S.O.S….S.O.S: Former American Intelligence Chief: “Our Institutions are Under Assault” by Trump

Former intel chief: “Our institutions are under assault” by Trump, reports Shareblue. And when a former intel chief says this, all sorts of alarm bell should be going off. America needs to be save. The cost of Trump assaulting America’s Institutions? The cost is both internal and globally. Internally, America is turning into a dystopia and globally, America’s leadership has been lost and America is a fallen country.

Intelligence analysis is critical for leadership, both internally and global.

With countries, this job is mostly left to the country’s various intelligence units to conduct and then the intelligence analysis is presented to the country’s leadership for consideration, in helping the leader, to lead the country. Obviously, Trump listens little to America’s intelligence community and is on and off, at war with the community and the community has fired back. This can only hurt America’s interest, as Trump is leading America with little intelligence analysis. Trump also has a bromance with Russia’s leader Putin, who hacked America’s 2016 election to help Trump, and a horde of Trump’s people, are close to the Russians. Putin is a brutal tyrant and the Russian intelligence units are helping Putin.

Wikipedia says Intelligence analysis is the application of individual and collective cognitive methods to weigh data and test hypotheses within a secret socio-cultural context.[1] The descriptions are drawn from what may only be available in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must correlate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Although its practice is found in its purest form inside national intelligence agencies, its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.

On Trump’s relation to America’s intelligence community, Wikipedia reports: In February 2017, reports emerged that key experts within the CIA were resigning because they would not work for U.S. President Donald Trump.[266] The Middle East Eye reported that two agents, Americans, who operated spy-rings within ISIS had resigned, because they did not want to see the contacts who worked for them sacrificed due to incompetence and anti-Muslim prejudice from within Trump’s inner circle. Edward Price, a CIA official since 2006, stirred controversy when he published an op-ed in the Washington Post, explaining why he surprised himself by resigning, after he perceived Trump using his visit to CIA HQ for partisan political posturing.[267][268][269][270][271][272][273]

This blog post includes three media report. One on the CIA knowing Russia interfered with the American election as early as 2016 summer. The two more on the CIA, former head, criticizing Trump. Shareblue reports with the headline: “Former intel chief: “Our institutions are under assault” by Trump” and another, by the Independent says: “Ex-CIA chief says Donald Trump is undermining intelligence efforts.” The articles are presented towards the end of this blog post.

If you are not familiar with the CIA, Wikipedia provides some info:

 The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet.

Unlike the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is a domestic security service, the CIA has no law enforcement function and is mainly focused on overseas intelligence gathering, with only limited domestic intelligence collection. Though it is not the only U.S. government agency specializing in HUMINT, the CIA serves as the national manager for coordination of HUMINT activities across the US intelligence community. Moreover, the CIA is the only agency authorized by law to carry out and oversee covert action at the behest of the President.[6][7][8][9] It exerts foreign political influence through its tactical divisions, such as the Special Activities Division.[10]

Before the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the CIA Director concurrently served as the head of the Intelligence Community; today, the CIA is organized under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Despite transferring some of its powers to the DNI, the CIA has grown in size as a result of the September 11 attacks. In 2013, The Washington Post reported that in fiscal year 2010, the CIA had the largest budget of all IC agencies, exceeding previous estimates.[3][11]

The CIA has increasingly expanded its role, including covert paramilitary operations.[3] One of its largest divisions, the Information Operations Center (IOC), has shifted focus from counter-terrorism to offensive cyber-operations.[12] While the CIA has had some recent accomplishments, such as locating Osama bin Laden and taking part in the successful Operation Neptune Spear, it has also been involved in controversial programs such as extraordinary rendition and torture.

Shareblue reports (source)

Former intel chief: “Our institutions are under assault” by Trump

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper pulled no punches when he told Jake Tapper that the our nation’s “institutions are under assault” by Donald Trump, whom he says is attacking our system of checks and balances.

Donald Trump’s actions of the past week are so outrageous that it is difficult to overstate them.

