“Intelligence free Intelligence” by Clay Jones

The United States is facing a new threat that the new Director of National Intelligence needs to identify, and that threat is the new Director of National Intelligence.

Donald Trump likes to use the phrase, “I never was a fan of…” in regards to some person or some thing. Like, “I never was a big fan of John McCain.” You can replace McCain with basically anyone who criticizes Trump, like fellow Republican Mark Sanford or former Republican Justin Amash. But, one thing Donald Trump truly is not a fan of are facts.

Trump will dismiss facts as “fake news” or lies if he doesn’t like them. If they threaten his approval or contradict past statements, facts become “fake news.” Even if a fact that Trump doesn’t approve of reveals a danger to the country, he would rather dismiss it than protect the nation he swore an oath to protect. Dogma has infected this presidential administration to the point that it resembles the Kim regime. Formerly independent positions in vital government agencies are now being staffed by cronies and Kool-Aid drinkers with all the seriousness and credibility of a Kellyanne Conway or a Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Out went Tillerson, McMasters, and Mattis. Now, we can add Dan Coats to the list.

When Donald Trump hired Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, he probably didn’t understand what the job entailed and took someone else’s advice on the hire. After two and a half years of Coats being stubbornly honest about Russian attacks on our nation , stating that inviting Vladimir Putin to the White House was NOT a good idea, and not serving as a lackey yes man, Trump has had enough.

Just like Trump did with the Justice Department by placing a toady, William Barr, at the head of it, Trump has now put a loyalist in charge of national intelligence. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe is a conspiracy-minded Trump cultist who believes in the “Deep State,” Russian interference is a conspiracy theory, and that Robert Mueller’s investigation was a “witch hunt.” Basically, Donald Trump has removed intelligence from national intelligence.

In appointing Ratcliffe, Trump spelled out what he wants the cultist to do, and that is to clean out the intelligence services of anyone who participated in collecting information about Russia and Trump. Trump said, “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in because as I think you’ve all learned the intelligence agencies have run amok.” Trump has now politicized the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies. About the only way he could have made a worse hire would have been if he hired Ivanka to lead the agencies. At least he doesn’t want to date Ratcliffe. That would be awkward.

In January 2018, Ratcliffe claimed he saw text messages between FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok that suggested there was a “secret society” working against Trump. That turned out to be bogus when the full-text messages became public. But, Ratcliffe ignored the facts and reported what Trump wanted to hear.

During Mueller’s testimony before Congress, Ratcliffe put on a performance that got Trump’s attention and probably swung the intelligence appointment in his favor. He berated Mueller for not “exonerating” Trump and said the second volume of Mueller’s report, which showed obstruction by Trump, was not authorized to be written.

Ratcliffe has argued that Russian interference may have helped Hillary Clinton and that Mueller didn’t even write his report, but that it was actually written by “Hillary Clinton’s de fact legal team.” At this point, I’m kinda surprised he’s not Trump’s physician.

It has to be his performance during Mueller’s testimony that got him the job because it can’t be his qualifications. It appears he embellished his resume. It’s not clear he has any actual experience prosecuting or investigating terrorism cases, though he’s claimed he’s “put terrorists in prison.” He only held the post of U.S. attorney in Texas on an interim basis for about a year. McGruff the Crime Dog would have been a better hire and he’s entirely fictional. But then again, why would a criminal hire someone who actually wants to take a bite out of crime.

When CIA director Gina Haspel and Dan Coats testified before Congress about Russian interference, that Iran was abiding by the nuclear treaty, and that climate change was a national security threat, Trump said they should “go back to school.” In Ratcliffe, he’s found a lackey who can’t even find the school.

Trump’s toad in the Justice Department is already investigating the intelligence agencies over “partisan motives” in initiating the investigation into Russian interference. How dare they investigate the bad guys. Trump has also given Barr permission to allow Devin Nunes, another favorite Congressional henchman of his, access to declassified information related to the investigation with the idea that all of it was a “coup attempt” (I still don’t understand how replacing Trump with Mike Pence is a coup, unless Pence overthrows Trump).

This is where the danger comes in.

It’s said that the president is the number one customer of intelligence (HA!). But there are other consumers of the briefings, such as secretary of state, defense secretary, national security advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff, FBI director, etc. So, even if the number one customer isn’t interested in the product, the other customers will at least see it and can act on it. With a director of national intelligence who will also dismiss actual threats because they’ll make the president grumpy, the real dangers and intelligence may not ever make it out of his office to be read by anyone else. This fealty to Donald Trump is an actual danger to the nation.

Anyone with intelligence knows Donald Trump is a national security threat. Now that he’s purging the adults from his administration, all his hires are national security threats too.

Clay Jones

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The Yucatan Times