Donald John Trump has a limitless array of weapons that he uses — against our own nation’s intelligence experts!
He deployed some of them again today by undercutting the CIA’s assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the ghastly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Trump said in a highly unusual statement that he won’t take any action against the government of Saudi Arabia, despite what the CIA analysis has concluded. That’s right. He sides with another authoritarian leader, taking his word over the learned view expressed by some of the finest intelligence experts in the world.
I suppose the president had that $110 billion order for jet fighters that Saudi Arabia has placed with the Defense Department on his mind, too.
To be sure, the president called Khashoggi’s murder “terrible” and said it is an action that our country “does not condone.” He stopped short of joining the CIA assessment of the crown prince’s involvement.
Now, a word about the CIA and its current leadership.
Gina Haspel, a career spook and a former deep-cover agent, is Trump’s appointed CIA director. She is a highly trained professional who has spent her entire professional life working to protect this country against its enemies. Yes, she had some issues for which she had to answer when she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but I do not doubt her skill or her management ability in running the agency.
For the commander in chief to say, in effect, that the CIA is mistaken does the agency a disservice. Moreover, it disserves the search for the truth behind the slaughter of a U.S. resident who worked as a columnist for the Washington Post. Khashoggi’s final column, in fact, called on Saudi Arabia to exercise tolerance for those who disagree with government policy.
It is reasonable to presume that Khashoggi’s insistence on reforming Saudi government policies led to his hideous and ghastly murder.
The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. The CIA is full of experts who know what they’re doing. The president, meanwhile, is full of delusions about his own instincts. He has chosen to give the Saudi government a pass on what the nation’s intelligence experts say it did to a journalist.
If only the president of the United States would take dead aim at the bad guys and quit undermining the good guys’ work on our behalf.