Damage Repair

Author: Gary Hart

When the era of Trump concludes, much work will need to be done.  The list is long but must surely include restoring and restructuring our alliances with our allies, returning to stewardship of our public resources, rebuilding public education, constructing a workable health care system, climate protection, and much else.

As a perceived “liberal”, it may surprise some that I propose adding to this list the repair of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Justice (of which I am an alumnus), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and all other agencies that comprise the national intelligence and law enforcement network.

For reasons still to be disclosed, Mr. Trump set out to demean this network and each of its component parts even during his campaign.  Since assuming the highest office of the land, and after taking an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, as president he has systematically rejected intelligence briefings and dismissed threats and warnings from the network designed to protect our nation and much of the world.

Mr. Trump’s notorious resistance to details, claims of superior intellect, and childlike attention span are not excuses for failure to pay attention to our nation’s security.  They certainly are not excuses for a chief executive who also goes out of his way to demean those who take their career security responsibilities ultimately seriously.

Even his most loyal adherents have refused to offer an explanation or justification for his virulent resentment of our intelligence and law enforcement systems.  His “base” seems able to overlook a host of bizarre actions.  Not even his fiercest loyalists, however, have attempted to justify his behavior which, by any fair assessment, places our nation at risk.

Career law enforcement and intelligence officials are overwhelmingly dedicated to our national security.  I have had the privilege of knowing and working with many of them.  But they are all human beings.  To be shunned, disrespected, and publicly demeaned by the President of the United States which they serve is demoralizing.

Thus, this proposal to add repair of the morale and stature of these institutions to the list of foremost project beyond Trump.

We are heading into a time quit possibly more dangerous than the Cold War.  Most persuasive of all the experts is David Kilcullen, renowned for his written warnings of terrorism, insurgency, and the blurring of lines between war and crimes as well as his advice to senior officials.  We face a range of dangers stretching from ancient brutalities up to and beyond cyber warfare.  Those perpetrating these dangers recognize no laws of war, no humanitarian standards, no treaties, no Geneva Conventions.

There is every evidence that we are in an historic transition period between traditional nation-state wars predominant since the Peace of Westphalia and a new era of conflict ostensibly begun on 9/11 where attackers without uniforms killed civilians without uniforms.  The attackers were not soldiers but they are certainly criminals.

If, as I and many believe, we are entering a period of maximum, even if unconventional, danger, any thoughtful person would be required to conclude that scrupulous attention to expert intelligence is the utmost responsibility of the commander in chief of our defense forces and the intelligence they depend on.

If we are fortunate not to confront a cyber attack or another 9/11 during the remaining Trump era, we will be fortunate as a nation and Mr. Trump will be a very lucky president.  But our dangerous world will not permit us to depend on luck forever.



One Response to “Damage Repair”

  1. Paul G Says:


    “When the era of Trump concludes, much work will need to be done,” – GH (may be understatement of the new century).

    “I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” – MC (president’s former private attorney).

    Those who know “we” are a republic – not an empire superpower – have much enlightening to do on this urgent issue, beginning immediately.

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