Fusion GPS’s mouthpiece and energetic purveyor of the Russia hoax Natasha Bertrand teams up with Kyle Cheney, Politico’s transcriptionist for Congressional Democrat talking points to lay out a roadmap for how an incoming Biden administration will revitalize and reenergize the intelligence community. Not only do they fail to make their point, but they also end up making a very, very strong case for why a second Trump administration should go after the existing IC staff with a demolition saw.
Here are some of their main points.
Trump is not engrossed by intelligence.
President Donald Trump was in the middle of receiving a highly classified briefing on Afghanistan at his New Jersey golf club when he suddenly craved a malted milkshake.
“Does anyone want a malt?” he asked the senior defense and intelligence officials gathered around him, an august group that included the head of the CIA’s Special Activities Center, which is responsible for covert operations and paramilitary operations. “We have the best malts, you have to try them,” Trump insisted, as he beckoned a waiter into the room where code-word classified intelligence was being discussed.
The malt episode, which took place a few months after Trump took office in 2017, became legendary inside the CIA, said three former officials. It was seen as an early harbinger of Trump’s disinterest in intelligence, which would later be borne out by the new president’s notorious resistance to reading his classified daily briefing, known as the PDB, and his impatience with the briefers, current and former officials said.
Biden Loves him some intelligence.
Blinken recalled Biden telling him in February 2017, shortly after leaving office, that the thing he missed most about being vice president was receiving the PDB every morning.
“He said he felt so connected to what was going on around the world thanks to the PDB, and that losing that connection felt like a real void,” Blinken said. “I think that is evidence of the basic value he placed on the work of the intelligence community, because the PDB is of course their most important product.”
Intelligence is either used to inform decisions, or it is useless, and perhaps dangerous, prattle. What evidence is there during Biden’s eight years in the White House that him feeling a “connection” with his personal copy of the PDB did jack-sh** for the nation. Under Trump, ISIS has been reduced to a nuisance, Russian adventurism which was at its apogee under the Obama-Biden regime, Iran was becoming the dominant regional power, Chinese rapaciousness was unchecked, and the Middle East seemed as intractable as ever. Why, because guys like Joe Biden and Barack Obama and the failed author guy…I forget his name…and the woman who set a record for lying on Sunday shows…who was she again?… used intelligence like a dorm bullsh** session between freshmen Poli-Sci majors. The Trump administration has used intelligence to inform operations and policies that have greatly improved America’s strategic position in most theaters of operations.
The critique about Trump getting bored as intelligence weenies drone on and on is repeatedly trotted out as some kind of killer criticism. I think the problem is really one of many intelligence people being unable to answer the “so what?” question. What, if anything, does the intelligence presented have to do with the United States’ strategic or political objectives, or is it just the IC engaging in onanism over all the cool stuff they know?
The intelligence community is feeling unloved.
Trump’s actions, and the endless partisan battles over the Russia probe and impeachment, have left the intelligence community bruised and battered…It’s a sentiment seldom heard from Trump, who has instilled a sense in some intelligence professionals that they have to be careful not to present information that might conflict with his political agenda. He fired the former acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, earlier this year for allowing a subordinate to brief lawmakers on Russia’s interference in 2020. And there’s been “tip-toeing” around Congress among analysts and briefers wary of their findings getting back to the president, as one former senior intelligence official put it — particularly in the presence of staunch Trump ally and Gang of 8 member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
There are a couple of different threads here.
The Intelligence Community actively promoted the idea of Russian interference in the 2016 election that was solely focused on electing President Trump. We know that is not true, and virtually everyone knew from the start that the Russians wanted a deeply corrupt and wildly incompetent Hillary Clinton to be president because she was compromised and because her inclination was to give the Russians whatever they wanted. This goes back to the infamous “reset” of relations with Russia, the annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s use as our proxy to negotiate a pseudo treaty with Iran. In short, the IC voluntarily entered into a political campaign on the side of the loser. After the loss, the IC continued to feed the Russia Hoax. Ultimately, it joined forces with Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, changed the rules on what constituted a “whistleblower” report, and helped kick off President Trump’s impeachment. They should feel battered and bruised. They have proven themselves to be actively disloyal to the president, and he would be something of a moron if he trusted their advice.
A second point is that no one in the IC should be giving anyone in Congress information that they have withheld from the president, and none of the conversations they have had with the president should be revealed or characterized. If anyone is afraid of their finding “getting back to the president,” that is a sign that they should be looking for other employment.
What the IC apparently wants is to be independent of all supervision and all responsibility. Good work if you can get it. They want to hedge their bets, so they are never wrong no matter what advice they give. The IC is a political machine that exists to perpetuate itself.
Biden’s solution to soothing the chaffed and scratched nether regions of the IC is to fire anyone Trump appointed, hire anyone who Trump fired, send lots of cash, and constantly praise them in public. That’s not a strategy that will serve national interests, but it will ensure that Fusion Natasha and her ilk write lots of laudatory stories on Joe Biden if he is elected. Let’s hope we don’t have to deal with that.