Shamelessness and Ignorance Unlimited

The U.S. intelligence community’s leaders, the Democratic Party, and the media (excuse the redundancy) are trying to convince Americans that President Trump’s conversation with, and perhaps promises to, an unnamed foreign leader amounts to some sort of constitutional crisis. Never mind that the Constitution vests “the executive Power” in the “President of the United States,” a power that includes “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties . . . appoint ambassadors and other public ministers . . . ” The Constitution also says the president “shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”

But, oh, the scandal! 

Once upon a time, so goes a story made up to ridicule the voting public, an official who had been dean of a college was run out of office after his opponent accused him of having looked at female students’ theses in private, and had invited to campus traveling troops of thespians.

No doubt Trump is equally guilty of negotiating with a foreign leader in ways that involve classified information. The deep state is counting on today’s American voters to be just as ignorant.

What is going on here? Some employee at CIA learned of a phone call between President Trump and some foreign leader. This employee did not like what the president said. And because the conversation involved classified information, he called himself a “whistleblower” and informed “former officials,” who took what is now “Whistleblower-gate” to the Washington Post.

The anonymous CIA employee also informed another like-minded employee, the agency’s inspector general, who promptly took the allegations to the House Intelligence Committee’s Democrats. In turn, they promptly demanded Trump’s conversation be made public.

Secrecy and Dispatch (Look It Up)

Since there is zero chance of any president disclosing the contents of private conversations with foreign heads of state, a standoff ensued. That guarantees endless opportunities for the intelligence community to leak ludicrous tales without substance. These are the empty calories that sustain the ruling class’s 2020 campaign. 

The Washington Post, after a thousand words in a story that speculates on Trump’s dangerous, possibly unconstitutional behavior, includes the following half-sentence: “ [legal experts] also noted that the president has broad authority to decide unilaterally when to classify or declassify information. Not quite. The president’s authority over national security information is more than broad. It is total. All who exercise such authority do so on his behalf and by his leave. That is because any and all foreign intelligence activities—which are subordinate to foreign and military policy in general—are pursuant to the president’s judgment.

The deep state and the media worked together to limit Ronald Reagan and to scare George W. Bush. But their assault on Donald Trump is little short of a coup d’état.

In short, “Whistleblower-gate” (if you will forgive the term) is arguably the most naked, most shameless attempt yet by the deep state to strike a blow at Trump by going to the press with an interpretation of classified information that neither the press nor the public has seen, will not see, and that concerns an activity that, in itself, is perfectly proper and indeed constitutes the president doing his job.

Alas, there is nothing new about the intelligence community sabotaging this president, and nothing new in his allowing them to do it.

Let’s Demystify the CIA a Little Bit

Contrary to the nonsense conservatives hear on Fox News, the CIA has always been more interested in, and capable of, influencing U.S. policy and politics, as well as in spreading progressivism, than it is in learning about foreigners’ secrets. From the beginning, it has been addicted to cronyism and allergic to quality control. It takes what comes over the transom, and calls it good. Over the years, its combination of professional incompetence and political presumption spread to the FBI.

The CIA has used secrecy—which is essential to competent intelligence—to hide how little it really knows beyond what is in the public realm as well as all it does to support its favorite people and policies, and to oppose the others.

Passing off its opinions as facts and refusing to support them by claiming to be constrained by security is its stock-in-trade. Junior persons in the media fall for that. But veterans at the Washington Post and the New York Times know the game and support it.

The deep state and the media are on the same side of a political scam. They worked together to limit Ronald Reagan and to scare George W. Bush. But their assault on Donald Trump waged from behind the pretense of security is little short of a coup d’état.

The CIA’s substantial role in starting the Russian collusion hoax is sure to be among the current investigations’ principal findings, because of John Brennan’s inclinations and influence, as well as because of CIA’s international connections if for no other reason. But that was only the beginning of the Agency’s attacks on the Trump administration.

We need only cite its assertion of power to deny security clearances to the president’s advisers, thus limiting his entourage to persons acceptable to itself, and the pressures brought on him not to declassify documents which show precisely what domestic subversion it has committed. In this regard, let’s keep in mind that the CIA has been able to do this strictly because Trump has let them. Hence, he personally deserves every bit of subversion he suffers.

America does not deserve it.

The intelligence community’s bureaucrats have no right whatever to try substituting their judgment for that of anyone elected by the American people. Fundamentally, their pretenses of sovereignty are aimed at all Americans.

They consider themselves our superiors. They are not. Ever more openly, they show themselves to be our enemies.

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About Angelo Codevilla

Angelo M. Codevilla was a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He was professor of international relations at Boston University and the author of several books including To Make And Keep Peace (Hoover Institution Press, 2014).

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