The time will arrive, possibly quite soon after Donald J. Trump becomes president of the United States, when the new president will ask for advice from his intelligence network.
What will he think when the spooks tell him that, oh, the Russians are about to launch an attack on Ukraine, or on the Baltic States, or on Georgia? How might he respond to reports from the CIA that Russians are killing civilians in Syria?
CIA Director John Brennan said today that Trump is treading onto some dangerous territory with his continued dismissal and disparagement of the CIA over its findings that Russian hackers sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.
He needs to make peace with the intelligence professionals who work in the trenches of the CIA, of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI.
Brennan said this — among other things — on “Fox News Sunday”: “What I do find outrageous is equating intelligence community with Nazi Germany,” said Brennan, who served in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.”
Trump’s continual dismissal of the intelligence apparatus goes directly against traditional Republican orthodoxy, which historically has sided with the spies when questions arise about foreign threats to the nation. Indeed, Trump’s tweet tirades against the CIA have drawn pointed criticism from GOP officials as well as from Democrats.
Then we have Brennan, who served Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama weighing in with stern words of warning for the next president.
As Bloomberg News reported about Brennan’s “Fox News Sunday” appearance: Brennan admonished Trump, who’s recently suggested he might lift sanctions on Russia, “to be mindful that he doesn’t yet, I think, have a full appreciation/understanding of what the implications are of such a move” amid Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Syria and online. He added that Trump “needs to be very, very careful.”
Does the new president have an appreciation or understanding of anything having to do with national security?
This is the kind of thing that frightens the daylights out of millions of Americans.
I am one of them.