's not only passive acceptance. If you're Russian, watch out. It you've ever corresponded with Charles Johnson, consider yourself marked.
As for the rest of us; should we start burning our Dostoyevsky novels now or...?