President-elect Donald Trump’s naming of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser; Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R/AL) as attorney general; and Rep. Michael Pompeo (R/KS) as director of the Central Intelligence Agency suggests that the dangerous positions taken by Trump during the presidential campaign will be supported by his national security team. All three of these men have pandered to the Trump agenda and have taken particularly hardline views on matters dealing with immigration, the Muslim community, and the use of force. If Donald Trump actually decides to name a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s use of email at the Department of State, then he will have the support of these three men.
Lt. Gen. Flynn is in a position to do the most damage to the national security interests of the United States. He was forced into retirement from the military in 2014 when the Joint Chiefs of Staff needed to stop his politicization of intelligence as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and his brutal management style resembling that of Captain Queeq on the USS Caine. Although the general has been praised for his work in the operational and tactical fields, there are no examples of the kind of strategic thinking or experience to believe that Flynn would be useful in coordinating the policy views of the entire national security bureaucracy or in providing objective and balanced intelligence to the president. Flynn has already changed his views to accommodate the interests of Trump.
Rep. Pompeo was an initial supporter of the Tea Party, and predictably took positions against abortion (even in cases of rape and incest); against the Affordable Care Act; and against any effort on the part of the Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate greenhouse gases. He favors a return to unrestricted massive surveillance by the National Security Agency; a death sentence for Edward Snowden; and more vigorous use of enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo. When his committee was confronted with pictures of hunger strikers at Guantanamo, Pompeo facetiously remarked that it “looked like that they had put on weight.”
The appointment of a neo-conservative national security team points the Trump administration in an extreme hardline direction. It is possible that the Director of National Intelligence will be weakened or even eliminated, and that the CIA will become even more involved in covert action, including regime change. The sudden resignation of General James Clapper as director of national intelligence certainly points in this direction.
President Barack Obama’s failure to limit the CIA’s paramilitary role and to seek accountability for the conduct of torture and abuse will allow president-elect Trump to get the CIA more heavily involved in paramilitary activities, which have damaged the reputation of the United States and the CIA in the past. Although President Obama had some success in bringing sunlight into the darkened corridors of the national security state, president-elect Trump’s appointment of these individuals suggests that the secret state will once again expand.
The article has been excerpted from: ‘Trump’s Inner Circle: Here Come the Troglodytes’.