Trump v. US ‘intelligence’ agencies

I’m sure it’s been said before that US Intelligence is an oxymoron. They have somewhere around 20 intelligence agencies for a start (including the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the armed forces), with conflicting jurisdictions, and with rivalries and a lack of systems that prevents comprehensive consolidation of intelligence.

US intelligence agencies have long clashed with their democracy, notably in the Nixon era. Recently Director James Comey inserted the FBI into the presidential election, quite possibly swinging the result.

There have been controversial claims by multiple intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the presidential election, and that Donald trump’s campaign team had ongoing contact with Russian interests.

And now that Trump is president things seem to be getting worse, with ongoing leaks from intelligence agencies that conflict with and and undermine the presidency.

There are some claims that intelligence agencies won’t tell Trump things for fear of their methods being passed on to Russia.

Salon covers much of this in Trump vs. the Deep State: This death match of American political power will forever change history -President Trump escalates his battle with the U.S security apparatus.

The firing of Gen. Michael Flynn has popularized the concept of the “Deep State” across the political spectrum.

Breitbart’s Joel Pollak attacks the disloyal “Deep State #Resistance” to President Trump, while conservative pundit Bill Kristol defends it.

“Obviously [I] strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics,” Kristol tweeted Tuesday. “But if it comes to it, [I] prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

Glenn Greenwald is more even-handed: “Trump presidency is dangerous,” the Intercept columnist tweeted Wednesday. “CIA/Deep State abuse of spy powers to subvert elected Govt is dangerous.”

And the conflict is deepening. The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump wants to bring in Wall Street billionaire Stephen Feinberg “to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies.”

The idea is reportedly provoking “fierce resistance” from intelligence officials who fear it “could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.”

They describe ‘Deep State’:

The Deep State is shorthand for the nexus of secretive intelligence agencies whose leaders and policies are not much affected by changes in the White House or the Congress. While definitions vary, the Deep State includes the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the armed forces.

The leaders of these agencies are generally disturbed by Trump’s cavalier treatment of their intelligence findings and particularly worried about contacts between Trump’s entourage and Russian intelligence officials.

There are known facts plus many claims and accusations that are at least partially unsubstantiated.

As Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire noted, the undisputed facts are accumulating:

  • Multiple U.S. intelligence services believe that Russian operatives, at Putin’s directions, tried to help Trump get elected. The FBI is investigating contacts between Russian officials and at least three people connected to Trump’s presidential campaign: Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
  • There were “continuous” contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence officials. At least some of the claims made in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official have been confirmed, though none of the more salacious details.
  • Trump has had many financial dealings with Russian oligarchs, as shown in an investigation by the American Interest.

As a result, the intelligence agencies are withholding sources and methods from the president out of fear they will leak to foreign powers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Senior officials are also leaking the results of the ongoing investigation into Trump to reporters at The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The leaking of classified information, which Trump welcomed during the 2016 campaign, is indeed a felonious violation of the law, although it has been standard procedure for Washington power players since the passage of the National Security Act in 1947.

It is a serious threat to US democracy, and a serious threat to Trump’s presidency:

Vanity Fair calls the crisis of Trump’s presidency Watergate 2.0. The historical analogy is apt because the Watergate scandal that engulfed President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s was also a struggle between the White House and the intelligence agencies. But today’s crisis is more accurately described as Trump vs. the Deep State.

It is the death match of American political power and it will determine the fate of Trump’s troubled presidency.

It could be said that Trump is a serious threat to his presidency and to the US, but his clash with ‘Deep State’ is particularly ugly, and is likely to make more of a mess of US democracy.

More on ‘Deep State’:

28 Comments

  1. Nelly Smickers

     /  February 21, 2017

    *Chuck* in LA tweets….

  2. NOEL

     /  February 21, 2017

    I’ve no concerns with them leaving off the source material for the daily brief.
    Probably first President it’s happened to but hey can he be trusted not to Tweet them the way he rushes to repeat Fox.

  3. Once the rest of that Islamobama scum are out of th place it should all tighten up.
    Thew biggest leaks in USA hsitory were the Clinton e,mails.

