President Big Mac Probably America's Greatest National Security Threat, So That's GREAT!
Another day, another bucket of stories about how Donald Trump is a national security threat who doesn't listen to the intelligence community, who makes decisions either based on his own know-nothing idiot instincts, or based on whatever the Russians have been whispering in his ear. Can't imagine why the FBI opened that investigation into whether Trump is literally an actual foreign agent for Russia! We also can't imagine that investigation being closed any time soon, assuming it's ongoing as part of Robert Mueller's probe, as we suspect it is.
Lest you think we're being hyperbolic in our headline, you should know that the specific quote is "he's doing the enemy's job for them," and it comes from a current FBI agent, quoted anonymously (of course) in Business Insider. The article comes after Trump's latest fight with the intelligence chiefs he picked, whom he lashed out at after they testified before the Senate and spoke foreign policy truths that happen to be the exact opposite of what Trump believes. The leaks in that article and another one that came out in Time this weekend tell us the intel community is PISSED OFF.
Here's another quote, from another currently serving FBI agent:
"It's like when my son threw temper tantrums when I told him he couldn't do something or if I said something he didn't like. Of course, my son was three years old at the time and wasn't sitting in the Oval Office with the nuclear button," the second agent told INSIDER.
Yeah, we imagine it's just like that.
After Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, and CIA Director Gina Haspel testified for the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, Trump lost his shit on Twitter, calling them "passive and naive," and saying they should "GO BACK TO SCHOOL," because that's a super normal thing for a barely sentient MBA president to say to his hand-picked career intelligence experts.
So the IC is spilling now, even more than it has in the past. They're talking about President Good Brain's reactions to his intelligence briefings, when he hears things he doesn't want to hear. The man doesn't read complicated briefing books, or maybe he can't, and one of the only ways they can keep him on task is if they say his name a whole lot. And according to the folks Time talked to, he literally gets angry during the briefings if they say things that upset him, like "Russia is not your friend" or "Germany is an ally" or whatever:
Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called "willful ignorance" when presented with analyses generated by America's $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump's briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.
What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump's angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds. Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.
That is absolutely terrifying. It also tells you something about where we are right now that we're getting leaks from the most secret intelligence briefings that exist, and that there exists worry that briefers will simply stop giving the Trump the facts, lest they risk his ire.
It's not breaking news that Trump doesn't know anything. (Or that he doesn't work much.) And sometimes it's obviously just that he's ignorant of the world around him, like the time he got really confused about "which one is Baltics and which one is Balkans?" Oh, it don't matter, all that's important is that Vladimir Putin wants them! And we also knew the storyTime retells, about how in one especially charming moment, Trump insisted that Bhutan and Nepal were part of India -- the way the story comes across, it sounds like he was pointing at things on the map and expecting a Snausage for every time he said a good Geography Fact -- and that they are pronounced "Button" and "Nipple." And according to Time, in an early briefing soon after he became president, his main concern about the tiny island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where the US has a base, is whether there are nice people there, and do they have good beaches.
But then there are the things Trump believes, without evidence, that are much scarier than the normal, "Christ, what a dipshit!" stuff. For instance, the stuff that seems to come directly from Vladimir Putin's mouth, like how the Soviet war on Afghanistan was just and righteous, and that Montenegro can't be trusted to be in NATO. Or that America should pull out of NATO.
Hey, did you guys hear America is pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)? It's like Trump literally can't stop himself from giving Putin presents! In the surprise of the century, Russia responded by also pulling out of the treaty and immediately announcing it was going to build so many fuckin' bombs, you're gonna get sick of bombs. ARMS RACE! ARMS RACE! ARMS RACE!
(And yes, Russia was violating the treaty. One good thing about having a treaty is that you have leverage to punish bad actors when they're in violation! Now we don't have that. Oh well, Russia probably won't 'splode the world this week. Maybe next week. Thanks, Trump!)
It's not just Putin either. IC people are freaked out by how in love Trump is with whatever Chinese President Xi Jinping tells him, and how he seems to believe whatever the fuck Kim Jong-un says, maybe because he clearly has a crush on Kim Jong-un:
After Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un last summer, the North claimed to have destroyed its major underground nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, and Trump has gone out of his way to credit the claim.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA), which oversees the spy satellites that map and photograph key areas, had tried to impress upon Trump the size and complexity of the North Korean site. In preparing one briefing for the President on the issue early in his administration, the NGIA built a model of the facility with a removable roof, according to two officials. To help Trump grasp the size of the facility, the NGIA briefers built a miniature version New York's Statue of Liberty to scale and put it inside the model.
Did any of that work on Trump? PFFFFFFFFT. Rocket Man say No Rocket! Of course, Trump and Kim are about to have another summit, so all of this is awesome.
It's not that Trump is not smart, of course. (HEAR US OUT.) The old White House doctor gave him a test to see if he can pick out which one is "camel," and he got it! (Pertinent: Trump's annual physical is coming up. Remember when the old guy, Dr. Ronny Jackson, said Trump was 6'3" and 239 pounds and that his brain worked, and then suddenly that guy had to quit because he was a Drunky McPillPusher or something, and he didn't even get to be the new president of the VA? Yeah. THAT guy. Anyway, Trump wants him back in his old job, before his next physical. Guess he's worried the next doctor might TELL FAKE NEWS.)
Oh wait, sorry, we have just checked with the Constitution and it seems that the president's ability to correctly identify "camel" is actually not an indicator either way as to whether or not they're secret agents of hostile enemy nations. OH WELL.
Want a couple more terrifying quotes about President Stupidest Russian Agent, or would you rather just start drinking early? Hahaha, you get BOTH:
Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative who spent his career recruiting foreign spies as double agents for the US, offered a more sobering assessment.
Trump's repeated unwillingness to accept the findings of his own intelligence community "makes Americans in the national security establishment more vulnerable to approaches by foreign intelligence services — and more vulnerable to accepting those approaches — than any other time in US history," Carle told INSIDER.
"Here's the dilemma: how do you serve an executive who might be a foreign asset and who undermines the functioning of the national security establishment?" Carle said. "If you serve him, you might be betraying your oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. If you don't, then you're betraying your oath to serve the executive and your commander."
Or as former Obama National Security Council official Ned Price put it, "Now our adversaries have a helper who sits in the Oval Office."
[Business Insider / Time]
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