Writing at National Review, Michael Barone ponders whether or not the intelligence community is trying to undermine Trump:
My ability to read the minds of leaders of the intelligence community is weaker than theirs to read Putin’s, and I lack knowledge of just how the 35-page dodgy dossier found its way into the computerized hands of BuzzFeed. But what we’re seeing looks an awful lot like an attempt by intelligence officials, probably including presidential employees, to delegitimize the president-elect and his administration. It’s in line with the warnings to Trump by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer not to tangle with the intelligence community.
That’s disturbing, even if you are troubled also, as I am, by Trump’s persistent unwillingness to criticize and persistent propensity to praise Putin. Just before Trump met with the press in New York, his nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was fielding pointed questions from Republican senator Marco Rubio about policy toward Russia. Those are fair questions. Russia has invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. There’s evidence — see David Satter’s August 17 piece for National Review — that the Putin regime has committed murder. Meanwhile, Trump booster Sean Hannity has been recalling that the Soviet Union was our ally in World War II. But that was only after Josef Stalin’s erstwhile ally Adolf Hitler invaded Russia and Churchill said, “If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” Things are not so dire today. Perhaps, as Trump says, we can work with Russia in fighting radical Islam. Perhaps not. There’s room for disagreement on that — but not about whether the intelligence community should be undermining the president-elect.
Barone’s question is one that’s even been raised by liberals who dislike Trump, who has challenged the foreign policy status quo. As Greenwald notes:
Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.
This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”
Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss, as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry, and damaging those behaviors might be.
Greenwald’s whole piece is worth a read.
Here’s what’s true: Russia is not our friend, but they did not “hack” our election. Intelligence agencies and their allies in the media that continue to call the Wikileaks dump of Clinton campaign emails “an election hack” seem to be knowingly and disingenuously trying to mislead the American public because they dislike Donald Trump. They would like us to believe that Russian agents hacked our voting machines.
This is not only bad journalism, it’s dangerous. As the Federalist’s Bre Payton notes:
.@Bre_payton: Journalists who are not precise in reporting Russia’s involvement in election are aiding and abetting the Kremlin pic.twitter.com/K43enrRUWc
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) January 13, 2017
Did the Russians want Donald Trump to win? It’s entirely possible. But the bottom line? Reporters, and the intelligence agencies that are feeding them information, have a responsiblity to tell Americans the truth, whether they like the president elect or not. Leaking disinformation for political purposes makes their job that much more difficult, and emboldens our enemies.