"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, January 06, 2017

Trump vs. US

Reading through the news this morning, I had a thought: what could make Putin happier than crippling the U.S. intelligence establishment?

Let's start with Trump dismissing intelligence reports that he apparently, from all evidence, has not seen. He'd rather put his confidence in Julian Assange (which position he's now furiously backing away from). My reading is that he wants to sweep Russian involvement in throwing the election as far under the carpet as possible, despite the fact that US intelligence has caught high Russian officials high-fiving each other over Trump's win.

So now he's developed this relationship with the American intelligence community that can only be described as "adversarial." This sort of sums it up, if a bit snarkily:

Priess says the intelligence community will continue to try to adapt to the new president, and suggests “at one extreme that could mean producing the President’s Daily Brief in the form of tweet-length analysis. If the president prefers to have judgments expressed in easy-to-digest short form, that’s doable, and there is precedent for that.”

But then, someone has to get him to read them, and we know that doesn't necessarily happen (especially if the president is preoccupied with making a deal for a new resort development in say, the Crimea). Remember 9/11? There was ample warning of that.

And it seems that mere public criticism isn't enough:

"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," The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night. "The move is prompted by his belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized, these people said."

The Journal added, "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."

And under the heading "Lame Excuses":

The president-elect, who has been nervously tweeting more frequently in the past days, Thursday morning posted tweets claiming he has only been posting statements from Julian Assange to help "the people" decide what's the truth – a ridiculous and irresponsible excuse akin to a climate change denier or evolution denier insisting there are two sides to the already scientifically settled arguments.

I never thought I'd be one to defend the CIA, but much as I distrust them, we need them.

This is not going unnoticed or unremarked, even in the Senate (even though Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing his best to keep the lid on it):

Senator McCaskill, who thankfully won her seat in 2012, is up for reelection in a very red state, so her voice is something we cannot take for granted. Unless, however, Democrats get off their butts and mobilize like the Tea Party did in 2010, 2018 could mean a 4th Reich for America. McCaskill wants answers, as do most people who prefer the facts.

SEN. MCCASKILL: Who actually is the benefactor of someone who is about to become commander-in-chief trashing the intelligence community?

I assume that the biggest benefactors of the American people having less confidence in the intelligence community fact that the actors you have named today: Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and ISIS. . . .

The notion that the soon elected leader of this country would put Julian Assange on a pedestal compared to the men and women of the intelligence community and the military that is so deeply embedded in the intelligence community, I think it should bring about a hue and cry no matter whether you're Republican or a Democrat. There should be howls! And mark my word if the roles were reversed their would be HOWLS from the Republican side.

Others are not being so gentle:

Malcolm Nance✔

We must finally admit Trump is openly giving aid & comfort to a foreign intelligence agency & a cybercriminal. He is 1 step away fm treason.
1:27 PM - 4 Jan 2017

2,816 2,816 Retweets

I may update this as I run across more info.

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