An opinion piece in The Financial Times by its commentator Gideon Rachman represents the first admission by a member of the mainstream media of what is becoming increasingly obvious to me…
Donald Trump is winning the war with the spies:
…..the intelligence community has every reason to fear the Trump White House. Mr Trump will appoint their leaders, he will control the trajectory of their careers and, judging by congressional Republicans’ efforts to loosen civil service protections, he may soon have the power to fire them at will….The furore over Russian hacking forced the president-elect to give the current intelligence chiefs an audience. But once he is firmly installed in the White House, he will be in a much better position to impose his will and views on the CIA, the NSA and the FBI. After all, he will be the boss.
It would have been different if the report the US intelligence community had provided contained convincing evidence of the US intelligence community’s claims of Russian interference in the US election. Had there been strong evidence of that Trump would not have been able to disregard it, his legitimacy as President would have been in question, and his authority would have been damaged.
In the event, after making very strong claims on this issue, and after promising to “push the envelope” on what could be revealed, the US intelligence community was unable to support its claims with evidence. This is because that evidence doesn’t exist.
That has put Donald Trump in a winning position despite the continuing attempts of some people to make trouble for him.
Gideon Rachman has incidentally disclosed a key fact about Trump’s meeting with the intelligence chiefs on Friday of which I was previously unaware. This is that Trump went to the meeting with his choice of National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn.
The point about General Flynn is that he is himself a former intelligence chief, having previously been the head of the Defence Intelligence Agency. Moreover it is know that there is little love lost between him and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan.
As a former intelligence chief Flynn would have able to spot immediately the many obvious problems with the US intelligence community’s report and tell Trump about them, helping Trump to prepare his response.
As I have said previously, the statement Trump made following his meeting with the intelligence chiefs on Friday was clearly drafted by a lawyer, showing that Trump is being careful to get legal advice The fact Trump brought Flynn with him to the meeting with the intelligence chiefs on Friday shows that Trump also sought expert advice advice from a senior former intelligence officer.
In other words throughout Trump is being careful to seek the advice of professional and experts, something which in part explains his skillful handling of this scandal.
It is something which incidentally also shows that contrary to his maverick reputation Trump is someone who seeks and listens to expert advice. Since that is what he must have done as a businessman, that should not be surprising.