His firing of FBI Director James Comey, subsequent admission that the firing was due to Comey’s Russia probe, and his open threat of Comey to keep quiet were so brazenly despotic that it can be hard to find the right words to describe them. One former intelligence official managed to come close.

On CNN’s State of the Union, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper discussed the Russia investigation and the Comey firing with host Jake Tapper. Clapper first made a point to tell Tapper that his statements about not having seen evidence of collusion “should not be considered exculpatory,” despite Trump’s insistence to the contrary.

Tapper then asked Clapper to assess the Comey firing and Trump’s subsequent actions. Clapper was dire in his assessment:

TAPPER: This week, with the president firing the FBI director, this investigation is going on. And then saying that he was thinking about the Russia probe when he was making the decision. Have we crossed a line here?

CLAPPER: Well, I will just say that the developments of the past week very bothersome and disturbing to me. I think in many ways our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is Russian interference in our election system. And I think, as well, our institutions are under assault internally.

TAPPER: Internally from the president?

CLAPPER: Exactly.

TAPPER: Because he’s firing the checks and balances?

CLAPPER: Well, I think the founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances. And I feel as though that’s under assault.

Clapper’s declaration is as close as you’re likely to come to an accurate assessment of Trump’s actions this week, which are, themselves, the culmination of an administration that has thus far run on a cocktail of despotism and shamelessness.

Among the institutions under attack by Trump is the free press, which he recently threatened to cut off from daily briefings. The White House refused to make available any representative to appear on any of the Sunday morning shows to answer questions about the still developing scandals surrounding Comey’s firing.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the only Trump administration official offered to the Sunday shows, and he is far enough removed from the White House to be of no help in unraveling the current crisis. By hiding those administration officials who were involved in the Comey firing process, and the subsequent series of changing justifications for it, the White House sent a clear message about its unwillingness to answer for its decisions of the past week.

Our institutions — from the press to Congress to the FBI — must rise to this occasion the way the people and the courts have, and resist this attack on democracy itself.

 Independent reports (source)

Ex-CIA chief says Donald Trump is undermining intelligence efforts

A former spy chief has said President Trump is undermining the efforts of intelligence agencies. 

Michael Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W Bush and National Security Agency director under both he and President Clinton, penned an op-ed in the New York Times on the matter.

Mr Hayden wrote that it is “hard to imagine a more turbulent transition than the current one,” commenting that Mr Trump’s tweets using the word “intelligence” in quotes is “a kind of dog whistle” that devalues intelligence gathering efforts.

Accusing former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 election in a series of tweets was “outrageous”, according to Mr Hayden.

He also questioned why the Trump administration would “reflexively and punitively” place blame on 17 agencies and more than 100,000 workers that exist to serve it.

Mr Hayden also criticised the administration’s Executive Order banning travellers from seven majority Muslim countries.

He wrote that there was no evidence that the administration consulted with anyone in the intelligence community or that the travel ban actually “made America less safe.”

He emphasised the importance of keeping the intelligence community “apolitical” in order for it to provide the best intelligence it can to both Republican and Democrat presidents.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus claimed that he was “approved” by anonymous intelligence sources to say that the idea of ties between Russia and Mr Trump’s campaign were not true.

Mr Hayden responded to the incident in his op-ed, writing Priebus’ “language was political, emotional and dismissive. It in no way even tried to mirror the precise phrasing of intelligence.”

Current CIA head Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats were issued warnings on how they will have to run their organisations with an administration that “questioned their officers’ integrity, has been casual in its use of intelligence and is not above calling on intelligence professionals to provide political cover.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden shared his concerns and warnings in an opinion piece

 

NYT reports (source)

C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed

WASHINGTON — The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.

The briefings indicate that intelligence officials had evidence of Russia’s intentions to help Mr. Trump much earlier in the presidential campaign than previously thought. The briefings also reveal a critical split last summer between the C.I.A. and counterparts at the F.B.I., where a number of senior officials continued to believe through last fall that Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed primarily at disrupting America’s political system, and not at getting Mr. Trump elected, according to interviews.

