Former CIA Official Wants to Treat Americans Like Al Qaeda Because Our Intel Agencies Are Terrible

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

This is apparently what passes as brilliant thought within our intelligence apparatus. The former head of the CIA’s counter-terrorism wing, Robert Grenier, provides an excellent illustration of why our intel agencies are so terrible, opining that the government should start treating Americans like Al Qaeda in the “war” against “domestic extremism.”

When it comes to domestic extremists such as those who stormed the Capitol, a longtime CIA officer argues that the U.S. should treat them as an insurgency.

That means using counterinsurgency tactics — similar in some ways to those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Robert Grenier served as the CIA’s station chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001. He went on to become the CIA’s Iraq mission manager and then director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2006.

“We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen,” Grenier wrote in The New York Times last week. And without national action, he argues, “extremists who seek a social apocalypse … are capable of producing endemic political violence of a sort not seen in this country since Reconstruction.”

What could possibly go wrong? Are we going to start droning Americans in America? I mean, I know Obama did it to citizens overseas without legal authority, but it’d be kind of weird to see it happen in Nashville or the like. Does Grenier think full-scale, counter-terrorism surveillance without a warrant is proper and needed? Maybe we can start by water-boarding that dude in the horns from the Capitol riot? I’m obviously being facetious because the idea of treating Americans like Al Qaeda, for any reason, is absolutely bonkers.

Every single time this topic comes up, there’s one overarching theme that emerges: More power.

These intel agencies are obsessed with living above the law and having their own separate tier of unaccountable government to dominate. The riot at the Capitol is just the latest excuse to try to take another bite out of the liberty of normal Americans. Further, they seek and push for that power without even the most basic care for what is actually constitutional and what’s clearly not. The current surveillance state has already pushed past those boundaries. The idea that we should go even deeper down that rabbit hole is a scary prospect, though one that is notably popular right now on the Left and among the foreign policy establishment.

Here’s an example of the hysteria that’s driving this.

We are now comparing 9/11, where 3,000 people died via direct, foreign aggression, to a riot carried out by some nutters. It’s just dumb, and it shows how many idiots populate our foreign policy establishment. Are we going to treat BLM riots this way as well? Somehow, I doubt it.

In reality, there’s simply no reason for any of what Grenier wants to happen. The Capitol riot was bad. It was also small-scale and was quelled within a few hours. Those involved are being arrested and charged. Meanwhile, the FBI’s pronouncement that all 50 state capitals were under threat turned out to be nonsense. That’s just one example of how intelligence gets politicized in order to keep a narrative alive. It would be a major, completely unjustified overreaction to now expand extra-judicial powers to go after American citizens.

You want to know why so many Americans don’t trust our institutions? It’s because of people like Grenier, and don’t kid yourself, he’s hardly alone.