Monday, February 13, 2017

Inelligence Services Withhold Intel From Trump: Kremlin “Has Ears” Inside White House

Former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer John Schindler has a piece in The Observer - the paper is owned by Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner - that ought to terrify patriotic Americans. In the piece the author describes how U.S. Intelligence services are withholding information from Der Trumpenführer out of concerns that anything shred with the White House will be shared with the Kremlin.  Despite this reality, many of the "America first" crowd in the rabid dog GOP party base continue to rally around a possible traitor and denigrate those who voice concerns over the likely Russian ties.  Here are excerpts from the article:  
In a recent column, I explained how the still-forming Trump administration is already doing serious harm to America’s longstanding global intelligence partnerships. In particular, fears that the White House is too friendly to Moscow are causing close allies to curtail some of their espionage relationships with Washington—a development with grave implications for international security, particularly in the all-important realm of counterterrorism.
Now those concerns are causing problems much closer to home—in fact, inside the Beltway itself. Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.
The president has repeatedly gone out of his way to antagonize our spies, mocking them and demeaning their work, and Trump’s personal national security guru can’t seem to keep his story straight on vital issues.
That’s Mike Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who now heads the National Security Council. Widely disliked in Washington for his brash personality and preference for conspiracy-theorizing over intelligence facts, Flynn was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for managerial incompetence and poor judgment—flaws he has brought to the far more powerful and political NSC.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has bluntly asked for the national security adviser’s ouster. Republicans on the Hill who would prefer that the White House stop lying to the public about its Kremlin links ought to get behind Schiff’s initiative before the scandal gets worse.
In truth, it may already be too late. A new report by CNN indicates that important parts of the infamous spy dossier that professed to shed light on President Trump’s shady Moscow ties have been corroborated by communications intercepts. In other words, SIGINT strikes again, providing key evidence that backs up some of the claims made in that 35-page report compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official with extensive Russia experience.
I can confirm from my friends still serving in the IC that the SIGINT, which corroborates some of the Steele dossier, is damning for the administration. Our spies have had enough of these shady Russian connections—and they are starting to push back.
Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.
In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.
NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.
What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.
This is a risky situation, particularly since President Trump is prone to creating crises foreign and domestic with his incautious tweets. In the event of a serious international crisis of the sort which eventually befalls almost every administration, the White House will need the best intelligence possible to prevent war, possibly even nuclear war. It may not get the information it needs in that hour of crisis, and for that it has nobody to blame but itself.

Be very, very afraid!

No comments: