The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
There is a political myth in Washington that the Senate and House intelligence committees, unlike other congressional committees, have been bipartisan and fair minded in their handling of political matters. Now that the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has gone rogue by providing sensitive exculpatory intelligence documents to the President of the United States, the subject of a committee investigation, we are told that the intelligence committee can no longer be considered bipartisan. Well, we learned 25 years ago that the congressional intelligence committees were as politicized as any committee on the Hill.
Trump’s New Era of Militarism and Mendacity
There is no better introduction to the militarism and callousness of the Trump era than the budget proposal for 2018. Much has been written about the miserly cuts to Meals on Wheels, housing aid, and other community assistance, but it’s just as important to examine the unjustified and unnecessary increases in defense spending. The Trump budget is clearly designed to enable another cycle of militarized national security policy and, in the words of Steve Bannon, to “deconstruct the administrative state.”
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Twenty years ago, Hollywood produced a black comedy, “Wag the Dog,” that involved a sex scandal in the White House less than two weeks before the election. A spin doctor is brought in to distract the public from the scandal by constructing a diversionary war with Albania. When the CIA learns of the plot, it sends an agent to confront the spin doctor, who convinces the agency that revealing the deception would be against the best interests of the United States.
Flynn, Russia and the World of Conspiracy Thinking
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has a well deserved reputation for conspiracy thinking. Presumably he will assume that the U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the former director of National Intelligence, conducted a campaign to force his removal from the Trump administration. Ironically, the Kremlin, which has lived historically in a world of conspiracy thinking, will view the ouster of Flynn as part of a campaign by the U.S. establishment to prevent any improvement in Russian-American relations.