Hitler and Stalin would be proud.
Courtesy of Politico:
President Donald Trump is tightening his grip on the intelligence community as part of a post-acquittal purge of career officials and political appointees deemed insufficiently loyal, and the abrupt firing of his last intel chief is only the tip of the iceberg, current and former intelligence officials say.
Trump’s decision to replace acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire with a loyalist with no intelligence experience, Ric Grenell, shocked the national security world and has raised questions about who the president will nominate to serve in the post after Grenell’s “acting” status expires next month. In India, Trump hinted that his decision would come soon.
But it also revealed a deeper trend: namely, the steps Trump has taken to shield the public from intelligence that could be politically damaging for him, and keep the flow of information coming out of the agencies firmly under his control.
“We have an enemy of the United States that is conducting information warfare against us and our executive leadership doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want the Congress to hear it, and doesn’t want the people to hear it,” said former acting DNI David Gompert, who said he was “aghast” at the hiring of Grenell. “We now have a situation where the principal objective, evidently, of this acting DNI is to ensure that information about Russian interference and Russian preference for this particular president does not get out.”
The president’s rocky relationship with the intelligence community and desire to purge the agencies of those deemed “anti-Trump” certainly predate Maguire’s firing. Trump has long railed against the so-called “deep state,” accusing civil servants of plotting a “coup” to overthrow him and pointing to the FBI probe of his campaign team’s Russia contacts as evidence of an underlying conspiracy to weaken his presidency.
His attacks on senior intelligence officials appear to have had, at minimum, a chilling effect. In January, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, on behalf of the larger clandestine community, told lawmakers that they wanted to cancel the public portion of an annual briefing on the globe’s greatest security threats.
The reason? Trump’s outburst last year when the agency chiefs’ assessments differed from his own. “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” he tweeted at the time. This year, ODNI did not want the senior officials to be seen on-camera as disagreeing with the president on big issues such as Iran, Russia or North Korea, sources told POLITICO.
Over the last six months, Trump’s impulse to manipulate the flow of intelligence appears to have grown stronger, current and former officials say. One former U.S. official, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that prior to Trump’s acquittal, the intelligence community spent the last few months negotiating with the White House over what information about Ukraine, relevant to the impeachment investigation, could be provided to Congress.
Clearly it is no longer enough that Trump has propaganda outlets like Fox News and OAN spreading disinformation on his behalf, now he feels the need to stop inconvenient facts at their source.
This should chill every American to the bone.
People keep arguing that our choices right now are between capitalism and socialism, but that is wildly inaccurate.
Our choices are between democracy and totalitarianism.
The trolls keep throwing up Venezuela as some kind socialist boogeyman that is supposed to frighten all of us into voting for Trump .
But I am here to tell you that if my choices are between Venezuela and 1930s Nazi Germany, my choice is Venezuela every single time.