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Sat Jan 28, 2017, 12:43 PM

Dangerous Liaisons: A CIA vets thoughts on Trump, loyalty, and the agency

By “Denise Matthews”
Best Defense guest columnist

"A much-missed friend and colleague from my time at the CIA, let’s call her “Cathy,” would probably have been delighted with President Donald Trump’s election. I can imagine Cathy rushing to get her name on the list to welcome Trump to headquarters last Saturday. Another friend and regular lunch date, “Michelle,” would likely have spent last Saturday downtown, marching in a “pussy hat” for the liberal issues she held dear.

I’ll never know for sure, of course, since Cathy and Michelle shared more than just agency employment. Each has a star on the CIA’s Wall of Honor. Each died in the line of duty supporting the policy of a president she had voted against.

I shudder at the idea of a president — any president, from either party — expecting ideological and personal loyalty. Last Saturday, Trump walked into a room of CIA officers — career civil servants subject to Hatch Act laws against partisan activity — and speculated they all had voted for him. He missed the point. However we voted, our oath was to the Constitution. I served under every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama; my husband dates to Jimmy Carter. That matters. Our country needs the expertise that transcends a single presidency. More importantly, we need the protections that come from an intelligence service obedient to the law, and not a man.

What would a politicized intelligence service give us? Could a president trust assessments from an intelligence service that sought only his approval? Politicized intelligence gave us the “slam dunk” assessment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein. Ideologically driven leadership gave us Fidel Castro’s exploding cigars and the Bay of Pigs. Intelligence needs skeptics, not yes-men.

What, too, would come of American citizens’ protections from misuse of Intelligence Community capabilities? Today, I have faith in our systems for protecting against invasion of Americans’ privacy. I know how long I was trained to avoid unnecessary snooping, how carefully I was supervised, and the penalties I faced for breaking the rules. This system rests on a personal and organizational commitment to following the rules. When Trump states that we “have not used the real abilities that we have,” I wonder whether these abilities also include expanded domestic surveillance."


"I can make one prediction with utter certainty: Trump will soon be confronted by an international crisis that will threaten U.S. lives and interests. This crisis may indeed come from the Islamic State, but it is equally likely to arise somewhere else on the planet. When that crisis comes, I can only pray that the CIA I remember still has the resources and access it needs to fulfill its mission: speaking truth to power, conducting covert actions abroad, and protecting our nation’s secrets.

“Denise Matthews” is the pseudonym of a recently retired CIA officer."


These are the people Trump insulted.

I am still reeling in shock and disbelief that this excuse for a man is in the White House.

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Reply Dangerous Liaisons: A CIA vets thoughts on Trump, loyalty, and the agency (Original post)
orangecrush Jan 2017 OP
ffr Jan 2017 #1
orangecrush Jan 2017 #2

Response to orangecrush (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2017, 12:51 PM

1. He's not showing the kind of dignity we've come to expect

and certainly not the kind our proud history has shown.

Based on his actions, I don't think he's a buff of history though, do you?

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Response to ffr (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 28, 2017, 12:57 PM

2. There is a lot of speculation

Some say he is unbalanced or a pathological liar.

I think not.

I believe his moves are carefully orchestrated.

What I am sure of is the interests of the American people mean nothing to him.

He is doing what he does best.

He bought the Presidency to build his personal empire, and in doing so will be completely ruthless.

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