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Trump planning revamp of top U.S. spy agency in wake of Obama politicization

Reasonable people should not oppose streamlining and improving intelligence operations

(NationalSentinel) It’s no secret that President-elect Donald J. Trump has been critical of recent U.S. intelligence reports and assessments, particularly those that have claimed Russia “hacked” the U.S. election by allegedly seizing data from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton–to hurt her and help him.

Now, it seems, with the assistance of his top advisors, he is planning an overhaul and paring of the nation’s top spy agency, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, created by the Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

President-elect Donald Trump, a harsh critic of U.S. intelligence agencies, is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency, people familiar with the planning said, prompted by a belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized.

The planning comes as Mr. Trump has leveled a series of social media attacks in recent months and the past few days against U.S. intelligence agencies, dismissing and mocking their assessment that the Russian government hacked emails of Democratic groups and individuals and then leaked them last year to WikiLeaks and others in an effort to help Mr. Trump win the White House.

One of the people familiar with Mr. Trump’s planning said advisers also are working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world.

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” said the individual, who is close to the Trump transition operation. “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

In our view, Trump has plenty of reason to suspect politicization of the nation’s top spy agencies, given the obvious politicization of other government agencies including the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Not only has there been no real evidence provided regarding the alleged Russian hacking, but:

  • There has been, and continues to be, major disagreement among intelligence pros regarding the quality of the “intelligence assessment” blaming the Russians, including between intelligence agencies.

And doesn’t there have to be something wrong with the intelligence bureaucracy at least, given the fact that there were major warning signs regarding former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that he may be a security risk, only to be ignored by the NSA and FBI?

Naturally, the political establishment–the same one rejected soundly by the American people Nov. 8–is critical of Trump. Failed presidential contender Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who never secured more than a half-percent of the tally when he ran for the GOP nomination for a few months–is one of the most vocal.

“We have two choices: some guy living in an embassy on the run from the law…who has a history of undermining American democracy and releasing classified information to put our troops at risk, or the 17 intelligence agencies sworn to defend us,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). “I’m going with them.”

That is, of course, disingenuous, as it establishes a political straw man: Assange. It should be noted that Assange only released information he was provided, he didn’t create it. What’s more, Trump and his advisors are not suggesting that the rank-and-file men and women of the U.S. intelligence community are at fault here, only the top leadership, who are, of course, politically selected by the president. Finally, Graham doesn’t address the fact that the U.S. may very well have been acting outside the law in conducting a number of intelligence operations over the years he is referencing, and that the released documents merely proved it.

The WSJ story also focuses heavily on Trump’s tweets–about a number of subjects, including the intelligence assessments. This focus on his use of social media is an attempt, once again, to portray Trump as a wild man, out of control of his emotions and, of course, unstable. The mainstream media still doesn’t understand that this is how the man communicates; because he doesn’t use the traditional routes (press spokespersons, statements, etc.) he must be out of his mind.

Sure…like a fox.

What’s more, a number of Republican lawmakers have, in the past, proposed exactly what Trump is proposing, but nothing happened because, well, politics. Per the WSJ:

Many Republicans have proposed cutting the ODNI before, but this has proven hard to do in part because its mission centers are focused on core national security issues, such as counterterrorism, nuclear proliferation, and counterintelligence.

The fact is the ODNI is a political, largely bureaucratic, position. The director serves partly in an oversight role and partly as a clearinghouse of intelligence from the various civilian and military intelligence agencies for the president. And there are careerists within the intelligence world, just as there are throughout the federal bureaucracy, who, no doubt, are no fans of Trump.

 

The WSJ report seems geared towards ginning up more distrust and fear over Trump. But given the president-elect’s demonstrated abilities to get things done even before he takes office, as well as his choice of advisors and Cabinet selections, it is just pure folly to assume, as Graham and other detractors are, that Trump is willfully attempting to harm U.S. national security (and help Russia, all at the same time). He seems interested in accomplishing two things: 1) De-politicizing the intelligence community at the top; and 2) ensuring a more efficient and effective intelligence-gathering and processing apparatus.

To us, it sounds like anyone who is against those reforms are the real impediments to national security.

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