Home alone yesterday evening, and apparently emboldened by the steroids he
is now taking, President Tweety McTreason sent out a storm of Tweets that included
a unprecedentedly bold challenge to the FBI and CIA to stop their foot dragging
and declassify documents related to Russiagate and Hillary Clinton.
was probably his plummeting poll numbers as much as the steroids that accounted
for his rhetorical forcefulness, but Trump has now openly thrown down the gauntlet
to the National Security State.
he is the president, but he is not likely to prevail.
the president-elect didn’t know on Jan. 3, 2017, when Senate Minority
Leader Chuck Schumer publicly warned that the intelligence community “has six
ways to Sunday” to thwart a president, he does know now.
understands that taking on the FBI and CIA is inherently risky. His public upbraiding
and instructions to them on Twitter should be seen as a sign of desperation.
is likely to come across as impulsive and impotent in the weeks remaining before
the election because – if past is precedent – the security agencies will probably
double-down on slow-walking his declassification demands.
stakes are high for senior officials of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department.
Remember: they fully expected Hillary Clinton to win in 2016; they took liberties
with the law to make sure she did; and, when she didn’t, they had to hustle
to hide their tracks.
Tuesday night Trump tweeted:
I have fully authorized the total Declassification of
any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME
in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email
Scandal. No redactions! https://t.co/GgnHh9GOiq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October
have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents
pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia
Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”
a subsequent tweet (now apparently deleted) the president added:
“All Russian Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately
for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps
the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!”
ago?” A president, of course, has the authority to declassify virtually all
classified intelligence-related information. Senior Republican congressmen have
begged him again and again to use that authority.
a TV interview Sunday, for example, Republican Devin Nunes, ranking member on
the House Intelligence Committee, visibly agitated and angry, said:
“Every Republican senator and member of Congress should be saying… we want
every damn bit of evidence that every intelligence agency has or it’s maybe
time to shut those agencies down.”
Tilting Trump’s Tweets
practice in recent years has seen the heads of the FBI and CIA take their own
sweet time to comply – the more so, when the data to be declassified puts themselves
in a negative or even criminal light.
heads of the National Security State bureaucracy have shown considerable adroitness
in finding ways to delay or simply not comply (as though invoking their Fifth
Amendment rights regarding self-incrimination).
they were to really “follow the book,” Executive Order 13526, section 1.7 provides
that information that is evidence of a crime, should not remain classified.
Oct. 21, 2017, Trump tweeted that in accordance with a law passed by Congress,
“I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES
to be opened.”
days later, came a headline
in The Washington Post: “JFK files: The promise of revelations derailed
by CIA, FBI.”
decision to delay release of 30,000 of the potentially most sensitive files
for another six months frustrated historians. The issue was supposed to be revisited
in 180 days, but nothing further was heard of it.
54 years after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the CIA and FBI demanded
more time to decide what secrets to keep hiding – and a chastened
Tweety McTreason bowed to their power.
will take more than a presidential Tweet to get recalcitrant players like FBI
Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, and the powerful institutions
they lead, to comply.
Wray has been a major stumbling block and will remain inclined to give priority
to protecting his former colleagues. Haspel, who reportedly was directly involved
in the offshore Russiagate operations from her perch as CIA chief of station,
London, has her own derriere, as well as those of her fellow workers, to protect.
could have already fired both for slow-walking release of evidence. He could
also fire them now, of course, but it is doubtful that, even on steroids, he
would have the temerity to do so.
Hat, No Cattle
current kerfuffle began a week ago when Director of National Intelligence John
Ratcliffe dropped a bombshell in response to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
Lindsay Graham’s standing request for information regarding the FBI’s handling
of its Russiagate investigation.
following declassified information to the committee:
“In late July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian
intelligence analysis alleging that US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against US Presidential candidate
Tweety McTreason by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic
National Committee. The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or
the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration
“According to his handwritten notes, former Central Intelligence Agency
Director Brennan subsequently briefed President Obama and other senior national
security officials on the intelligence, including the ‘alleged approval by Hillary
Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors
to vilify Tweety McTreason by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian
“On 07 September 2016, US intelligence officials forwarded an investigative
referral to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence
Peter Strzok regarding ‘US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval
of a plan concerning US Presidential candidate Tweety McTreason and Russian hackers
hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of
a private mail server.’”
noted that “additional declassification and public disclosure of related intelligence
remains under consideration.”
who harbored hopes for fuller disclosure were disappointed on Tuesday when Ratcliffe
released notes taken by CIA Director John Brennan on a briefing to President
Barack Obama about an alleged Hillary Clinton plot to dirty up the Trump campaign
by linking it to the DNC Hack/Russia.
was heavily redacted and shed no new light on what Ratcliffe had released
a week ago.
that particular “declassification” took place before Trump started his shower
of Tweets Tuesday night, past experience suggests it may be a harbinger of things
to come, even though Trump is now saying: “No redactions!”
is believing. The de-classifiers will have to do a far better job to satisfy
the demands of Nunes and others for release of additional “smoking gun” documents
said to contain details of Russian intelligence referring to the reported authorization
given by Hillary Clinton to link Tweety McTreason to Kremlin “interference” in
the 2016 election.
Hillary Clinton Make It All Up?
If Americans had read more than what is in The New York Times, they
would not be surprised at that possibility. Are they not aware that the NYT
does not carry all the news that’s fit to print?
they looked beyond the Times, they might have learned that exactly
five months ago, on May 7, 2020, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff was
forced to release sworn testimony
by former FBI official Shawn Henry, head of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike,
that there is no technical evidence that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks
were hacked – by Russia, or by anyone else.
insult to injury, Schiff was able to hide Henry’s testimony from Dec. 5, 2017,
until May 7, 2020. Quick! Someone tell the Times that another five-month
delay on top of that is not on.
you didn’t know that the evidence-impoverished charge that the Russians hacked
the DNC emails had fallen apart, recall that then-FBI Director James Comey deferred
to CrowdStrike to do the forensics on the so-called “Russian hack” of the DNC.
if you reconstruct the events at the end of July 2016 and notice how Clinton
and the Democrats poured blame on Trump and the Russians with the support of
the intelligence community, especially the FBI and CIA – not to mention the
full throated support of the Establishment media – you wouldn’t need a
report from Russian intelligence to figure out who might be behind Russiagate,
So Mr. President, go ahead and declassify and un-redact. But much of the information
is already available – just not on “mainstream media.” You can start by
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical
Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA
analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer
of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals
for Sanity (VIPS). This originally appeared at Consortium
Author: Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. In the Sixties he served as an infantry/intelligence officer and then became a CIA analyst for the next 27 years. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
View all posts by Ray McGovern