Saturday, May 27, 2017
Is President Trump Powerless To Stop Leaks?
Washington Post: Trump seems powerless to stop leaks
A few weeks after Inauguration Day, White House policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on national television that “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
Three months later, it is increasingly clear that the powers of the president to stop leaks are rather unsubstantial and will be questioned almost daily.
The Washington Post reported Friday — based on information from U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports — that President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin using Russian facilities in Washington when he met in December with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Read more ....
WNU Editor: Stopping leaks is not going to be as hard as most people like to believe it is .... it is the consequences of what is needed to stop these leaks .... and we are talking mass firings and dismissals .... where the damage to America's intelligence community and national security is going to be felt. In the case of President Trump .... these leaks started during the campaign, and it became a torrent between his election victory and his inauguration. Who were these leakers .... considering the sensitivity and importance of some of the leaks .... it does not take a rocket scientist to know that it had to come from senior officials. What also did not help the situation at the time was the perception that FBI Director Comey was not concerned about investigating these leaks .... to the point that I do not even know right now if there is even an investigation. But because of this lack of concern from the FBI Director (and talk about giving a green light) .... these leaks have exploded exponentially after the inauguration to the point where U.S. intelligence officials are now disclosing the most sensitive of all secrets. Case in point .... in yesterday's Washington Post a story ran where anonymous sources disclosed that the Russian Ambassador's secured communications were compromised .... and these intel officials did this just to push a leak that Jared Kushner wanted a back-channel to Russia. I do not know if this story true .... the Washington Post has written a lot of stuff since the election that ended up going nowhere .... but if it is true .... the repercussions of this leak are disturbing. And then there are the other leaks .... like details on the Manchester bomber being posted in the New York Times while the investigation was ongoing .... or even the leaks from the White House itself.
Bottom line .... something has to be done .... because the situation has now gone out of control and it is endangering U.S. national security interests and how the U.S. President conducts business. What are the options .... in a normal situation an administration comes in .... puts its people in place (which always takes a long time) .... and those who are replaced move on. In this case .... when one looks at all the leaks that have been consistently pouring out since the campaign .... one can only assume that the intel community has become politicised .... and because some of them disagree with an elected President and his policies .... they feel entitled that they have the right to stop him. The fact that the main stream media and the opponents of President Trump have jumped onto this bandwagon .... makes the situation even worse ... and yes .... more politicised.
My prediction .... President Trump is going to first fire/replace/re-assign key White House officials .... and if in the coming weeks/months the replacements act the same way .... remove them also. Is this going to be messy .... yes. But that is always the problem when an outsider wins the reigns of power .... the political establishment has a different agenda and they are always reluctant to change. The intelligence community is another story. But in this case President Trump can take President Obama's handbook on how to solve the problem. When President Obama assumed the office the first thing that he did was to make a vow that he was going to close Guantanamo, and to make sure that those who pushed and favoured renditions/torture/etc. would be held accountable. WNU at the time posted numerous stories from intel officials saying that President Obama was destroying the morale within the US. intel community .... and in the words of many of the leakers at the time ..... crippling the war against terror. President Obama's response .... firings/dismissals/and replacing those who were from the Bush era with his own people. He also tracked down and prosecuted leakers ..... even obtaining the phone records of the AP to accomplish these goals. Was President Obama successful .... the way I see it .... when he opened his back-channel with Iran to do his nuclear deal .... the public did not learn the details until long after the deal was made.
President Trump is now back in the U.S. .... and I expect him to look very hard at what needs to be done. He has caused a lot of this flak .... but a lot of this is also a deliberate and targeted campaign to destroy his Presidency As I explained above .... there is a precedent that he can follow. Firings and dismissals .... coupled with tracking down and prosecuting the leakers. Will he do it .... President Obama had the will to do it .... now is the time to see if President Trump does also.
Update: I should also add that President Trump must clean up his own communications .... message discipline and clarity is a must at this level. And while I have learned to understand when Trump is Trump .... and as a consumer of news to appreciate his tweets .... I also know that many do not, and that is when the message gets lost.