The former officials said that in late August — 10 weeks before the election — John O. Brennan, then the C.I.A. director, was so concerned about increasing evidence of Russia’s election meddling that he began a series of urgent, individual briefings for eight top members of Congress, some of them on secure phone lines while they were on their summer break.

It is unclear what new intelligence might have prompted the classified briefings. But with concerns growing both internally and publicly at the time about a significant Russian breach of the Democratic National Committee, the C.I.A. began seeing signs of possible connections to the Trump campaign, the officials said. By the campaign’s final weeks, Congress and the intelligence agencies were racing to understand the scope of the Russia threat.

In an Aug. 25 briefing for Harry Reid, then the top Democrat in the Senate, Mr. Brennan indicated that Russia’s hackings appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election, according to two former officials with knowledge of the briefing.

The officials said Mr. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election. The F.B.I. and two congressional committees are now investigating that claim, focusing on possible communications and financial dealings between Russian affiliates and a handful of former advisers to Mr. Trump. So far, no proof of collusion has emerged publicly.

Mr. Trump has rejected any suggestion of a Russian connection as “ridiculous” and “fake news.” The White House has also sought to redirect the focus from the investigation and toward what Mr. Trump has said, with no evidence, was President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of phones in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. declined to comment for this article, as did Mr. Brennan and senior lawmakers who were part of the summer briefings.

In the August briefing for Mr. Reid, the two former officials said, Mr. Brennan indicated that the C.I.A., focused on foreign intelligence, was limited in its legal ability to investigate possible connections to Mr. Trump. The officials said Mr. Brennan told Mr. Reid that the F.B.I., in charge of domestic intelligence, would have to lead the way.

Days later, Mr. Reid wrote to James B. Comey, director of the F.B.I. Without mentioning the C.I.A. briefing, Mr. Reid told Mr. Comey that he had “recently become concerned” that Russia’s interference was “more extensive than widely known.”

In his letter, the senator cited what he called mounting evidence “of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign” and said it was crucial for the F.B.I. to “use every resource available” to investigate.

Unknown to Mr. Reid, the F.B.I. had already opened a counterintelligence inquiry a month before, in late July, to examine possible links between Russia and people tied to the Trump campaign. But its existence was kept secret even from members of Congress.

Well into the fall, law enforcement officials said that the F.B.I. — including the bureau’s intelligence analysts — had not found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government, as The New York Times reported on Oct. 31.

But as the election approached and new batches of hacked Democratic emails poured out, some F.B.I. officials began to change their view about Russia’s intentions and eventually came to believe, as the C.I.A. had months earlier, that Moscow was trying to help get Mr. Trump elected, officials said.

It was not until early December, a month after the election, that it became publicly known in news reports that the C.I.A. had concluded that Moscow’s motivation was to get Mr. Trump elected.

In January, intelligence officials publicly released a declassified version of their findings, concluding that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had “aspired to help” Mr. Trump to win the election and harm Hillary Clinton, a longtime adversary.

By then, both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. said they had “high confidence” that Russia was trying to help Mr. Trump by hacking into the internal emails of the Democratic National Committee and of some Clinton aides. (The National Security Agency expressed only “moderate confidence” that the Russians were trying to help him.)

Last month, Mr. Comey publicly acknowledged the continuing investigation for the first time at a House hearing on Russia’s influence on the election and said the F.B.I. was examining possible links between Trump associates and Russia for evidence of collusion.

One factor in the C.I.A. analysis last summer was that American intelligence agencies learned that Russia’s cyberattacks had breached Republican targets as well as Democrats. But virtually none of the hacked Republican material came out publicly, while the Russians, working through WikiLeaks and other public outlets, dumped substantial amounts of Democratic material damaging to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

Some intelligence officials were wary of pushing too aggressively before the election with questions about possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign because of concerns it might be seen as an improper political attempt to help Mrs. Clinton.

But after her loss, a number of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters have said that Mr. Comey and other government officials should have revealed more to the public during the campaign season about what they knew of Russia’s motivations and possible connections to the Trump campaign.

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