  4. Can the Deep State ( or unelected bureaucrats ) save USA from Trump?

    Probably not says Slate

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/11/can_the_secret_government_save_us_from_donald_trump.html

  5. I am a tad tired with the crap that people are posting about Trump, US Intelligence Agencies, and collusion with Russia by Trump or official agencies of his administration. Some real facts. When you brief any person in an intelligence brief, you must assess the extent of the “need to know” about the intelligence. Remember that Intelligence is the processed information collected from the range of intelligence indicators prepared by the conclusions of an Intelligence Appreciation. Sources are graded by their authenticity and probable truth so A1 is wholly trusted and wholly believable and F7 id unknown source of unknown believability. So, even the President does not get the identity of the source, unless he can demonstrate a “need to know” who the source is.
    Now, what evidence is there of collusion between Trump and Russia, or Trumps Administration and Russia. According to the FBI and several other unspecified US Intel agencies , the answer is, nil, zip or tidak ada. There is only speculation from Democratic supporters or politicians, Democratic aligned Media, and intellectually disadvantaged speculators.
    The FBI have made a statement that is not being publicised:
    “As the smoke cleared after Hillary Clinton’s surprise upset by Donald Trump, liberals, true to form, avoided the hard truths that their candidate was corrupt or unlikable or that voters were tired of Obama’s policies, or, all of the above, in exchange for a desperate search for a more satisfying explanation.

    For a while, and this was shared by the shell-shocked Clintons, the culprit who put Trump over the top was FBI director James Comey, who in the waning days of the campaign “deliberately” and “unfairly” dealt Hillary a death blow by announcing that he was re-opening the Bureau’s investigation of the allegedly classified nature of the Democratic candidate’s private emails.

    Even though Comey called off the investigation before election day–and was praised at the time by Clintonistas for “doing his duty”–liberals after Clinton’s loss resumed their attacks on the FBI director as some kind of heavy lifter for the Trump campaign.

    Lately, however, Comey and his supposed Trump-sympathizing FBI has been dropped off the liberal radar screen in favor of a more serviceable and more politically satisfying narrative: that the Putin-plaything Trump was put into office by Russian hacking.

    From Al Sharpton to Chuck Schumer—if you consider that a leap– the message is that Putin loved Trump, hated Clinton and thus put in the candidate most favorable to the Russian’s dark designs. This affords liberals a two-pronged narrative: that Trump has treasonous ties to Russia and that the president was not elected by the democratic process.

    Hence, Sharpton speaks for all liberals when he declares that Trump is “not a legitimate president because of the Russian thing.”

    Even before the election, Democrat Harry Reid was readying up this narrative. Less than a month before the election Reid claimed that the FBI had information that the Russians were hacking the election, or were preparing to.

    Liberals, opposed to the CIA when it is under Republican administrations, expressed joy back in December when the agency allegedly told lawmakers that the Russians may indeed have hacked the election.

    Last month a new addition to the narrative appeared in which intelligence agencies allegedly were so concerned about pro-Russian influences within the White House that they withheld classified information from the new president out of fears it would make it into Putin’s hands.

    The narrative seemed locked in place and was being readied for Democratic campaign use in their upcoming congressional elections.
    But Comey is back, however, and dashes yet again a Democratic narrative. And he brings such bad tidings that even the mainstream media can’t put a lid on it.
    Comey stunned America three times last year

    Guess Who Is Back?
    Liberals should have noticed him, even back during the high tide of their conspiracy theory when the CIA in December confirmed Russian hacking. In that same month, the FBI told lawmakers they disagreed with CIA’s assessment. CIA-FBI disagreements are common and can have everything to do with turf wars or simply attaching different meanings to sources and analysis. But in the partisan aftermath of 2016, who sided with either the CIA or FBI was based on party. The Democrats sided with the Agency because it gave them what they needed in their narrative, and blasted Comey because he was a danger to said narrative.

    Now Comey, supported by non-FBI intelligence officials, has concluded that thus far in the ongoing FBI investigation of Russian-Trump collusion, no evidence has come to light.”

    I thought some of you needed a wake up call, that there may be another narrative that just may be truthful. This is a Political War in the US where the entrenched capitalists and their liberal progressive socialists are trying to preserve their status and authenticity of their narrative as being the truth. They are being opposed by a large group of Americas who have traditional values, not liberal progressive who really care for their way of life.
    The story continues, be very careful as to what you read or hear and make your own minds up as to the truth. We Kiwis have the luxury of being observers at this stage!

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 21, 2017

    What are traditional values ? There are many versions of these. I imagine that these people delude themselves, as people do here, that there was a golden age when every family had two parents, there was virtually no crime, everyone was hardworking etc etc etc etc

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 21, 2017

      As some people do here.

