The CIA’s Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Still Shape the World Order and US Politics
In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the most powerful former leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency did everything they could to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump. President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morrell published a full-throated endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed “Putin ha[s] recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” while George W. Bush’s post-9/11 CIA and NSA Chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, writing in the Washington Post, refrained from endorsing Clinton outright but echoed Morrell by accusing Trump of being a “useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow” and sounding “a little bit the conspiratorial Marxist.” Meanwhile, the intelligence community under James Clapper and John Brennan fed morsels to both the Obama DOJ and the US media to suggest a Trump/Russia conspiracy and fuel what became the Russiagate investigation.
In his extraordinary election-advocating Op-Ed, Gen. Hayden, Bush/Cheney’s CIA Chief, candidly explained the reasons for the CIA’s antipathy for Trump: namely, the GOP candidate’s stated opposition to allowing CIA regime change efforts in Syria to expand as well as his opposition to arming Ukrainians with lethal weapons to fight Russia (supposedly “pro-Putin” positions which, we are now all supposed to forget, Obama largely shared).
As has been true since President Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA after World War II, interfering in other countries and dictating or changing their governments — through campaigns of mass murder, military coups, arming guerrilla groups, the abolition of democracy, systemic disinformation, and the imposition of savage despots — is regarded as a divine right, inherent to American exceptionalism. Anyone who questions that or, worse, opposes it and seeks to impede it (as the CIA perceived Trump was) is of suspect loyalties at best.
The CIA’s antipathy toward Trump continued after his election victory. The agency became the primary vector for anonymous, illegal leaks designed to depict Trump as a Kremlin agent and/or blackmail victim. It worked to ensure the leak of the Steele dossier that clouded at least the first two years of Trump’s presidency. It drove the scam Russiagate conspiracy theories. And before Trump was even inaugurated, open warfare erupted between the president-elect and the agency to the point where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explicitly warned Trump on the Rachel Maddow Show that he was risking full-on subversion of his presidency by the agency:
Democrats, early in Trump’s presidency, saw clearly that the CIA had become one of Trump’s most devoted enemies, and thus began viewing them as a valuable ally. Leading out-of-power Democratic foreign policy elites from the Obama administration and Clinton campaign joined forces not only with Bush/Cheney neocons but also former CIA officials to create new foreign policy advocacy groups designed to malign and undermine Trump and promote hawkish confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Meanwhile, other ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials, such as John Brennan and James Clapper, became beloved liberal celebrities by being hired by MSNBC and CNN to deliver liberal-pleasing anti-Trump messaging that, on a virtually daily basis, masqueraded as news.
This turned out to be one of the most prescient and important (and creepy) statements of the Trump presidency: from Chuck Schumer to Rachel Maddow - in early January, 2017, before Trump was even inaugurated: pic.twitter.com/TUaYkksILG— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 8, 2019
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