I am pretty upset about a few items here, but most of all at a deceptive, Orwellian mainstream media (MSM) that deliberately seeks to do nothing but destroy, regardless of cost. What should strike anyone reading this week's reporting of alleged "damaging" leaks to the Russians by the president is: how did news of this purported incident even get into the press?
The president’s concern over such leaks is absolutely understandable to this intel officer — and beyond a doubt it is these continued leaks from government officials that pose a much greater threat to the common good than any terrorist "revelations" to the Russians.
Just ask Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who recently stated that leaks will continue to be a serious security threat to the administration. When the head of the U.S. Intelligence Community states that he is indeed captain of a very leaky ship, I take notice.
As reported, the president "compromised" liaison-provided terrorist intelligence regarding potential attacks by passing them to Russia. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster has denied that any sources/methods were compromised. Still, the MSM's postured outrage is everywhere to be seen like some sort of bloody handprint. I am going to take McMaster at his word.
The president can, in fact, declassify secrets at his discretion — and the nature of the laptop threat — already made public, by the way, since March — was in keeping with the president’s policy of finding common ground with Russia in fighting Islamic extremism.
Sharing knowledge of such a plot doesn't constitute "endangering national security" as the MSM shrilly claims. McMaster pointed out that at no time were sources and methods discussed. For what it's worth, the excellent Russian intel services likely had knowledge of this ISIS plot — they certainly knew of Homeland Security’s March 2017 ban on laptop use on flights to ten Muslim-majority cities!
Yet the MSM would have us believe that this revelation is going to imperil liaison equities and lead to lives lost. Tempest in a teapot. A little perspective on this "event" is in order — which the MSM is loath to provide.
This non-scandal is a classic liberal bait and switch. They would have us believe that the intel equivalent of jaywalking (at worst) is equal to manslaughter, all in their frenzied attempts to misdirect the public and destroy the president.
The liberal media constantly wages a war of moral equivalence with the administration. They would have us believe that their allegations against President Trump are far more severe than the documented, factual transgressions of the Democrats. In actuality, their recent sins posed threats to our national security by orders of magnitude greater than any of their allegations against Trump.
In the recent past we have had grave public revelations of highly sensitive information by our officials, but what we lacked was any media interest — because these deadly serious errors were committed under a Democratic administration.
Under Obama, CIA Director Panetta gave up — on "60 Minutes" no less — that a medical doctor, Shakil Afridi, had been critical to finding Osama bin Laden. This necessitated his evacuation posthaste from Pakistan lest he be killed. Even better, Vice President Joe Biden foolishly revealed that SEAL Team 6 was behind the Operation — resulting in a retaliatory attack that took the lives of some dozen team 6 SEALS (the infamous Extortion 17 flight).
As an intel officer, most unsettling to me is that:
- After the Clinton Foundation is enriched illicitly by the Russian government, we subsequently see unproven allegations of Trump Admin collusion with Russia surface.
- After we know that Hillary’s illegal private server was hacked by foreign intel services and that Obama gave $1.7 billion in cash to Iran covertly in that disastrous deal we are constantly "leaked" stories to show how bad Trump is.
- Sally Yates disingenuous testimony drowns out Susan Rice’s continued refusal to discuss the "unmasking" process before the Senate.
- And let’s not even get started with Comey…
This is all classic misdirection and disinformation from the Russian playbook — but ironically practiced by those who seek to "protect" us from this threat. I have seen such gambits many times over throughout my professional life, but never so omnipresent in my own country.
The real hell of it as a practitioner of the "dark arts" of intelligence, is the more insidious damage incurred by our airing such a frivolous non-issue. Foreign nations and their press exploit such "non-events" for their own purposes, discouraging potential intelligence sources from seeking out CIA in the future and thus making the work of obtaining intelligence harder. All the same, we are told to believe that the MSM has America’s true interests in mind as it wreaks its damage. Foolishness such as this can be quite costly.
Scott Uehlinger is a retired CIA Station Chief and Naval Officer. A Russian speaker, he spent 12 years of his career abroad in the former Soviet Union. In addition to teaching at NYU, he is a frequent Newsmax TV and Fox Business TV commentator, and has a weekly podcast, "the Station Chief," that can be found on iTunes or at www.thestationchief.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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