Magazine article The American Conservative

Deep Background

Magazine article The American Conservative

Deep Background

Article excerpt

It's worth noting that the Central Intelligence Agency has not been a source of leaks to undercut Donald Trump's presidency since the January departure of former director John Brennan. Sources inside the agency suggest that there was considerable concern over Trump's frequent barbs directed at the intelligence community in general, at one point comparing them to "Nazis."

Despite the fact that most CIA employees apparently voted for Trump, it was feared that the hostility from the White House, coupled with reactions from the agency, would continue when the new national security team took office. But that has not turned out to be the case. Trump has ratcheted back his rhetoric while most of the actual hostility directed toward the new president and his appointees from inside the agency was clearly derived directly from Brennan and his close associates. These people were personally loyal to the outgoing administration and generally were hated by many among the CIA's 20,000 rank and file. Most of Brennan's aides departed with him in January, and many of those remaining have since been replaced or demoted.

Fortunately for both CIA and the White House, Donald Trump's appointment of former congressman Mike Pompeo as agency director has turned the situation around, even if there continue to be concerns about the direction of U.S. foreign policy. Pompeo successfully has built upon his first public speech, on April 13th at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, before an audience that included numerous CIA employees. He described these employees as "talented and committed patriots."

The speech, billed as a defense of CIA and what it does, was somewhat controversial in that it struck a belligerent and self-righteous tone, directed mostly against WikiLeaks and similar organizations as "non-state hostile intelligence services," but it was intended more as a call to arms for agency employees than a discussion of actual policy. …

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