"Imagine a Justice Department staffed by lawyers as compliant and loyal to the boss as Trump the CEO had assumed at the outset they all would be."
Sources familiar with the effort tell The Daily Beast that efforts within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to join the Intelligence Community are significantly more advanced than those within ICE (The Daily Beast reported last week that ICE officials are also looking to enlist). A former senior DHS official said this effort is especially promising under the Trump administration.
And some veterans are concerned: ‘I can, without your knowledge, spy on you, go get a warrant, and I can detain you.’
Was there an aspect of this that, in your view, became a partisan, political in the sense of — I think if you look at this purely from a nonpartisan intelligence-gathering perspective, and correct me if I’m wrong here, we’re talking about two potentially valuable things to U.S. intelligence. On the one hand getting a sense of what hacking tools that were previously secret are now potentially going to be shared with the world or with the highest bidder, and on the other hand, you have a Russian intermediary who is saying, “We have damaging information on Donald Trump.” From an intelligence perspective, you’re looking at that and you’re saying, this could be a problem if our president is compromised in some way by a foreign adversary.
So presumably that would be the motive of an intelligence operative for trying to determine if that intelligence is real, that they actually have this, and if it does what they say it does, that it damages Trump in some way.
Right, right it’s a minefield — if you’re a CIA case officer or you know somebody from the NSA and you’re trying to figure out, “what’s my job here?” You join the CIA to gather foreign intelligence but suddenly the President the United States is a subject of foreign intelligence collection. And it’s a fascinating dilemma.
And what’s happened at the highest levels of the CIA and the NSA, because your reporting seems to indicate that Mike Pompeo, who we should note is a very militant partisan and is a very clear Trump ally politically, what has Pompeo’s reaction to this attempted intelligence-gathering been?
I can’t prove that it was coming directly from Pompeo, but there was clearly a back-and-forth at the CIA about stopping and starting their involvement in this, that there would be periods where they would want to be involved and periods where they didn’t want anything to do with it. And I believe that came because of the possibility of accepting anything about Trump and the fear that they had within the organization of taking possession of material about Trump. And I think that is clearly something that comes from the top of the agency.
Yeah, I want to read something from your report here. You write, “the agency” — meaning the CIA — “seems to indicate that U.S. intelligence officials are torn about whether to conduct any operations at all that might aid Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.”
And then you continue: “Many intelligence officials are reluctant to get involved with anything related to the Trump-Russia case for fear of blowback from Trump himself, who might seek revenge by firing senior officials and wreaking havoc on their agencies.”
That’s very different than what the kind of Trump camp and Fox News are saying, which is that the deep state is trying to undermine Donald Trump. If I’m reading this correctly, Jim, it seems like what you’re saying is basically the opposite. That the CIA seems to be afraid that they are going to see something that is damaging to Trump and they don’t want to — it’s like see no evil, hear no evil.
Exactly. That’s exactly what happened, I think.
Last but not at all the least example that a police state with Donald Trump at it's head is approaching:
"At the start of 2018, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal chided Trump critics for their dire predictions of looming autocracy. Not, mind you, because Trump lacked autocratic impulses, but because American institutions had proven robust enough to check those impulses. And there is, perhaps, something to that. Trump—according not to the paranoid fears of his opponents, but his own professed desires—would have the government’s law enforcement institutions act as political weapons, aimed by his diktat. His anger and frustration testify that they have, as yet, failed to do so.
Brand’s departure shines a spotlight on the flaw in the Journal’s argument, however: Institutions are, in the end, made up of people. Their cultures and norms are sustained by individual human beings who treat them as binding. But people can be replaced. The primary check on who replaces them, at least at the highest levels, is the United States Senate, whose Republican majority has not demonstrated any very great will to block questionable appointees.
Imagine, then, a Justice Department where the Rachel Brands and the Rod Rosensteins have either sought greener pastures or been booted toward them. Imagine a Justice Department staffed by lawyers as compliant and loyal to the boss as Trump the CEO had assumed at the outset they all would be. Imagine, ultimately, a Justice Department that actually behaves in all the ways Trump constantly and openly insists that it should. Don’t conjure worst-case scenarios dreamed up by Trump’s critics: just assume that Trump’s own words should be taken seriously.
Now realize that the chief practical obstacle to that bleak image being realized is people like Rachel Brand. They are starting to leave. There are three years left."
The departure of Rachel Brand forebodes a future where Trump loyalists control every aspect of the Department of Justice.
Julian Sanchez Feb 12, 20186:59 PM
There are possibly hundreds more examples that an autocratic police state is emerging in the United States.