President Trump inherited from President Obama an Intelligence Community deeply partisan and biased to favor the Democrat Party.
Indeed, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) General James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Director James Comey, and other Intelligence Community leaders, launched what amounts to an attempted coup d’etat—framing candidate and President Trump with false charges of colluding with Russia and obstruction of justice, setting him up for impeachment.
Although President Trump replaced its top leaders, this is by no means sufficient to “drain the swamp” in the Intelligence Community ranks, corrupted by bad leadership for many years. Contrary to the common view that Intelligence Community political bias existed only at the top among “the generals”, over the years too many “foot soldiers” have become politically biased too, endangering our nation with Left-leaning non-objective analysis.
Intelligence Community leaders tend to surround themselves with people who share their worldview and political biases, who in turn do likewise, creating an ideological “domino effect” that reaches down to the analytical ranks.
Intelligence Community analysts are not free to publish their own unvarnished personal views—even if they are the best experts. Their work is subject to a process of “coordination” with colleagues, immediate superiors, and ultimately Intelligence Community leaders who can suppress any product that does not reflect the “corporate view.”
Analysts who dissent from the “corporate view” are under enormous pressure to conform, or be sent to the equivalent of Siberia.
Thus, during at least the 8 years of the Obama Administration, Intelligence Community analysts have been under pressure to conform to Obama’s worldview, and have been peopled for 8 years with new hires conforming to those views.
Since most Intelligence Community analysts are hired from universities, given the hard-Left bias prevalent in universities, an increasingly far-Left tilt seems inevitable among analysts, thereby politicizing intelligence leftward from “the bottom-up” as well as from “the top-down.”
Perilously—for the survival of the United States depends on sound intelligence—the Intelligence Community’s increasingly leftward bias, sharply accelerated under President Obama, has been ongoing for at least 27 years.
The Clinton Administration—Leftward Ho!
President Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 brought to power an administration peopled with far-left and liberal activists who wanted, in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, to cut defense and intelligence budgets and use this “peace dividend” to expand social programs.
I am an eyewitness to the leftward politicization of intelligence during the Clinton years.
For example, in 1993, I was a CIA analyst working on Russian nuclear weapons and strategy. A high-ranking CIA official visited our branch seeking “pro forma” approval from analysts for the Clinton Administration’s plans to make deep cuts in resources dedicated to the Russian nuclear threat.
My branch and division chiefs told me to raise no objections during the meeting.
However, since the high official supposedly was sincerely seeking our opinion about deep cuts, I spoke up, the only analyst to object. I warned that cutting intelligence against the Russian nuclear threat—the only nation in the world that could destroy the United States in 30 minutes—while that nation was undergoing revolutionary changes, was imprudent.
Afterwards, the high-ranking CIA official wanted to punish me for “speaking truth to power” by having me re-trained as an economist and sent to Indonesia to count rubber plants. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed, and I did not have to move my family to Jakarta.
The Bush Administration—Missed Opportunity for Centrism
President George W. Bush inherited the Clinton Administration’s Intelligence Community and post-9/11 made significant organizational changes, like creating a Director of National Intelligence. Centralizing intelligence under a DNI potentially reduces opportunity for diverse “corporate views” among agencies and increases opportunities for imposing politically biased uniformity.
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration did little to make far more important cultural changes—even though the 9/11 Commission Intelligence Reform Act recommended such changes to produce better, more intellectually balanced, intelligence products.
President Bush imprudently retained many Clinton Administration intelligence leaders, including at CIA, missing an opportunity to stop the Intelligence Community’s political drift leftward, and move it toward the political center.
The Obama Administration and Now
President Obama’s Intelligence Community moved so far Left, the liberal Clinton Intelligence Community, including the high official who wanted me exiled to Jakarta, looked by comparison ultra-conservative.
A recent article in International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence by John Gentry, former CIA analyst, warns, with masterful understatement:
“A considerable body of evidence, much of it fragmentary, indicates that many CIA people have left-leaning political preferences, but less evidence shows that political bias influences CIA analyses…But in 2016 observers of U.S. intelligence began to wonder if the CIA’s once firm prohibition on partisan politics had changed, and to ponder whether a new kind of politicization had arisen: namely, institutionally embedded, partisan bias.”
In fact, the Intelligence Community has been corrupted into a propaganda machine for the Democrat Party, part of “the resistance” to President Trump’s policies, constituting an ongoing dangerous intelligence failure. For example, according to President Trump’s own Intelligence Community, Obama was right about everything:
--Manmade climate change is an existential threat, even though there is no scientific consensus “anthropogenic climate change” is real.
--"The [Intelligence Community] currently has no specific, credible information indicating there is an imminent threat to critical infrastructure from an EMP attack”, according to DHS official Brian Harrell, contrary to overt threats from North Korea, Congressional EMP Commission Reports, and the White House EMP Executive Order.
--The Intelligence Community continues clinging to deeply erroneous EMP threat assessments, like the classified Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee EMP Report, despite their exposure as incorrect.
--The Intelligence Community parroted the Obama Administration’s view North Korea was a decade away from H-bombs, ICBMs, and has few nuclear weapons, until all proved false in 2017: the North Korean nuclear threat is here and now, not a decade away.
--The Intelligence Community contends Iran is complying with Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), even though Israel’s capture of Iran’s nuclear archives and other evidence indicates Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program: and may already have nuclear-armed missiles.
--The Intelligence Community appears blind to the New Cold War and the combined threat from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran working together against the U.S.
--The Intelligence Community appears to have boundless faith in arms control and treaties with Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran as the answer to everything, rarely warning about their past and present cheating.
Whole House Cleaning Needed
President Trump’s intelligence leaders, DNI Dan Coates and acting CIA Director Gina Haspel, appear to be part of the problem, endorsing the above and other dangerous nonsense. They have not even recalled or questioned the Obama Administration’s unclassified National Intelligence Estimate, falsely implying President Trump owes his election victory to Russia!
Haspel, who served long and honorably in CIA’s Directorate of Operations, the clandestine service, may not be the best person to correct analytical malfeasance in CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence. Haspel’s plan to strengthen CIA by hiring more spies will not fix analytical products corrupted by political bias.
Is spy gal Haspel up to the job of correcting bad work by intelligence analysts on EMP, nuclear weapons, arms control and other technically complex subjects? She does not even appear capable of correcting simple oversights by her speech writer.
Speaking recently at Auburn University, Haspel said: “Our Russia and Iran investment has been strengthened after years of falling behind our justifiably heavy emphasis on counterterrorism in the wake of 9/11.” But what about China and North Korea, regarded by many as greater threats than Russia and Iran?
“Groups like ISIS and al Qaeda remain squarely in our sights,” said Haspel. But the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ansar Allah are bigger, newer, terrorist threats than ISIS and al Qaeda, that are crippled.
One reporter writes of Haspel, “Internally, CIA personnel have welcomed having one of their own leading the agency.” No doubt.
Mr. President, your Intelligence Community, from top to bottom, needs to be purged.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served as Chief of Staff of the Congressional EMP Commission (2001-2017), on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee (1995-2001), and in the CIA (1985-1995). Dr. Pry is author of many books and articles on national security, including "Blackout Wars" and "POSEIDON: Russia’s New Doomsday Machine".
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