Trump can’t stand our intelligence community, it seems. He spends a lot of time attacking them on Twitter while expressing absolute, unwavering trust in both Russia and Julian Assange (because we all know that our intelligence agencies know nothing at all compared to Russia and Assange). Since their conclusions that Russia hacked the DNC and worked to influence our election make him look bad, he’s got a plan for how to deal with them.
And it’s not good.
It’s an overhaul, which may or may not be needed, but what his team wants to do is shrink these agencies because they’re “bloated and politicized.” Yeah, politicized because they aren’t bowing and scraping before the almighty Cheeto king. They aren’t saying what he wants, so obviously they’re engaged in some elaborate plot specifically designed to delegitimize and undermine his election victory.
One focus of this overhaul will be the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was created in 2004 after we learned just how awful the intelligence failures that led up to 9-11 were. The Office’s mission is to coordinate communication between agencies, and it’s heavily focused on things like counterterrorism, counterintelligence and nuclear proliferation. That makes it hard to justify gutting, or even paring back.
But gut it he will, if he can, because they aren’t working to improve his image and strengthen opinions of his victory.
The ODNI isn’t the only target of Trump’s ire. He’s blasted the CIA, and made it clear he doesn’t trust them or their conclusions either. This plan to deal with intelligence agencies that make him look like a paranoid lunatic of a buffoon also includes shrinking the CIA and pushing more of their remaining personnel out into field offices.
All of this seems to be more of a revenge tactic than a plan laid out in true belief that there are serious problems with our intelligence agencies. And the intelligence community is livid about it. One official actually said:
“It’s a sad day when politicians place more stock in (Russian President Vladimir Putin and (WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange than in the Americans who risk their lives daily to provide objective, non-partisan intelligence analysis.”
They clearly didn’t get the memo that states non-partisan intelligence analysis is a secondary concern to making Trump look like the smartest, most bestest leader on the planet.
If anything Trump and his team manage to do results in another intelligence failure that harms us and/or our allies, it will be on his head. We have a president who’s more concerned about looking good, strong and smart than he is about actually helping keep us safe. Good luck with that, “sir.”
Featured image by Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images