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President Trump and his allies have triggered senior intelligence officials who are worried about his plans to declassify documents including those related to the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference with the 2016 election.
Career officials at the CIA and National Security Agency have reportedly fought against the Trump administration’s efforts to release certain documents related to the Russia probe, fearing it could cause permanent damage to intelligence community sources and methods, according to a new CNN report.
As the president made several personnel changes at the NSA and the Pentagon, including firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday, senior intelligence officials expressed fears that he wasn’t done with the shake-up and that declassification of documents was also imminent.
CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency chief Gen. Paul Nakasone have fought against the release of documents related to the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton’s emails by the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe and the former acting DNI Richard Grenell.
Trump’s move this week to place several allies into Pentagon and National Security Agency career positions has intelligence officials and Democrats up in arms, and sparked speculation that the president could be getting ready to also fire Haspel.
“The motives of his recent moves at DoD and NSA remain unclear and are of course speculative, although the partisan personnel he put in place certainly suggest that he is stacking the deck, ultimately to win the fight over further declassification of intel related to the 2016 Russian investigation,” Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired former CIA officer told CNN.
“If he did the same at CIA, install a new hyper-partisan director who would agree to further declassification efforts, it would not only expose and compromise highly classified sources and methods, but also taint the agency in the eyes of our international partners. Simply put, that puts America at great risk,” he added.
According to CNN:
The National Security Agency and the CIA have repeatedly opposed Ratcliffe’s declassification of the unverified intelligence.
Behind the scenes, Haspel has defended the work of career officials who have come under criticism from Trump and allies over 2016-era intelligence work behind the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
But Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee believe Haspel is stonewalling over the release of the documents which are reportedly kept under lock and key at CIA headquarters in Langley.
GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee and wants documents related to the panels’ report on the Russia investigation to be released, told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs last month that the “intelligence services in this country have been corrupted by the Democratic national party and their propaganda arm in the media.”
While the clash between “senior career intelligence officials” and Trump allies has triggered fears in the community and a Democrat uproar, many reactions were not very supportive of their concerns. Social media users reacting to the CNN report slammed the federal officials for having “zero credibility” after what has come to light in four years of attacks on the president.
Oh please—plenty of people at CIA who knew the Russia thing was a big hoax kept their mouths shut for 4 years. Zero credibility. https://t.co/xMLo9leTMf
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) November 12, 2020
Tough crap. Release everything. Everything.
— tobikiriakujin (@tobikiriakujin) November 12, 2020
So what. This issue has been far more damaging to the country. Release everything.
— John C. Barry (Parler: Shrinkgov) (@ShrinkGov) November 12, 2020
unelected bureaucrats eager to get back to zero accountability and a compliant administration and media covering for them.
— President-Elect Arthur Dent (@trashdnscattrd) November 12, 2020
Making the IC look bad is not a reason to withhold the docs.
The public’s right to know far outweighs the career damage to certain actors. This is not hard.
They’ve been objecting for years only for us to find out their objections were personal and spurious once docs released.
— John Doe (@XtamerlaneX) November 12, 2020
Why did they go along with Hillary’s hoax then? Release it all
— The fiery, but mostly peaceful, Kevin Bill (@KevW1962) November 12, 2020
Weird, because that super-duper Dossier somehow got the fast track to the FISA court and NYT.
— Murphy Fowles (@FowlesMurphy) November 12, 2020
If the CIA and NSA decided that American voters were an enemy of the state, how would they behave any differently than they are now?
Disinformation ops, spying on politicians, attempts to destroy elected officials … help me out, what would they do differently?
— Murphy Fowles (@FowlesMurphy) November 12, 2020
Bullshit, they object because declass will be expose Democrats, including HRC and BHO, who used the power of the federal government to depose a duly elected president by the people of the United States.
— Spiritof76 (@QSpirtof76) November 12, 2020
In other words, people are very afraid the truth may see the light of day.
— Mike Rhyner (@mike_rhyner) November 12, 2020
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