In a couple of blistering tweets this week, President Trump questioned the competency of his national security intelligence agencies, accusing them of naivete when it comes to the threats being posed against the United States. After the agencies issued their yearly assessment of threats facing America around the world, Trump took to Twitter to set the record straight.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran,” the president lamented. “They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
While The New York Times brought its characteristically biased analysis to the situation, claiming that “it revealed the president’s tendency to view everything through the prism of his own achievements,” the tweets actually struck a chord with anyone actually paying attention to Trump’s presidency.
The fact is – and somehow this still escapes the legacy media – that Trump is not just another Republican president. He’s not of a piece with any president we’ve ever had. He ran on – and was elected on – a platform of challenging the establishment for everything this country has done over the past twenty-five years. And if you don’t think that establishment includes our intelligence agencies, we’re not sure what to tell you.
To be sure, Trump almost certainly took personal umbrage with some of the assessments provided by the intel bureaucracy. Among the points of conflict: The intel report said that the Islamic State was still a major threat, that Iran is not working towards a nuclear weapon, and that North Korea was unlikely to complete their promised denuclearization. Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support these claims is one issue; the other is that Trump definitely does not like to be corrected in such a stark fashion.
But there is more to it than that.
Trump feels that, despite being the president, he still does not have a hand in shaping our spy community’s agenda. And there is probably a very good reason for that feeling; simply put, no matter what sorts of political appointees he puts in place, he’s still working against a very entrenched, very set-in-their-ways deep state bureaucracy. And we know from leaks, books, reporters, and the plain facts before our eyes that much of that bureaucracy is filled with lifelong Democrats who want nothing to do with Trump’s agenda. So for the past two years, they’ve done everything in their power to essentially ignore the fact that there’s a new boss in the White House.
We’re sure many higher-ups in the CIA and the NSA were offended by the president’s blunt criticism, but it was long overdue. These agencies have an allegiance to the United States, but they also have a responsibility to the man at the top of the Executive Branch. If they can’t get that straight, they should find other forms of employment.