Thursday, February 16, 2017

Quote of the day--from DNA India --lightly edited for grammar

But what Trump is currently undergoing in Washington is not the simple case of a new leader shaking things up to stamp his own authority on the world’s most powerful political, military and economic systems. What Trump has managed to create, by his own design, is an environment of distrust between the White House and the various bureaucratic institutions that constitute any political system’s DNA. However, warring with America’s intelligence agencies, or the ‘deep state’ as some would like to address them as, is a whole different sport, a game that history has shown rarely ends well for the presidency.
Trump’s mandate has always been that of an ‘outsider’, he has built his gusto and panache on the fact that he is not a politician, but a businessman (who hates politicians) and hence knows best how to deal with the complex world of global economics. Most of Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s initial daily briefings at the White House were based on answering any and every question being fielded towards his administration with just one answer, that Trump is here to create jobs for the American people.
The expulsion of Flynn was one of the largest fallouts of Trump’s mistrust, or disdain, for the US intelligence complex even though he blamed a cocktail of intel agencies and the media. He seems to believe that the US intelligence is either too powerful for its own good, or has managed to get its own way with The Oval office over the decades with unchecked impunity, and that this now needs to be reigned (sic) in.
Trump has regularly taken to (the) social media site Twitter to air his disdain against the likes of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) publicly. On January 11, Trump tweeted asking whether the Americans are living in Nazi Germany, after saying that intelligence agencies should have not allowed “fake news” against him to be leaked out. This comparison irked the CIA camp, with the then outgoing agency chief John Brennan publicly taking on the US president, a rarity for anyone in his position, by announcing that Trump had crossed “the line” during his reactions to the unsubstantiated, and unflattering dossier against him. gone too far kmk
Over the past 24 hours, the feud between Trump and the intelligence agencies seems to be only expanding. The president took to Twitter again, asking whether agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) were leaking information purposefully (purposely) to The New York Times and The Washington Post newspapers. He compared this situation akin to being that to what happens in Russia, the very country blamed for aiding his accession to the White House. Sentence kmk
There are various reports doing rounds (going the rounds) on how intelligence agencies have proof of unwarranted (yet, legal) communications between Trump’s team and (the) Russians. On February 14, The New York Times ran a report accusing Trump’s campaign aides for having “repeated” contact with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the elections. To make it more damaging, there are reports also suggesting foreign Western intelligence agencies also hold evidence of such calls being made between the Trump camp and Moscow. The conflict of interest between the Trump administration and US intelligence is not something that can be brushed under the carpet, with it coming out glaringly as the days go by for a government still struggling to settle into Washington D.C.
However, This is not the first time a US president has come at to odds with the US intelligence apparatus and historically, the outcome of such conflicts have been more damaging for the presidency than the intelligence agencies. On a very superficial explanation, The mandate of an intelligence agency in most cases and most countries would be, by nature of the mandate, more powerful than that of a head of state. Loyalty is what would come in between the two entities to build a bridge of trust.  Collapse of this one institution factor …loyalty…could be damaging for even the most powerful chair man on the planet earth.
Former US President Richard Nixon, who took office in 1969, was perhaps the biggest  most glaring example of a president that took on the US intelligence establishment head on (and failed).
Nixon came into office believing that the CIA was responsible for his previous campaign loss to former president John F. Kennedy. Nixon believed that the agency’s refusal to put down the ‘missile gap myth’, where the 1957 Gaither Committee inflated the threat perception of Soviet Union’s ballistic missile program in comparison to the American program, inflating Moscow’s actual strengths relating to its missile programs, was them acting against him.
JFK coined the term ‘missile gap’, and used it as a campaign tool to bolster his bid for the presidency, similar to Trump’s tactics on immigration and terrorism. However, Nixon held a grudge, developed over a period of time.  He believed the intelligence community was against him. After winning the elections and taking over as America’s 37th president, Nixon tested the waters with the CIA, making them work for his trust and even access to The Oval office. This included the CIA, against its wishes, falsely modeling Soviet nuclear capability estimates and even keeping close tabs on anti-Vietnam War protesters in the US despite the CIA charter prohibiting it from operating on domestic soil (which, however, did not stop it from doing so previously (either) under President Lyndon B. Johnson over war protesters).  CIA seemed to “cooperate” with Nixon and LBJ to some extent.  KMK
Nixon later on became the only US president having to resign from office, after the infamous Watergate scandal which involved a planned break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s offices at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. and the Nixon administration’s subsequent attempts at a cover-up.
Watergate was a series of information leaks provided to The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein by a source called ‘Deep Throat’, who was only in 2005 identified as former FBI agent and later FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt. This happened with Nixon’s comparatively good relations with the FBI, and even as he kept on testing the CIA under its then director Richard Helm’s charge, the agency finally drew the line during Watergate and refused to comply with directions from Nixon to orchestrate a cover-up. Helms was fired from his job, but Nixon didn’t survive either, having to resign from the US presidency on August 9, 1974, brought down by acts of one FBI agent.

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