This seems like a grand, awful idea.
Right up Donald Trump’s alley.
According to the Wall Street Journal, so perturbed is he with the U.S. intelligence community pointing the finger at Russia as the source behind the hack into Democrat emails, that President-elect Trump is working with his advisers to “restructure and pare back” the CIA.
That’s right. What we need in this country is less intelligence and protection.
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 Russia stole emails from Democratic groups and individuals and then provided them to WikiLeaks for publication 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 CIA declined to comment.
“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized,” said the individual, who is close to the Trump transition. “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”
It’s no secret that Trump has a total man-crush on Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he now is singing the praises of Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks.
This is the same Assange Trump suggested the death penalty for in 2010.
My how times change, and all it takes to get on Trump’s good side is to suck up to him.
Not every Republican lawmaker is on board with the Assange lovefest, however.
“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.”
But for Mr. Trump and some supporters, the accusations that Russia hacked Democrats are seen as an effort to delegitimize his election.
Because it’s all about him, and he would rather eliminate some of those pesky intelligence agencies, or at least cripple them to the point that they’re ineffective, if something they uncover points back at him in a less than positive light.
Mr. Trump’s advisers say he has long been skeptical of the CIA’s accuracy, and the president-elect often mentions faulty intelligence in 2002 and 2003 concerning Iraq’s weapons programs. But his public skepticism about the Russia assessments has jarred analysts accustomed to more cohesion with the White House.
Top officials at U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, have said Russia orchestrated the computer attacks on the Democratic Party last year. President Barack Obama ordered the intelligence agencies to produce a report on the hacking operation, and he is expected to be presented with the findings on Thursday.
Russia has long denied any involvement in the hacking operation, though Mr. Putin has said releasing the stolen emails was a public service.
The heads of the CIA, Federal Bureau of Investigation and DNI James Clapper are scheduled to brief Mr. Trump on the findings on Friday. Mr. Trump tweeted late Tuesday that this meeting had been delayed and suggested that the agencies still needed time to “build a case” against Russia. White House officials said Mr. Trump will be briefed on the hacking report as soon as it is ready.
Helping Trump in this ill-advised venture will be retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, who has been tapped to fill the role of National Security Adviser, and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Trump’s choice for CIA Director.
Current and former intelligence and law-enforcement officials have reacted with a mix of bafflement and outrage to Mr. Trump’s continuing series of jabs at U.S. spies.
“They are furious about it,” said one former senior intelligence official, adding that a retinue of senior officials who thought they would be staying on in a Hillary Clinton administration now are re-evaluating their plans following Mr. Trump’s election.
“It’s pretty horrifying to me that he’s siding with Assange over the intelligence agencies,” one former law-enforcement official said.
Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA who retired in 2005, said he was disturbed by Mr. Trump’s tweets and feared much of the intelligence community’s assessments could be filtered through Gen. Flynn.
“I’m rather pessimistic,” he said. “This is indeed disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies, coupled with his habits on how he absorbs information and so on that don’t provide a lot of hope for change.”
And here is the crux.
Donald Trump is entering the office of the presidency and allowing his ego to dictate national security.
This will not end well.
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