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Monday, January 16, 2017

A unique opportunity for the Trump Transition Team.

The last eight years were a time of uncertainty and frustration for many in the intelligence community.  In the beginning, no one knew exactly what to expect from the incoming Obama Administration.  I can't say I was terribly surprised with the now famous "apology tour", because during the 2008 campaign, Obama did not disguise his contempt for previous U.S. policy in support of pro-US dictators.  Obama also spoke out regarding attempts by US intelligence agencies to clandestinely impact foreign events, including elections and revolutions.  But 2008 was a far cry from 1965, and the CIA and NSA of the twenty-first century are built to collect intelligence in two directions: in suppprt of national security, and in furtherance of current Administration policy.  The intelligence community expected the incoming Obama Administration to continue efforts to collect against terrorist targets, but to also have a list of new targets, in support of Obama's diplomatic initiatives.  Almost from the start, it was difficult to determine the direction of Obama's foreign policy, although the Obama Administration did not takes steps to diplomatically re-align US foreign policy, at least not overnight.

Although the Obama Administration on occasion allowed US Army Special Forces into battle zones in support of our allies, most foreign policy initiatives were introduced through the end of a pen.  Obama was determined to avoid utilizing US military power at every opportunity, although he did not shy away from imposing sanctions.  Over time, the Obama foreign policy became more and more difficult to define.  The imtelligence agencies started to suffer a higher rate of officer turnover than usual.  I can't say for certain that the Directorate of Operations received more resignations and early-retirements that expected because of Obama's policies, but I believe they had a definite impact.  I have yet to meet a CIA employee who is not a true patriot.  One of the main reasons people apply to join the Agency is the opportunity to support US foreign policy from the front lines.  Regardless of personal politics, many officers became frustrated by their inability to decipher our long-term foreign policy goals.  I know numerous officers from different directorates who left the Agency during the Obama Administration, and in most instances it was because of job disastisfaction.  Don't misunderstand; I didn't hear complaints about management, working conditions, benefits, or inter-office issues.  Frequently I was told that the mission had lost its clarity.  The rapid withdrawal from Iraq impacted many Agency officers personally, and later during the Obama presidency, the nuclear agreement with Iran was oppposed by many in the intel community.

Of all the judgements being passed down by Democrat politicians, social agitators, and the entertainment community, no one has yet to accuse President-Elect Trump of being shy.  His pre-inauguration commentary has included certain harsh observations regarding the intelligence community.  With the exception of the Congressional 9-11 review and the investigation into Iraq's suspected WMD program, I don't recall the CIA having to deal with so much intense public scrutiny.  My how things have changed.  Agency employees, especially officers from the Directorate of Operations, are very familiar with the terms, "discretion", "confidential", and "covert".  Now it seems the Agency is in the news everyday.  My ability to understand recent events is limited because I'm now on the outside, looking in.  Frankly, I'm still waiting for the previously promised "proof" that Russia aggressively cyber-targeted the Clinton campaign in an effort to ensure a Trump victory.  I have no doubt that the Russians hacked the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  Spies collect intelligence on targets of interest, and no one gets a day-off because a national campaign is unfolding.  I can assure you that the Russians also attempted to hack into the Trump Campaign and the RNC, and the Chinese were knocking on the door as well.  This feigned shock and indignation is all a bunch of affectation by people who should know better.  But this is the season for politicizing everything, folks.  The mainstream media wants the American people to believe that, in a determined effort to get Donald Trump elected, the Russians hacked a bunch of emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta's email account.  Next, the Russians passed the emails to Wikileaks, who released the salicious details to the public.  This was Russia's determined effrot to get get Trump elected.  Have you read the emails?  I would be embarrassed if I were the Democrats (and royally pissed-off if I were Bernie Sanders), but I can't fathom how anyone would make their decision to vote, one way or another, based on the Wikileaks emails.  Then, before anyone had an opportunity to catch their breath, came the announcement that the CIA and FBI were investigating an allegation against Donald Trump that involved a ritzy Moscow hotel room and two Russian hookers in 2015.  Wow.  Could this announcement not have waited until after the inauguration?  Not when the goal is to deligitimize the results of the 2016 election, which seems to be the goal of every mainstream-media story these days.  Be that as it may, the Agency has been the target or subject matter of the press for too long.  The professionals at the CIA are trained to work discreetly, and many times in confidential locations.  The organization can't function effectively when it is under so much scrutiny, which sadly is the result of the politicization of just about every branch of the US government by the Obama Administration.

The positive side of the coin- this environment will result in more honest, experienced, hard-working intelligence officers who may have retired early, deciding to return to the work they love.  There is a new sheriff in town, as they say, and he seems sincerely determined to support the intelligence community in ways that will allow for a return to more humint collection and less politicization.  I supported Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, and I have great faith that his inauguration will herald positive change in the United States.  The intelligence community will do its part, and I expect the Trump Transition Team will recognize the opportunity that awaits with a review of resigned or retired intel officers who also strongly supported Donald Trump.  My case is a bit unique- I retired Medically Disabled, and have worked to regain my health so that I may return to work.  Like many others, I have submitted my application and resume because I want to do my duty, to be part of a rebust national security effort which President-Elect Donald Trump will inspire.  To quote President-Elect Trump, "much work needs to be done"; that work will not be accomplished by the entertainment industry multi-millionaire elite who, for some reason, believe that being a skillful actor equates to being entitled to decide the future of our nation.  Sixty-three million US citizens provided Donald Trump a clear and decisive electoral victory, which in the long-run will benefit even his greatest critiques.  Donald Trump is making America Great Again.

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