In the aftermath of President Trump’s summit with Russian President Putin, the media were filled with almost universal condemnation of Trump’s actions. Chief among the condemnations was outrage over Trump’s comments about US intelligence agencies and their findings with regard to Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. In the eyes of the media, Trump threw his intelligence agencies under the bus, disregarding their findings and showing willingness to trust Putin more than his own intelligence community. But is distrusting US intelligence agencies really such a bad thing?
Just as the Soviet Union and its successor state, Russia, were controlled by the KGB intelligence apparatus, the United States has slowly but surely come under the control of the CIA and the intelligence community. That’s the real “deep state” to be worried about. And given its history of doctoring intelligence to bring about its desired foreign policy goals, the history of its leaders lying to Congress, and the willingness of former high-ranking intelligence officials to undermine the elected leadership of the country, anything the intelligence community produces or says should be taken with an enormous grain of salt.
The intelligence community has infiltrated and interwoven itself into American society so as to convince the overwhelming majority of people that its goals are synonymous with American interests. CIA infiltration of the media and intelligentsia began in the 1950s and is well-known and documented. Even those in the media and intelligentsia who weren’t directly on the CIA’s payroll may still cooperate with the agency. They fill the same role as IMs (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter – unofficial collaborator) to East Germany’s Stasi. In exchange for cooperation with the agency they are rewarded, perhaps fed little tidbits of information here and there to help boost their reputation as serious journalists, analysts, or scholars. That’s why we’ve seen such universal disapproval of Trump’s actions in the media.
The intelligence community has convinced Americans that it is indispensable, necessary to protect American citizens from the evil bogeymen who lurk in every alleyway and around every street corner. It needs a bad guy to fight against, and Russia is the perfect foil. The prospect of cordial relations with Russia (and North Korea) fills the intelligence community with fear because it will no longer have a ready enemy it can point to in order to justify its continued existence.
Previous Presidents have been captive to the intelligence establishment, believing every piece of intelligence they are presented, no matter how doctored. In essence, they have acted as water carriers for the intelligence community. But President Trump isn’t like previous Presidents, and announced before taking office that he wasn’t going to be beholden to the intelligence establishment. The intelligence community couldn’t abide by that, which is why we’re seeing the witch hunt of the Mueller investigation attempting to tie alleged Russian meddling in US elections to the Trump campaign. The intelligence community has it in for President Trump and will stop at nothing to try to remove him from office.
The idea that a President could talk one-on-one with a foreign counterpart is anathema to the President’s handlers, who see themselves as the “adults in the room,” the “experts” to whom the President should listen and from whose policy proposals the President could choose. A President who dispenses with the advice of his mandarins, relegating them to the margins, is a direct threat to the livelihood of the establishment’s policy wonks, who are know being shown up as the unnecessary, unimportant bureaucrats that they really are.
Their little fiefdoms, in which they exercise power and use the influence of the US government to pursue their own personal vendettas at taxpayer expense, conflating their aims with those of the United States, are now under attack. The question now is who will win? Will the President exert his will and bring the intelligence community to heel, or will the intelligence establishment successfully rid itself of a President who they perceive to be a direct threat to business as usual?