One week before his inauguration, President-elect Trump was dealt an irresponsible, “warped and self-destructive” blow by the CIA and its allies in the media.
This conclusion was reached by Glenn Greenwald, in The Intercept.
Greenwald was quick to point out that the “serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There is a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combating those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience”.
But, as Greenwald also noted, “cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive”. . .
This subversion involved the granting of official credence to a salacious, unsubstantiated document by a former British MI6 operative which claimed to have proof of conduct in a hotel room by President-elect Trump while he was in Moscow.
The document, which became known as the Trump dossier, originated from “opposition research” funded by enemies of Trump, first by Republicans who opposed his nomination, and then by Democrats who wanted him to lose to Hillary Clinton.
The salacious document, Greenwald writes, “was just an anonymous claim unaccompanied by any evidence or any specifics.”
Of course, the anonymous claim was of a sexual nature. Sex and violence are media’s bread and butter.
The document was circulated through unofficial channels during the presidential race, but on Thursday, January 12, it received a guaranteed ticket to public attention. Greenwald wrote:
At some point last week, the chiefs of the intelligence agencies decided to declare that this ex-British intelligence operative was ‘credible’ enough that his allegations warranted briefing both Trump and Obama about them, thus stamping some sort of vague, indirect, and deniable official approval on these accusations.
What prompted this move from the dark corners of rumor and innuendo, to the glaring sunlight of media attention? Why did the salacious document become sufficiently “credible”?
If you want to believe “the chiefs of the [American] intelligence agencies”, the document was moving so rapidly through social media and other internet channels, that it was necessary to brief both Trump and President Obama.
The intelligence chiefs thus stamped “some sort of vague, indirect and deniable official approval” on what could be pure fiction conjured by a retired British spy now doing political dirty work.
Or, the spy’s document may be rooted in reality. Take your choice. Give it credence, or not. But remember, if there are video or written proofs of the alleged hotel hanky-panky, it has yet to surface or be verified.
So here we are, one week before the inauguration, and our next president is being harassed by unsubstantiated allegations of sexual conduct in Moscow. The harassment continues in the unholy alliance between intelligence agencies and media outlets, initially BuzzFeed and CNN.
What could be behind that alliance? Greenwald offers his answer:
It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it.
Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation.
In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decades-long international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump — through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction — posed a threat to it.
What changed was the intelligence community’s resolution to cause this all to become public and to be viewed as credible.
Greenwald opened his piece on the CIA and Trump by recalling the farewell January, 1961 address by outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower. He wrote:
Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy:
‘In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’
That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.
This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as ‘Fake News.’
Greenwald traces the arc along which this “Fake News” traveled from the former spy’s oppo research document to the intelligence agencies and then to the decision by those agencies to brief Obama and Trump.
Once the spy’s document reached the current and next president, Greenwald writes:
Someone — by all appearances, numerous officials — then went to CNN to tell the network they had done this, causing CNN to go on air and, in the gravest of tones, announce the “Breaking News” that “the nation’s top intelligence officials” briefed Obama and Trump that Russia had compiled information that “compromised President-elect Trump.”. . .
Was the decision to give a vague form of “credibility” to the Trump dossier, well-intentioned? I doubt it. The intelligence agencies have made what they may consider part of their assignment: Alert the nation on the character of the president-elect.
Is this their governmental role? Wikipedia offers this official definition of the task of the intelligence agencies:
Intelligence is information that agencies collect, analyze, and distribute in response to government leaders’ questions and requirements. Intelligence is a broad term that entails:
Collection, analysis, and production of sensitive information to support national security leaders, including policymakers, military commanders, and Members of Congress.
Safeguarding these processes and this information through counterintelligence activities.
Execution of covert operations approved by the President. The IC strives to provide valuable insight on important issues by gathering raw intelligence, analyzing that data in context, and producing timely and relevant products for customers at all levels of national security—from the war-fighter on the ground to the President in Washington.
Does the deliberate release of negative data on the President-elect during this transition period, fall within that mandate?
That is a question we must all answer honestly. This is no time for lazy, partisan, biased thinking.
Intense dislike of Trump is not an excuse to merely sanction the actions by our intelligence agencies because we do not like Trump.
Glenn Greenwald is not a lazy thinker. He closed his piece with these words of caution:
There are solutions to Trump. They involve reasoned strategizing and patient focus on issues people actually care about. Whatever those solutions are, venerating the intelligence community, begging for its intervention, and equating its dark and dirty assertions as Truth are most certainly not among them.
Doing that cannot possibly achieve any good and is already doing much harm.
President-elect Trump was elected as our 45th President. He deserves careful scrutiny, and unwavering attention. His public persona is new to the White House. We cannot avoid noticing what he says and how he says it.
Donald Trump will soon be our president. He deserves a fair judgment on what he does once he is in office.