Special to WorldTribune.com
President Donald Trump’s relationship with the U.S. intelligence community has improved under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also Trump’s first CIA director, and national security adviser John Bolton.
The two Trump allies routinely provide the president with key insights, particularly on priority topics such as North Korea and Iran.
Beneath the loyal upper layer of the intelligence structure, however, is an “embedded bureaucracy that will leak to damage” Trump, security correspondent Rowan Scaborough noted in a Dec. 16 report.
There is no precedent for how the outgoing intelligence leadership under President Barack Obama, led by national intelligence director James Clapper and CIA director John Brennan, turned on an incoming president.
Brennan has “waged war” against a sitting president “whom he likens to a Russian double agent in the White House,” Scarborough noted. “Brennan actively worked with the FBI to provide the names of any Russian connected to a Trump associate.”
Clapper has said he doesn’t trust Trump with the nuclear codes.
Many Republicans say the Brennan-Clapper alliance is evidence of deeper opposition, that “anti-conservative cabals” exist inside the CIA who willingly try to sabotage the Trump administration via leaks to the liberal press.
Going forward, Trump should expect more trouble from Langley, former CIA officer Kent Clizbe told the Washington Times.
“Like their fellows in the media, the Democratic Party and establishment Republicans, the partisans burrowed into the intelligence community believe that they have Trump on the ropes,” Clizbe said. “They believe that with the Democrats coming to power in the House, and the PC-progressive media in full-throated baying for Trump’s blood, their time will come again.”
Those “cabals” are said to be looking for payback after Trump first rejected and then only grudgingly accepted the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump and damage Hillary Clinton.
At Trump Tower, then-FBI Director James Comey brought up the unverified anti-Trump dossier in his first encounter with President-elect Trump, including its salacious parts, without telling him it was funded by Democrats. Trump fired Mr. Comey in May 2017.
The meeting then was leaked to CNN at the same time Clapper was secretly talking to the network, according to the final report by the Republican majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Clapper, who later was hired at CNN as a Trump-bashing analyst, has denied he leaked the story.
Brennan landed a job at another anti-Trump network, MSNBC, where he accused the president of being “drunk with power” after Trump ordered Brennan’s security clearance pulled.
Scarborough noted that “Early on, so intense was the Washington liberal establishment’s animus toward the upstart presidential candidate that Harry Reid of Nevada, at the time the leader of Senate Democrats, urged the CIA to lie to Trump.”
Reid told reporters at the 2016 Democratic National Convention: “I would hope they would give him fake intelligence briefings because they shouldn’t give him anything that means anything, because you can’t trust him.”
As 2018 winds to a close, relations between Trump and his spies has gotten better, according to Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff at the National Security Council and a contributing editor for Geostrategy-Direct.