The Trump administration’s assaults on the U.S. intelligence agencies lies at the heart of the novel Secretocracy. We know from news reports that the president verbally lacerates the chiefs of those agencies, but we don’t know what actions he has taken to cripple them. Most of that would be budgetary and classified.
Last week, Trump attacked intelligence assessments provided to Congress on Iran, North Korea, and the Islamic State. He maintains, in contradiction of his own intelligence experts, that Iran has violated the agreement not to build nuclear weapons, that North Korea will soon be denuclearized, and that the Islamic State is defeated so that U.S. troops can be withdrawn from Syria. The intelligence community reports the opposite in each case. Then the president maintained that the testimony given by intelligence chiefs to Congress was misquoted and taken out of context, even though the full transcript of their testimony is publicly available and does not support his allegations.
One of the reasons I wrote Secretocracy was to underline the grave danger to our security when the president disregards and even contradicts intelligence. This is unprecedented behavior and puts our nation in peril. In the novel, the protagonist is eventually exonerated and his findings are acted upon. I’ll be curious to see how events play out in the real world.
My greatest fear is that we are headed for disaster.