Someone’s getting nervous here, and I don’t think it’s the President.
The recent installation of Richard Grenell as ODNI has set off a firestorm within the intelligence bureaucracy and Congress. Democrats have decried his moves to clean up the political machinations and corruption going on within these agencies, even attempting to accuse the former Ambassador to Germany of “interfering” in the upcoming election. When Rep. Adam Schiff starts to cry foul and send angry letters, that’s a sign that the right things are happening.
In response to Grenell’s actions, we’ve seen targeted leaks, but one former official decided to speak on the record recently.
Retired CIA officer predicts Trump and his spy chiefs will be 'outmaneuvered' by intelligence community https://t.co/cWB3sg1YDm
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 5, 2020
“I take solace in my confidence that Mr. Trump will learn, even after the Senate confirms Mr. Ratcliffe and the president replaces still more professionals with less capable political loyalists, that gagging the intelligence community will be far more difficult than hushing the Justice Department or overriding the wisdom of our medical institutions,” Douglas London, who retired from the CIA in 2018, wrote in a Monday op-ed for the New York Times.
London, whose last assignment was chief of counterterrorism for South and Southwest Asia, noted that despite Grenell “parroting the president’s politicized inaccuracies” on the coronavirus pandemic, “he has also failed at breaking the intelligence community’s determination to do its job.”
To be frank, if this is how any significant number of intelligence officials think, their institutions need to be torn down at this point. This is yet another take on Chuck Schumer’s assertion that the CIA has ways of getting back at those that cross them. It’s tyrannical nonsense, proposing that unelected bureaucrats should somehow hold absolute power over the country’s decision making.
London continues by pushing the tired faux patriotism angle, which suggests that these career officials could never harbor biases, nor act on them.
“Try as he might, neither he nor the president can prevent a vast majority of these nonpolitical patriots from doing their jobs,” he said.
What job would that be? Undermining the people who were actually elected and are accountable to the people? We do know politicization of intelligence has happened, but it hasn’t been under Trump. Instead, it happened routinely under Barack Obama, but that was different because the majority of Washington bureaucrats agreed with him politically. When a report on Afghanistan showed that the former president had lied and manipulated intelligence, the media barely found it worth a mention. But some former CIA official makes charges against Trump and he’s gets an op-ed to spew his nonsense without push back.
London finally charged that the intelligence community would “outmanuever” Trump, Ratcliffe, and Grenell, something that is not within their power to do outside of being corrupt.
“The president’s current feckless, politicized use of the intelligence community could not have come at a worse time and will no doubt get worse as he grows more desperate and fearful of the coronavirus’s impact on his own fortunes,” he concluded. “But President Trump, Mr. Grenell and Mr. Ratcliffe (should he be confirmed) will often be overwhelmed and outmaneuvered by the intelligence community’s independence and skill. As the president continues to learn the hard way, the community is not his personal secretariat.”
Color me skeptical. What this entire op-ed reads like is a CIA lackey who knows the jig is up.
They’re worried. Trump outmaneuvered them at DNI—if Ratcliffe not confirmed, then more Grenell. Either way, Trump is cleaning out trash. Btw, original NYT piece attacks CIA Director Haspel, which in context suggests she’s doing a good job. FBI clearly still a problem. https://t.co/q5613lKFDq
— Lee Smith (@LeeSmithDC) May 5, 2020
Trump needs to keep the heat on these people. If he can accomplish one more thing as President, win or lose in 2020, it needs to be fully reforming these politicized, corrupt agencies that have chosen themselves as arbiters of American policy via the shadows. It’s all incredibly dangerous and has to be stopped.