Home Editorials Trump, Twitter, and Intelligence: Something is Missing

Trump, Twitter, and Intelligence: Something is Missing

Original photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons Licensing.

The ongoing twitter debacle between American intelligence community and President-elect Donald Trump has become something of an embarrassment. This is unheard of historically. As far as I know, no U.S. president has openly, publicly rejected the efforts of the CIA, FBI, and the NSA to provide timely intel information to him. What makes matters worse is Trump’s constant tweets on the subject. It sets a dangerous tone in the arena of international intelligence in the U.S. government.

One of the functions of those intel institutions is to brief the president and keep him appraised on critical issues affecting the nation both foreign and domestic. This is vital for the president in order for him to make those hard decisions that keep this country safe. They are a valuable tool the president needs to govern in these turbulent times.

And yet our new president elect wants nothing to do with them. He has made that very clear with every tweet he has plastered all over the twitterverse.

Before we go any farther, I should say something to those in the Trump administration handling Mr. Trump’s affairs. Take that twitter device he is using and throw it down the toilet and hit the flush handle. It is becoming very clear that twitter device has become a clear and present danger to the security of the nation. Then, convince the new president of this basic fact: You can’t run a country on tweets alone.

Another fact to educate him with is this: When the directors of the CIA, FBI, and the NSA have uncovered evidence of Russian hacking into the RNC and the DNC parties, trying to influence the election, you had better sit up and listen to them. Because it is very likely to be true.

And, no, I’m not talking about the Buzzfeed debacle. I’m talking about everything else.

Far from charges coming from president-elect Trump that these agencies were just stooges, working for Democrats angry at losing the election, is frankly just plain nonsense. The agencies in question are nonpartisan. They have to work that way by tradition and by law. It is no game. The security and the safety of this country are at stake here.

According the declassified public version of the intelligence report provided by the National Intelligence Council, Putin allegedly was behind the order for the hacks and launched a campaign to influence the presidential election in favor of Trump. This is the judgement of the CIA, FBI, and the NSA with high confidence by the first two and moderate confidence by the NSA. All three agree something is going on in the Kremlin and Putin is behind it. From the cyber attacks and the propaganda campaign sent through Wikileaks by the Russians to discredit Hilary Clinton.

This multifaceted effort was “ the boldest yet in the U.S.” by the Russians according to that report (and it wasn’t the first either). It is frightening in its scope. This needs to be addressed immediately by both the outgoing Obama administration, the incoming Trump administration, and Congress. Just reading the public version sent chills down my spine. Imagine, if you can, what the fully classified report has within its pages.

Sobering isn’t it?

The reasons why Putin favors Trump are very clear. Clinton has stood up to Putin in the recent past when she was Secretary of State. They have a history and it isn’t pretty. So, the choice was obvious.

Why is the Trump camp pushing the “It’s just the Democrats being sore losers” B.S.? (A cry that is being echoed by Putin himself.) Why is the next president of the United States publicly feuding with these agencies via Twitter? These are the actions of a person far from control of himself. That fact alone is truly frightening.

Trump’s words via the tweet could very well send this nation down a path that may prove to be the stuff of nightmares in the years to come.

As for Putin, he is a man of great intellect. A cold intelligence capability cultivated by Soviet-era governance. He was once head of the KGB before climbing to the highest levels to be president of Russia. An expert at manipulation, espionage, and intrigue who wants to bring back the days of the Cold War back from the grave.

With Trump, who has very little experience with any of the above, Putin could be pulling his strings for years to come.

What Mr. Trump needs to do is this: Quit tweeting right now. Listen, truly listen to what the intel community has gathered and act accordingly. Acknowledging Russia’s probable involvement on Wednesday was a good start, but there’s a long way to go.

If he still has trust issues with the intelligence community, keep them close and refrain from making them public. Have his aides remind him that everything a U.S. president says and does affects everybody. His days of privacy are over.

Welcome to the glass bubble, sir.

Every move, every sentence uttered will be subject to scrutiny by his supporters, the press, his opponents, and his enemies, as they never have before. The latter fits Vladimir Putin to a T — far from the imagined bromance put forth by Trump and his supporters. Simply put, Putin is not a friend to America, never has been, and never will be.

I have gone on record that I do not support Donald J. Trump. I never will. Yet, like it or not, he will be sworn in as the 45th president of the Untied States of America on the 20th of this month. Where he will take this country is unknown. My gut feeling is, far from good, and I trust my gut on this.

A Trump presidency will be a trip into the surreal and the bizarre, that is for sure. I truly hope he take the advice, but I’m not holding my breath.

Neither should you.