Accuracy in Media

Echoing New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s warning that the intelligence community is out to “get” President-elect Trump, a Brookings Institution expert who served in the Clinton administration says that Trump’s treatment of his spies will “come back to bite him” in the form of “devastating” leaks to the media that will make him look foolish or incompetent.

Leaking by intelligence officials and analysts is, of course, illegal.

“The intelligence community doesn’t leak as much as the Pentagon or Congress, but when its reputation is at stake, it can do so to devastating effect,” says Daniel Benjamin of the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Benjamin previously served as the principal advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on counterterrorism and was embroiled in the controversy over Mrs. Clinton’s failure to stop the massacre of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Benjamin’s article, “How Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community will come back to haunt him,” did not refute the widely held belief that President Obama’s CIA and its director John Brennan were behind the recent leaks to The Washington Post and New York Times  depicting Trump as a Russian puppet. In fact, the implication is that the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community will seek further revenge on Trump if he continues to criticize them.

At his recent news conference, in regard to the leaks about his meetings with intelligence officials, Trump noted that “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad. First of all, it’s illegal. You know, these are classified and certified meetings and reports.”

But it appears that some intelligence officials believe they are above the law and can use illegal leaks to damage an elected President who has been critical of their work product.

In the most recent case, CNN and BuzzFeed were leaked a document offering unsubstantiated claims of Trump being sexually compromised by Russian officials. CNN summarized the document; BuzzFeed published the whole thing.

Trump denounced these leaks, with Director of the Office of National Intelligence James Clapper disclosing that he had called Trump about them and had declared his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press…” He said that he and Trump “both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”

Trump said Clapper “called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated.”

“I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC [Intelligence Community],” Clapper said. However, he did not indicate what investigation, if any, he had conducted to make this determination.

“When something goes wrong—say a military deployment to combat jihadi insurgents in the Middle East blows up in the Trump administration’s face—the press will overflow with stories telling of intelligence reports that were ignored by the White House and briefings the president missed,” Benjamin wrote. Such stories, of course, would be based on illegal leaks.

“Imagine what an aggrieved intel community might do to a genuinely hostile president,” he said. Benjamin’s comments suggest that the intelligence community will use the media to blame Trump for things that go wrong in foreign affairs, in order to protect its own reputation.

Benjamin should know something about the relationship of the Intelligence Community to the news media. His bio says that he began his career as a journalist and held positions as the Germany bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal and Germany correspondent for Time magazine.

The Brookings expert said, “the CIA is usually one of the very first agencies to establish a relationship with new chief executives, because of the briefings it delivers before elections have even occurred and the beguiling prospect it offers of handling missions quietly and efficiently.”

It’s not clear what he means by this. The Obama CIA’s “covert” arms-running program in Syria has backfired in a big way, provoking a Russian military intervention, the loss of up to 500,000 lives, and a refugee crisis which threatens the future of Europe.

Benjamin speculated that Trump will ask the CIA to organize a covert operation to undermine the regime in Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, and that the agency will offer him options that don’t guarantee success and which he may have to reject. He wrote that “…it is an iron law of bureaucracy that no agency will knock itself out for a leader it deems capricious, especially one who cannot be relied on to defend his own if something goes wrong.”

“The answer from the intel community will never be no,” he said. “Instead, the planners will brief the president on three different approaches. Then they will assess the risk of failure for each at 60-80 percent, providing the Oval Office with a dare it cannot possibly accept. For some, of course, this could turn out to be a silver lining in otherwise dismal story.”

In short, the CIA will look for excuses not to proceed, and then get back to the business of leaking damaging stories to the press when terrorist incidents and other problems occur.

Is the CIA really the “invisible government” that the so-called “conspiracy theorists” have warned about? Is there a “deep state” that tries to run the government behind-the-scenes?

Articles like those of Daniel Benjamin, a journalist who became a Hillary Clinton operative in the counter-terrorism field, seem to be more damaging to the idea of American self-government than anything the Russians have been accused of doing.

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  • OldManofMilo

    There are the banks and cabal of financiers who will fight a re-sovereignization of the United States with everything they got.
    “Re-sovereignization” describes what Vladimir Putin had to do in Russia since 2000: the process of wrestling the real power from a small trans-national elite, return it to the people of Russia and making Russia a truly independent and sovereign country.
    The same applies to the USA whose people have clearly become the hostages and the serfs of a small globalist elite which is in full control of the real centers of power concentrated in various financial institutions controlling the establishments of both political parties and by extension the branches of government in the USA.
    The real levels of corruption in the USA and probably higher than anywhere on the planet simply because of the immense sums of money involved. The corrupt parasites who run this money-making machine will do everything in their power to prevent a return to power of the American people and they will never allow “one man – one vote” to replace the current “one dollar – one vote”.

  • John Cunningham

    While Americans have been sleeping and, allowing the forces of evil, Progressivism?Liberalism/Communism, have slowly taken over all aspects of America. This has been going on for over fifty years but, Barack Obama was thought of as their Messiah.

    Immediately, the Liberal machine began a war on whites especially Christian whites. The idea being if you want to kill a snake you must cut off the head. They almost succeeded. If not for the egotistical narcissism and incompetence of barack Obama, America as we once knew it, would be History.

