By Reginald Johnson
Elements of the intelligence community appear to be waging a determined campaign to oust Donald Trump from the presidency and block any détente between the United States and Russia.
Ever since Trump was elected, there has been a string of damaging leaks coming out about classified phone conversations between members of the Trump administration, and Russian officials.
All the leaks, and the reporting on them in the media, have made it appear that Trump and his top officials are too close to Russia and that Russia ---- an “adversary” nation --- may be taking advantage of the U.S.
While previous administrations have had to deal with classified leaks, the number that has taken place since Trump got elected has been unprecedented.
Already the Trump administration has suffered a casualty from this campaign. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to step down after information leaked that he may have improperly discussed the lifting of sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador during a phone call prior to the Trump administration taking office on Jan. 20.
Since it is the intelligence agencies --- primarily the FBI, NSA and CIA --- that have access to the contents of intercepted phone calls between U.S. and foreign officials, the obvious conclusion is that it is intelligence officials that are doing the leaking.
Under law, the disclosure of classified information is a felony criminal violation, no matter who is doing it.
It’s apparent that a group of people in the intelligence community that don’t like the direction of Trump’s foreign policy due to Trump’s repeated statements about establishing better relations with Russia, want to smear him and thwart any rapprochement with Russia.
Russia in turn has previously been discredited with a barrage of claims --- none of them substantiated --- that Russian officials somehow “hacked” the November election and helped Trump win.
Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio told an interview on FOX Business last week that it’s clear what’s going on.
“What’s at the core of this is an effort by some in the intelligence community to upend any positive relationship between the United States and Russia,” he said in the FOX interview, which was also reported by Cleveland.com.
Kucinich added that war profiteering is threatened by a more peaceful relationship with Russia.
“And I tell you there’s marching band and Chowder Society out there. There’s gold in them there hills,” he said. “There are people trying to separate the U.S. and Russia so that this military-industrial-intel axis can cash in.”
He added, “What’s going on here with the intelligence community with the new president is unprecedented. They’re making every effort to upend him….This is like Deep State. It’s like some kind of spy novel. But it’s real. The American people have to understand a game is being played with the security of our country.” ( See “Ex-Rep. Dennis Kucinich says intelligence community schemed against Michael Flynn” http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/02/ex-rep_dennis_kucinich_says_in.html)
Eli Lake, a national security columnist for Bloomberg View, in a piece entitled “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn,” wrote that “Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are among the government’s mostly tightly held secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This what police states do.”
By “permanent state” Lake was referring to the intelligence agencies whose employees, except for appointees at the top, stay in place no matter who is president. They hold sweeping powers and their activities are largely kept secret.
The New York Times and Washington Post, which have led media outlets in giving the anonymous leaks wide play, have reported that a number of people who were part of the Trump campaign are under investigation by the FBI for their ties to Russia.
A congressional investigation is now underway on the claims of Russian election interference, even though cyber experts and former CIA officials have debunked them.
It is surprising that so much of the media and many members of Congress are giving the leaks and inferences of wrongdoing so much credence. After all, the contents of any intercepted phone calls with Russian officials have been known for many months going back into the Obama administration. If there was any indication of illegal activity, that information would have been given to the Attorney General (Janet Lynch) and surely a prosecution would have followed.
But that didn’t happen. Presumably, nothing illegal was found. So why all the fuss? Why is all this stuff being fed to the press?
Is there something illegal about talking with a Russian official now? Are we reverting back to the McCarthy era --- people being investigated for “contacting” a Russian? ‘Are you now or have you ever been consorting with a Russian official’?
There is something very disturbing going on here. Members of the intelligence community are misusing their power to push this country to pursue a geopolitical agenda that they think is appropriate regardless of what the President wants.
Kucinich made a very telling point in his interview. He said the abuse of power by the intell community has to be a concern for all Americans, Republican or Democrat.
“Wake up America,” he said.