In my past writings on a different platform, I have learned the hard way that I need to write a detailed “disclaimer” about my personal politics before writing about grave national security risks, involving politicians. As that today’s article is to revisit what I now consider a most grave, national security risk, embodied by our former POTUS, here is that disclaimer and today’s article.
My mom was a life-long Republican and dad, a life-long Democrat. Both were college educated and both of whom, voted across party lines, depending on facts and issues. But then again, both parties were far closer together during my formative years than they are now. My political beliefs fall in between but I scrupulously adhere to family tradition when it comes to weighing truth about people or issues. Truth and critical thinking matter.
Why this matters, is that I consider myself an “Eisenhower Republican,” because, not only was he a personal hero but he was also a remarkable leader, grounded in morality, truth and pragmatic thinking. Today, his beliefs would place him, like me, as an unpopular centrist on a path to supporting all of our nation’s highest values. Mostly, he was also visionary when it comes to national security, and who put party aside when doing the hard work, of protecting our nation, and the free world on moral grounds, not political ideology. Remember his warning about the “military industrial complex?”
- A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be might, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. . .. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. . .. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. . .. 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.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
January 17, 1961
Another personal hero has always been our only “independent” POTUS, George Washington who despised and feared what today we call, political parties. In his time, they were called factions. Washington’s Farewell Address, published in 1792 and as he retired after his second term in office, warned vigorously against the rise of factions.
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
-George Washington’s FAREWELL ADDRESS | SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1796
Also, like both of these personal heroes, I hold wild, ideological claims, often supported by conspiracy theories, in utter disdain. Like my family tradition of pragmatic, morally grounded truth, both of these iconic leaders are exemplary of the American values that I was raised with. Both also gave their entire adult life to what Roman philosophers called “virtue”. Roman virtue centered on public service or what today we might better call, service to the greater good. Pulitzer Prize winner, Tom Ricks goes into great detail about this perspective of virtue in his excellent new book, First Principles, which details how our founders saw the world through Greek and Roman philosophers.
The bottom line to this disclaimer is that I revere these heroes and like both, do all possible to divorce my own personal biases when analyzing threats to our nation. Recommendations stemming from that analysis are offered with no conscious political bias in mind. I have had the good fortune to have had some professional successes, stemming from this approach. In our currently hyper-partisan nation, I highly recommend giving this approach a try. It’s also helps me achieve what was described in the unwritten but driving mantra of the military unit that I most closely identified with; “leave things better than you found them.”
I hope this clears up my views on politics, problem-solving and ethics regarding national security.
Now, for today’s reminder about one of our potentially worst, national security threats in the history of our nation, Former POTUS Trump and his vulnerability to and likely compromise by the foreign intelligence services of ours and our allies’ security.
First and foremost, there is no plausible excuse for the fact that some of our most highly guarded secrets were found at Mar-a-Lago. Having spent most of my adult life with a TS/ SCI security clearance, along with several of added “caveats,” I and everyone else knows all too well that his actions are felonies. Although I have allowed my clearance to expire in semi-retirement, while still holding that clearance, I and everyone else was advised constantly of the legal repercussions to doing what the former POTUS has done. In fact, we were required to take, at a minimum, yearly tests on the legal issues. Even today, NARA has communicated to Congress and DOJ that they still are not sure if they have retrieved everything from Trump or his team.
This comes on the heels of the revelations that those docs and materials have been subpoenaed multiple times and have been met with obstruction multiple times. There is not one reason that anyone has a need for such information in their personal possession. The items listed in both affidavit and warrant, when compromised by foreign intelligence, provides what is legally termed, “a grave risk” to national security. The materials also included similar levels of risk to our closest allies. To clear up the “elephant-in-the-room” issue; yes, I believe that some of these materials have already been compromised by foreign intelligence… at a minimum.
Based on the background-check investigatory system and required re-investigations over time, had Donald Trump not been an elected official, not one person with his connections to foreign intelligence (mostly Russian in his case) could have ever obtained any level of clearance, least of all, a high clearance. Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to appoint a “Special Master” is beyond risky regarding these classified materials. Any delay in allowing the IC/ Intelligence Community to fully assess the damage done, exponentially increases the risk to our nation and our allies and partners around the world.
Hyper-partisan bickering over the SSCI, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Republican led) report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, ignores the most serious aspect of that report which is best summarized by the 966 pages of VOL 5, the CI, Counterintelligence report. Here is one of the findings from VOL 5, page 943:
“The Committee's bipartisan Report found that Paul Manafort, while he was Chairman of the Trump Campaign, was secretly communicating with a Russian intelligence officer with whom he discussed Campaign strategy and repeatedly shared internal Campaign polling data. This took place while the Russian intelligence operation to assist Trump was ongoing. Further, Manafort took steps to hide these communications and repeatedly lied to federal investigators, and his deputy on the Campaign destroyed evidence of communications with the Russian intelligence officer. The Committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the GRU's hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election. This is what collusion looks like.”
Okay friends, here are a couple of “takeaways” from today’s piece:
1. My motives are simple and revolve exclusively around our national security.
2. All evidence points clearly towards Russian collaboration, at a minimum from Trump’s candidacy through his presidential term.
3. His felonious removal of NARA materials and highly classified and extremely sensitive materials to his possession to his unsecured resort/ residence poses an extreme national security risk to the US and our allies/ partners
4. Trump’s exploitability due to his colossal debts to sketchy lenders like Deutsche Bank and oligarch related funds, are beyond severe risks to national security
5. Due to a variety of publicly available information, there is a very high likelihood that some materials at a minimum have already been compromised.
6. Considering the illegal, immoral assault on democracy by Russia against her sovereign neighbor Ukraine, that intelligence risk is potentially far more severe.
7. Trump’s constant, immoral and conspiracy theory-centered rhetoric is precisely the well-documented tactics employed by the Soviet Union since the very beginning of the Cold War. The current Russians and their Soviet predecessors call this, “Active Measures.” Its intent has always been the oldest tactic in military journals… to divide and conquer. In other words, Putin has employed Soviet era tactics to remove the concept of “United” from the title of our nation with the sole intent of dividing us and destroying democracy.
Literally, the bottom line is, that our former POTUS, came to office with Russian assistance for their sole reason of undermining the US by pitting Americans against each other. No one or no institution is safe, as demonstrated by the recent DOJ action against, Viktor Ionov and Trump’s activities since the beginning of his campaign.
The only remaining question is, will Trump loyalists, put country over political identity… or not? Putin wants to know.
National Security Council, The White House U.S. Department of State Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of the Director of National Intelligence U.S. Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Today Magazine United States Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Security Innovation Forum and COE NATO NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) UK Ministry of Defence The Associated Press Reuters BBC News The New York Times The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post San Antonio Express-News Houston Chronicle The Dallas Morning News Austin American-Statesman El Paso Times Columbus Dispatch The Kansas City Star Chicago Tribune Media Group The Denver Post The Seattle Times Los Angeles Times The San Diego Union-Tribune Narrative Strategies Information Professionals Association Doowan Lee USSOCOM Joint Special Operations University Alan Malcher MA The Texas Tribune
The Associated Press often has what they call an "explainer" to help readers better understand complex issues of importance.
The following link explains in plain language what an "intelligence assessment" of the classified documents actually entails. This is a critical issue for the current situation, regarding the illegal removal and possession of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.