Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trumpists lay groundwork for abolishing the CIA

This won't be an easy post to write. I've been a CIA critic since, like, forever. But now that the Trump-worshipping Claremont Institute has come out in favor of abolishing the CIA, all I can say is: YIKES!

Don't dismiss this story as kooky outsider stuff. We once dismissed the Trump movement and the Alt Right as kooky outsider stuff. You'd do better to view the following words as an insight into Trump's second term agenda.

Why does the Claremont Institute advocate abolishing the CIA?
Intelligence officials abuse their positions to discredit opposition to the Democratic Party, of which they are part.
The author, one Angelo Codevilla, offers no evidence for this absurd assertion -- although if pressed, I'm sure that Angelo could point to scattered nuggets of nonsense published by the Alt Right press. If you root and snort your way through that madhouse library, you can find a way to rationalize any suggestion, however contrary to common sense that suggestion may be.

I probably shouldn't have to say this, but I'll say it anyways. A vast library of espionage-related literature (start here) demonstrates that American spooks have always favored the right, domestically and abroad. I need only mention the case of Richard Nixon, whose ascent in 1968 was covertly aided by CIA Director Richard Helms. Then there's Democrat Frank Church, whose career was cut short after he took on the CIA. Bill Barr got his start as George H.W. Bush's henchman at CIA. There is plenty of evidence that CIA worked to undermine both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. CIA man William Casey was the key figure in the election of Ronald Reagan. The Agency was hardly on great terms with Obama, who shut down the torture programs. And let's not even talk about JFK.

I could go on and on, but why bother? After a certain point, anyone who wants to keep his lunch inside his belly must walk away from a debate with a creationist or a flat-earther. For the same reason, sane people can't debate a Pizza-gater or a Holocaust denier or anyone from the Claremont Institute. Basically, the Trumpers have taken the anti-CIA literature written by lefties over the past 50 years and turned it (ideologically) upside down.

Let us peruse further illustrations of right-wing madness:
CIA is obsolete. Cables show agents’ intelligence takes are inferior to diplomats’. Agent networks are unprotected by counterintelligence. FBI success at counterintelligence ended when the Bureau was politicized and bureaucratized in the 1970s. CIA bottlenecks and incompetently controls strategic intelligence, while the Army and Marines show demonstrable tactical superiority.

As a result, CIA is ideologically partisan. Its strength is in leading or joining domestic campaigns to influence public opinion. FBI has followed suit.

Senior intelligence officials were the key element in the war on Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency. CIA used meetings that it manufactured as factual bases for lies about campaign advisors seeking Russian information to smear Hillary Clinton. Intelligence began formal investigation and surveillance without probable cause. Agents gained authorization to electronically surveil Trump and his campaign and defended their bureaucratic interests, sidelining Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and denying or delaying Trump appointments and security clearances.
And so on. Translation: People from the intelligence community were concerned when they found out about Team Trump's very real collusion with Russia. The Agency may be conservative at heart, but many within it have a healthy disdain for Vladimir Putin and his dreams of dominance.

And that's the real reason why the Trumpers seek to make this country vulnerable.

By the way: You shouldn't miss the implications of these words: "...the Bureau was politicized and bureaucratized in the 1970s..." Translation: They want to return to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover.

This type of thinking is dangerous. Beyond dangerous. The Trumpers have constructed an all-purpose conspiracy theory which scapegoats the CIA and the FBI for every news story that reveals Trump's sordid misdeeds.

The Claremont Institute is more Alex Jonesian than Alex Jones himself. For background on the institute, see here.
Among those Claremont is honoring in its new incarnation as a Trump-justifying toady is Jack Posobiec, the internet phenom most famous for promoting the “Pizzagate” conspiracy.
Posobiec may have been influenced by Alex Jones (he travels in the same circles), who had said: “When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her. Yeah, you heard me right. Hillary Clinton has personally murdered children. I just can’t hold back the truth anymore.”
Statesmanship is not the first word that jumps to mind when you mention the name Jack Posobiec. In addition to this role in the Pizzagate fiasco (which inspired a North Carolina man to burst into the restaurant armed with an assault rifle in 2016), he’s also known for showing up at an anti-Trump rally carrying a sign saying “Rape Melania.” See, it was the old “false flag” maneuver, attempting to discredit Trump protesters.
Many conservative institutions and individuals have adjusted their standards and long-proclaimed principles to accommodate Trump and Trumpism. Some have become almost unrecognizable. But Claremont stands out for beclowning itself with this embrace of the smarmy underside of American politics.

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