America's Spies Took Down Michael Flynn. That is
February 15, 2017 "Information
United States is much better off without Michael
Flynn serving as national security adviser. But
no one should be cheering the way he was brought
whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and
ongoing collapse of America's democratic
institutions — not a sign of their resiliency.
Flynn's ouster was a soft coup (or
political assassination) engineered by
anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats.
The results might be salutary, but this isn't
the way a liberal democracy is supposed to
Unelected intelligence analysts work for the
president, not the other way around. Far too
many Trump critics appear not to care that these
intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive
information to the press — mostly because Trump
critics are pleased with the result. "Finally,"
they say, "someone took a stand to expose
collusion between the Russians and a senior aide
to the president!" It is indeed important that
someone took such a stand. But it matters
greatly who that someone is and how they take
their stand. Members of the unelected,
unaccountable intelligence community are not the
right someone, especially when they target a
senior aide to the president by leaking
anonymously to newspapers the content of
classified phone intercepts, where the
unverified, unsubstantiated information can
inflict politically fatal damage almost
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
President Trump was roundly mocked among
liberals for that tweet. But he is, in many
ways, correct. These leaks are an enormous
problem. And in a less polarized context, they
would be recognized immediately for what they
clearly are: an effort to manipulate public
opinion for the sake of achieving a desired
political outcome. It's weaponized spin.
doesn't mean the outcome was wrong. I have no
interest in defending Flynn, who appears to be
an atrocious manager prone to favoring absurd
conspiracy theories over more traditional forms
of intelligence. He is just about the last
person who should be giving the president advice
about foreign policy. And for all I know, Flynn
did exactly what the anonymous intelligence
community leakers allege — promised the Russian
ambassador during the transition that the
incoming Trump administration would back off on
sanctions proposed by the outgoing Obama
Join with over 100,000 people in more than 140
countries, who place people before profit
matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role
of the deep state to target a man working in one
of the political branches of the government by
dishing to reporters about information it has
gathered clandestinely. It is the role of
elected members of Congress to conduct public
investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public
Congress won't act? What if both the Senate and
the House of Representatives are held by the
same party as the president and members of both
chambers are reluctant to cross a newly elected
head of the executive branch who enjoys
overwhelming approval of his party's voters? In
such a situation — our situation —
shouldn't we hope the deep state will rise up to
act responsibly to take down a member of the
administration who may have broken the law?
answer is an unequivocal no.
liberal democracy, how things happen is
often as important as what happens.
Procedures matter. So do rules and public
accountability. The chaotic, dysfunctional Trump
White House is placing the entire system under
enormous strain. That's bad. But the answer
isn't to counter it with equally irregular acts
of sabotage — or with a disinformation campaign
waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in
the surveillance state.
Lake of Bloomberg News put it in an
important article following Flynn's
Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and
citizens are some of the most tightly held
government secrets. This is for good reason.
Selectively disclosing details of private
conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA
gives the permanent state the power to
destroy reputations from the cloak of
anonymity. This is what police states do. [Bloomberg]
cheering the deep state torpedoing of Flynn are
saying, in effect, that a police state is
perfectly fine so long as it helps to bring down
the role of Congress to investigate the
president and those who work for him. If
Congress resists doing its duty, out of a
mixture of self-interest and cowardice, the
American people have no choice but to try and
hold the government's feet to the fire,
demanding action with phone calls, protests,
and, ultimately, votes. That is a democratic
response to the failure of democracy.
back and letting shadowy, unaccountable agents
of espionage do the job for us simply isn't an
that path lies the end of democracy in America.
Damon Linker is a senior correspondent at TheWeek.com.
He is also a consulting editor at the University
of Pennsylvania Press, a former contributing
editor at The New Republic, and
the author of
The Theocons and The Religious Test.
The views expressed in this article are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Information Clearing
Chuck Schumer says CIA is plotting REVENGE
AGAINST President Trump
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of
this article nor is Information ClearingHouse
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)