Trump smart to be skeptical of FBI, CIA — just look at their track record
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After the 9/11 attacks it was revealed that U.S. intelligence agencies, specifically the FBI and CIA, knew of a plot to hijack passenger jets and use them as guided missiles. Ultimately, al Qaeda hijackers would fly planes into into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and probably either the White House or Capitol Building in Washington DC.

The plan was well orchestrated and executed by America’s premier enemy.  It was the most outrageous, brazen, daring attack on the American homeland since Pearl Harbor, notwithstanding the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

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In the aftermath, as we began to wrap our collective heads around what had happened, and as President Bush famously put his arm around the firefighter at Ground Zero and vowed through a bullhorn to bring the terrorists to justice, and as “America’s Mayor,” Rudy Giuliani, hugged and blew kisses to all Americans, the dismal information started to drizzle in.

 

In bits and pieces we began to learn how our intelligence agencies let this catastrophe slip through their fingers. A Congressional report found that agencies failed to share intelligence with among one other about the hijackers and the planned attack. They disgraced themselves, they let us down, “big time” as President TrumpDonald John TrumpSpecial counsel issues rare statement disputing BuzzFeed's Cohen report Salvation Army offers to cover furloughed federal workers' electric, gas bills in Virginia Beer lobby struggles with shutdown MORE might say.

The FBI knew about but did not pursue the eventual hijackers. The CIA certainly saw the red flags. They saw it coming from far enough away to have prevented it.

The intelligence ground work was good, it was accurate, but interagency sibling rivalry and intra-agency competition … along with jealousy, egos, apathy and inaction all got in the way of this information being used to either prevent the attack or lessen the damages.

As a result of the competition and mistrust between our own intelligence agencies against themselves, in what must be a vicious and uncompromising chain of command, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans died on an otherwise beautiful, routine September workday morning.

Is there any wonder or question why President Trump is being cautious about these “intelligence briefings?”  

Our U.S. intelligence agencies have a history of rivalry and competition, and information manipulation. Their trustworthiness and accuracy is legitimately questionable.  

They, in conjunction with the White House, told us Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” This inaccurate information played into the political agenda of the Bush administration, and the result was another embarrassing, devastating chapter in American history.

Is there any question why President Trump is swimming upstream against the tide of intelligence agency inaccuracy, and political as well as self-serving, agendas?

The NSA told us they would not and did not tap into Americans’ personal telephone calls and internet accounts. They lied. There is simply no other way to put it.

Is there any question why President Trump is taking a hard line on his view of the U.S. intelligence community?

For all the good our intelligence agencies do and have done, it is compromised by a history of human compromise.

At the onset of World War II, British intelligence agencies revealed a plot of collaboration between Japan and Germany. British double agents were used to unravel the information, and their services were offered to the American FBI agency.  

With unprecedented arrogance, egomania, and jealousy — and a personal agenda of career advancement and legacy — J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the FBI, allegedly suppressed information that revealed the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The information was part of a questionnaire the British double agent was given by his German handlers on behalf of the Japanese.  

In August of 1941, a British double agent was sent to the U.S. on a mission by Germany to obtain specific information regarding U.S. troops, munitions, aircraft, armament, fuel storage, etc., including very specific information about Pearl Harbor’s protection and defense capabilities.      

J. Edgar Hoover, head of Americas’ FBI, apparently didn’t trust the agent and declined to pass on much of the warning to the White House.

The Michigan State University historians who published the evidence, originally found in FBI documents and documents in the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential library, wrote that Hoover paid more attention to his own ego and self advancement by stealing the undercover work and espionage secrets:

"Hoover wanted to look good to the president and gain points against his rivals — namely, the other U.S. intelligence agencies and MI6 (British intelligence).”

Hoover underscored his mistrust of the British agencies either unwittingly or by design, by promoting mistrust of his Brit counterpart agencies, by showing the British double agent the door and reporting all this to President Roosevelt. This historical information is also offered in a new book by Larry Loftis, “Into the Lion’s Mouth,” but the pattern proven time and time again in our own era and experience.    

So, is it any wonder why President Trump is critical and looking closely at the U.S. intelligence community? Or why he is taking a fresh new approach to an entire governmental system seemingly laid waste by complacency and incompetence, and much worse, by politics and arrogance?

Trump may be headed for the biggest screw-up in American history, but we elected him.

We owe it to ourselves to give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s not second guess his intent or methods. He’s different from the standard fare politicians we’re used to; that’s why we elected him.  

His curiosity and caution moving forward may either get him impeached, or, in time, render him the most beloved president in U.S. history. The times we live in present little other choice.       

John Kushma is a communication consultant and lives in Logan, Utah.


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