    They hate Donald Trump but, they hate all white Christian Conservatives just as much. If we who believe in the Constitution want our Country back we will have to fight for it. Donald Trump hasn’t even been sworn in and, I fear a big problem in America. Now, we all sat around and did nothing while Liberals got us to this condition, what are we going to do to save it.

  • Ron Long

    I am worried about Trump. Please remember what happened to JFK when he was trying to dismantle the CIA after the Bay of Pigs debacle. People claim that we must maintain Civilian control over the Military, well, most all of the alphabet soup of intelligence (oxymoron) agencies are totally under civilian control, which leaves them open to subversion by politicization, as they are now. They fear Trump because he will give them an enema that is long overdue, that makes them dangerous. Pray for Trump.

  • Idaho Bob

    Seeing that John Brennan is a muslim convert, I would say that this is more like “islams war on Trump, continued”.

  • jaimelmanzano

    Based on his media performance,John Brennan lost his status as an intelligence professional. He is now just a hack politician.

  • TPS12

    There are good and bad people in every organization, it is now safe and time for the good people to point out what’s been going on and who was responsible.

  • Ted

    Trump loves engaging in “The ShitOn Game” … so … if the people he craps on figure out a particularly good way to crap back … ToughShit for Trump!

  • Maggietish

    Brennan is in no position to criticize anyone let alone our president/elect Donald Trump. He has yet to explain why the CIA seems to be catching up on things that they should’ve known about well in advance. Why also did they give an Intel security report to NBC before they ever gave it to Donald Trump. Brennan has dropped the ball way too many times and that’s more evident with each passing day. It is clear that Brennan is more loyal to and concerned about politics than the safety of this Nation and the American people. He has joined in on and played the political games at the discretion of the Obama administration and certainly has no loyalty or interest in the security of this Nation. Brennan certainly needs to clean up his own act and reputation and not think that he has some superior attitude and right that he can use against Donald Trump and his supporters. Brennan is on the taxpayers’ payroll that he chooses to ignore. Brennan is literally out of a job and he should’ve been out of a job years ago because he certainly is not effective and he is inept and a complete failure.

  • Payne A. Tension

    Shouldn’t our Intelligence agencies be above the fray when it comes to verbal reprisals? So, it’s cool to play fast and loose with our national secrets as long as we are getting back at a President-ELECT for defending himself against questionable allegations.

  • ItsJo

    True statement, as I recall people couldn’t Believe that Obama DID appoint Brennan to head the CIA…..the feeling was, that it was “Brennan who HAD A LOT ON OBAMA AND FORCED THE APPOINTMENT ISSUE.” That seems a Very Possible Scenerio and Brennan’s past, is NOT all that angelic…..HE seems like the one who ‘came out with a wise crack or two AGAINST Trump, and then Trump answered him.’ I don’t think Trump has anything against the Men/Women within the CIA(how could he?) but I do think that Brennan is trying to create a division that Trump did NOT have in the first place-Seemed like Brennan is “Flexing his muscle and Diverting attention to Russia(they failed on w/Obama AND Hillary anyway)

    I also think that Brennan AND McCain-are like “two peas in a pod” and NEITHER like Trump, so together they tried to ‘stick it to Trump with the Fake News Story/CNN and KNEW McCain would like to get it out into the public Against Trump that he Hates, and did NOT vote for.’ McCain is a Spiteful, Lifetime Career Politico, that did NOT want Trump-the Outsider, but instead preferred Hillary, Another Career Politico, who would “CONTINUE TO PROTECT THE D.C. CORRUPTION OF SELF GAINS AND KEEP THEIR GRAVY TRAINS ON TRACK!

  • ItsJo

    Totally agree with you. There has been WAY too much hiding the Facts/Corruption/and Frustrated HONEST people among Many of Obama’s Intel Agencies that ARE DISGUSTED AND WANT THE TRUTH TO COME OUT……HOPEFULLY IT WILL, as I FIND SO MUCH CORRUPTION IN EVERYTHING OBAMA TOUCHES AND THOSE WITHIN HIS REGIME HE SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH.


  • ItsJo

    Good post Maggietish-IMO, Brennan was in a Superior Position-NOT because he was qualified, but rather because he pushed Obama’s hand(and, they had a Lot in common-Both Muslim)

  • none ya

    Our tax dollars pay these jerks to be subversive and damaging to our incoming President? Perhaps THEY will be the ones ultimately in for the rude awakening….one can hope!

  • none ya

    Really? Are you completely blind to the fact that the Marxist Socialist funded LEFT are the actual instigators of the filth that Trump has to defend himself and AMERICA’S survival from? Not only the radical left but their media and now subversive members of our own government!? You truly can’t see that?

    I feel sorry for you and frankly speaking it looks as though since you’re the one slinging ‘it’, looks like you’re the one full of “it”! Wake up!

    Be an American and support your new president…his success is our success.

  • none ya

    Yes…I’ve been praying!

    Also praying that the progressive Lefties will somehow see the light and come together as Americans, one nation… at the very least have some gracious respect for the sake of our country for our incoming President and his Admin. They sre all serving the vountry for US and accepting NO SALARY! Unlike most of the political cronies who serve for status and thus themselves, Trump and Admin are doing it to save AMERICA and doing it for FREE!