A Threat to Our Democracy

The President Doesn’t Follow the Law
The President is regularly taking advantage of our preoccupation with the pandemic to weaken and even gut our democracy.  There have been three major anti-democratic steps in the past few weeks, beginning with the removal of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, without cause, which federal law requires.  On April 13, the President claimed that he had “total authority” over 50 U.S. governors to open up the U.S. economy, although he backed away from that empty threat within 24 hours.  Nevertheless, it demonstrated his lack of adherence to the Constitution, the rule of law, and the separation of powers.  Most recently, the President threatened an action that has no precedent in U.S. history, forcing Congress to adjourn to allow him to make numerous recess appointments to various positions.  
 
Official Positions are Unfilled
There are already too many officials in an acting capacity, which circumvents the advice and consent clause of the Constitution. Many key positions are unoccupied because the current administration hasn’t nominated anyone, which points to the inability of the administration to even function on a basic level.  Both Republican and Democratic legislators are resisting the President’s efforts to shut down Congress.  
 
Skirting the Rule of Law
These actions demonstrate the President’s lack of adherence to the rule of law.  They have the marks of abuse of power, which threaten to gut the oversight and accountability roles of the legislative branch of government.  We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that some of the most threatening authoritarians were initially elected by the people; and not guilty of seizing power.  Think Hitler; think Erdogan; think Duterte.  
We must speak out against the President’s actions which threaten our Democracy.  As the masthead of the Washington Post proclaims: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” 

Recent News and Latest Book

A Costly and Prolonged Cold War Now Seems a Certainty

No one knows how the war in Ukraine will end, but there is one post-war certainty: there will be a prolonged and costly Cold War between the United States and Russia.  In an interview with David Ignatius of the Washington Post, who has been doing the bidding of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency for several decades, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of a “long-term goal of deterrence.”  Ignatius took this to mean that the Biden administration will make sure that Russia “should not be able to rest, regroup and reattack.”

Commentary: This former CIA analyst has something to say about the classified documents crisis — and it’s likely not what you think

The former involved Trump’s intentionally keeping large amounts of classified material at Mar-a-Lago; the latter led to small amounts of intelligence at Biden’s former office and his home, as well as in Pence’s home. Since I held high-level security clearances for more than four decades while in the Army, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State and Department of Defense, I have something to offer on the issue of secrets and secrecy.