      • patupaiarehe

         /  February 21, 2017

        I’ll rephrase that a little for you Kitty. Around forty years ago, when I was growing up, most families had two parents (of opposite genders), there was a lot less crime than today, and most fathers were in full-time employment. Still think I’m deluded?

        • PDB

           /  February 21, 2017

          Around 40 years ago New Zealand was in recession (76-78) – the economy shrunk 4% and unemployment leapt 125% whilst crime was rising at levels never seen before here – hardly the good ole days………also consider family violence, rape, child abuse, crimes against women etc would have been majorly under-reported back in those days.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  February 21, 2017

            I’m not saying it was perfect Pants, the road toll was a lot higher in those days too, thanks to a lax attitude towards seatbelts & drink driving. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but still managed to get 3 meals/day & pay the mortgage, on a tradesmans’ wage. Try doing that today in the main centres…

            • PDB

               /  February 21, 2017

              Just giving Kitty some support – I too grew up in a poor 1970s household but we got by…………but was that because we expected far less than today, were far more self-sufficient and proactive than today, were far less picky on what jobs/houses we had, and didn’t expect the govt to support us every step of our lives? Even on the Auckland outskirts you can still buy a decent affordable first home, problem is young people today think they are entitled to buy ‘affordable’ first homes in the central Auckland or North Shore. Those days are long gone.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 21, 2017

              Affordable? Hmmm…
              When one compares 2000AD house prices vs incomes, to those of today, they are FAR less affordable. Around here, anyway.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 21, 2017

              One could also argue that buying a house on the outskirts of AKL isn’t a good economic choice, given the high price of petrol.

            • PDB

               /  February 21, 2017

              I don’t disagree – but people need to lower their sights – the quarter acre dream is over in the big cities. In 1981 mortgage rates hit 17.5%! On the other side of the coin consumables etc are dirt cheap today. Back in the old days appliances for instance were hellishly expensive and had to be saved for months or years in order to purchase on the average wage.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 21, 2017

              I well remember the stress my folks went thru back in the 80’s, almost losing the house to those interest rates. Mum having to go to work as soon as Dad got home, then not getting home til late, just to pay the mortgage.

          • Nelly Smickers

             /  February 21, 2017

            The thing I remember most about the late 70’s early 80’s, was going to flash restaurants with mum n’ dad…..ordering things like *Oysters Kilpatrick* and *Surf & Turf*. Then hearing dad say, “I wonder what the poor people are eating?”

            LOL ❗

            • PDB

               /  February 21, 2017

              For us country folk eating in at Pizza hut in the late 1970s was a big & very rare occasion. Was really expensive from memory……..

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 21, 2017

              Lucky for some Nelly, I hope the oysters gave you ‘the runs’… 😛
              Takeaways used to be a special treat, had once a year if we were lucky.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 21, 2017

          I think, though, that we probably remember it as better than it was. The population was smaller, so there would be less crime-but NZ’s worst ever year for murders was in the 70s !

          I imagine that most families still have two parents. There were several divorced parents in my class. One of these was mine. The DPB came in then, so many women who had previously given the babies up for adoption or had shotgun weddings now didn’t have the need to do either.

          As the unemployment rate is quite low, most fathers are probably working. What has changed (I think, my memory may be at fault here) is the number of long-term unmarried relationships with children, like our former neighbours who must have been together at least 20 years.

          I was really suprised that the worst murder year was in the 70s.

          • PDB

             /  February 21, 2017

            Between the 1950’s and 1970’s murder in New Zealand tripled. The reason? A massive jump in urbanisation within the country.

            • Gezza

               /  February 21, 2017

              And all of these facts are being used by which one of the US intelligence agencies to undermine Trump’s presidency? 😳

            • PDB

               /  February 21, 2017

              Gotta go with the flow sometimes Gezza – the trip is always as important as the destination……..

            • Gezza

               /  February 21, 2017

              We seem to be tripping on nostalgia. I’m waiting till the one who lived in a shoebox in a hole in the road posts 😃

            • PDB

               /  February 21, 2017

              I’m still awaiting someone to confirm that Pizza hut in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s was an expensive ‘fine dining’ experience back then…….

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 21, 2017

              It was.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 21, 2017

              @Pants
              I still remember, in the late 80’s, driving to Rotorua McDonalds for a younger siblings’ birthday, & it being a big deal… 😀

  1. Trump v. US ‘intelligence’ agencies – NZ Conservative Coalition