Former Administration, Current Spies

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You may have noticed the increasing role of “former officials” in news stories about the Trump administration, particularly regarding U.S. spy agencies.  Here’s an example from a Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee article in the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.

Later on in the article, it becomes clear that it’s probably a non-story.  Spy agencies have withheld plenty of information about process and such, and the “current and former officials” “emphasized that they know of no instance in which crucial information about security threats or potential plotting has been withheld.”  What they claim is new is the “motivation” of those withholding information.

To the point at hand, though, the idea of “former officials” playing a role planting negative stories about their successors brings to mind stories about a “shadow government,” in which Obama and his allies are working either through outside organization or held-over employees to cause problems for Trump.  The Michael Flynn story ought to raise the level of concern.

As Michael Walsh writes on PJ Media, in the waning days of the Obama administration, the president expanded the ability of the NSA to share “intercepted personal communications”:

Once compartmentalized to avoid injuring private citizens caught up in the net of the Black Widow (as we all are already) and her technological successors, the NSA was suddenly handed greater latitude in what it could share with other, perhaps more politicized bodies of the intelligence community. Why?

It wasn’t that long ago that Americans (including journalists) used to care about spy agencies’ turning their attention inward to Americans. However, since it was the progressive favorite, Barack Obama, who pushed the erosion and the progressive bête noire, Donald Trump, who is being targeted, it’s apparently not a big deal.

One would think that the very election of Trump would have taught progressives a lesson about weaponizing the government.  Unfortunately, they appear to be doubling down and putting their hope in the unelected bureaucracy to do as they wish, now that they’ve badly lost in the election arena.

Think carefully, progs.  The bureaucracy can change, too.  All that has to happen is that their interests diverge from yours.



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