United States Intelligence Chief James Clapper Rejects Trump Attack
Donald Trump is the first American President Elect in the history of United States since the inception of our covert intelligence agencies that is entering office with an openly hostile relationship with US Intelligence. Up until last night night, Trump had repeatedly sided with Russia’s denial of hacking interference in our election despite repeated assertions by our intelligence community to the contrary. Even in the face of members of his own party in Congress, even past campaign surrogates having acknowledged the Russian hacking and having supported President Obama in the actions he took to hold them accountable for their actions; Trump shrugged off the Russian cyber attack in favor of the opinion of Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) and Russia’s denial.
While on one hand Trump finally admitted Russian interference (albeit rather tepidly), in the same press conference, he attacked US Intelligence as being in league with the media and his opponents to discredit him with regard to the leaks of the security briefing documents that alleged Russian operatives containing compromising information on the President Elect. Now in addition to the media conspiring against him, Donald Trump has added his own intelligence agencies that he will rely on to make national security and military decisions, to his list anti-Trump conspirators.
The circumstances are so troubling and unusual, that IC Chief James Clapper made an unprecedented statement last night asserting that while the leaks are regrettable and not in the best interests of our country, that the intelligence community played no role in the leaks. Under normal circumstances, the American public virtually never hears from the intelligence community. And rightfully so, as the IC is comprised of covert agencies tasked with gathering information in the best interests of national security.
First we have a President Elect fostering distrust of our media and now there is a deliberate attempt to incite distrust of our own intelligence agencies? As American citizens, we should give serious pause to what the implications of these actions are. If this trend continues – and there is no current indication that it is poised to cease – information shared no matter how authentic that may not reflect well on the future POTUS will lead to the providers of such information being added to Trump’s growing list of undesirables.
At its core, this speaks of an elected leader that exhibits both paranoia and an inability to tolerate criticism or anything shows him in a negative light for that matter. Whether it is satire from a late night comedy show, a union president pointing out his distortion of the truth about Carrier, or an actress criticizing him on an award show, Trump reacts by immediately attacking their careers and character.
Even more disturbing, the unwavering faithful of President Elect Trump take his attacks and run with them, some whipped up into such a frenzy that they resort to abysmal rhetoric on social media and have even resorted to issuing death threats to those that dare state anything negative about their beloved leader. Whether it was appropriate or not for Meryl Streep to use her Golden Globes award acceptance as a platform as a means to criticize the President Elect, one of the points she made was nonetheless true: that attacking and bullying from a position of power, none greater than the American President, sets the example that it is acceptable to behave in this manner. To be sure, many of Trump’s most avid supporters, every day, decent Americans many of whom no one would ever think would be capable of such hateful rhetoric aimed at Trump dissenters, have not only followed his example, but upped the ante.
The question now remains, will Trump use his power to suppress the IC once he is able to install his own people. Will their employment be predicated upon their refusal to acknowledge intelligence that may disagree with a Trump assertion, a Trump foreign policy, or worse, may expose major policy decisions being motivated by creating favor for his international business interests?