Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The US moves toward closed/authoritarian government: Ex-CIA director Brennan writes in upcoming memoir that Trump blocked access to records and notes

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More and more the US federal government hides from citizens what it is doing. This is par for the course for authoritarian dictatorships, of course, and that is the direction the US is going. Citizens are treated as serfs, without voice or power and subject to arbitrary punishment and on-going lies and cover-ups. This report by Shane Harris in the Washington Post is simply one example. There are many, many more.

In the fall of 2018, when former CIA director John Brennan decided to write his memoir, he asked the agency for his official records, including his notes and any documents that he had reviewed and signed that were classified. The CIA, where Brennan had worked for nearly 30 years, said no.

It was a break with decades of tradition. The CIA routinely lets former directors review classified files when writing books about their careers. Their manuscripts are scrutinized to ensure they don’t expose any national secrets.

After months of “haggling,” Brennan learned that the CIA was following the orders of the man he had spent the previous two years publicly excoriating — President Trump, who in August 2018 “had issued a directive . . . that purportedly forbids anyone in the intelligence community from sharing classified information with me.”

Brennan recounts his battles with the president in the memoir he eventually wrote, with limited access to unclassified and heavily redacted material: “Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad.” The Washington Post reviewed portions of the book, which is scheduled to be published on Oct. 6.

Trump’s directive appears tailored to one of his most prominent critics. In tweets, op-eds and television appearances, Brennan has denounced Trump as a unique threat to U.S. national security and democracy, once labeling his comments at a joint news conference in Helsinki with the president of Russia as “treasonous,” a comment that even some of Brennan’s friends and fellow Trump detractors said went too far.

Trump has accused Brennan of being a leading figure in a “deep state” conspiracy to undermine his campaign and discredit his election.

Former intelligence chiefs bite back as Trump goes after Brennan’s security clearance

But national security experts said they’d never heard of a president targeting a former high-ranking official this way, critic or otherwise.

“It’s unprecedented, as far as I know,” said Mark Zaid, a lawyer who has represented government whistleblowers and former intelligence agency employees who have written books.

“This is demonstrative, once again, of a vindictive, political president whose actions have nothing to do with actual national security decisions,” Zaid said.

White House spokesman Judd Deere acknowledged that Trump had issued the directive. “The President has constitutional authority to control access to classified information, which he exercised here in view of Mr. Brennan’s erratic behavior and the President’s belief that access to classified information should be solely for the benefit of the government and the American people,” Deere said.

In August 2018, the same month that Brennan says Trump issued his order, the president said he was revoking Brennan’s security clearances.

Trump accused Brennan of making “a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the Internet and television — about this Administration,” according to a statement then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read to reporters at a briefing.

Trump’s threat turns out to have been an empty one. “My security clearances have never been revoked because there is no legal basis to do so,” Brennan writes.

In January of this year, Brennan says, he wrote to the current CIA director, Gina Haspel, after learning about the president’s order to keep him from receiving classified information. “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Agency’s refusal to grant my request reflects the current administration’s desire to punish and retaliate against me for speaking out as a private citizen — an abuse of power designed to chill the exercise of my First Amendment rights,” he argued.

Brennan says Haspel never responded to his letter or contacted him to discuss the situation, a silence he found “very disappointing” given their years working together at the CIA.

“So much for my fervent hope that interactions with my successors would be unencumbered by Washington’s partisan waters,” Brennan writes, in a dig at Haspel, who current and former officials say has made it her practice to stay on Trump’s good side.

The CIA declined to comment on Brennan’s book or the president’s directive. . .

Continue reading. For what it’s worth, I always thought Gina Haspel, who by all accounts enthusiastically participated in the torture of suspects, was a worthless person of low moral character. Brennan himself is (or at least was) a strong proponent of torturing people (provided, of course, that he got to pick the people — he certainly did not want to be tortured himself).

Written by LeisureGuy

29 July 2020 at 9:27 am

Posted in Books, GOP, Government, Law, Politics

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