In Saturday’s Washington Post, retired admiral William M. McRaven warned us about the danger to our country as a result of President Trump’s firing of the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire after one of his subordinates reported that the Russians are trying to undermine our 2020 election. I have no doubt that the evidence gleaned from all intelligence sources confirms Russian malfeasance, just as it showed Russian interference in the 2016 election to increase the likelihood of Trump’s victory. Trump’s action raises a number of concerns.
As one who spent his entire career as an intelligence professional, I have to ask why Trump always and invariably supports Russia, a known adversary of the U.S. guilty of multiple actions against us. Why is he so pro-Russia? The worst possibility is that he has some kind of deal with Russia carefully hidden from Americans. Or maybe the Russians have some form of control over Trump. Perhaps they are blackmailing him or threatening him in some way we know not of. Or maybe Trump’s love of Russia springs from his overall admiration of dictatorships. He is certainly doing all he can to increase his own power and weaken both the legislative and judicial restraint on the presidency.
Much more important are the implications of firing Maguire for telling the truth. Our intelligence agencies are our eyes and ears. They tell us what the rest of the world is doing. They warn us of threats from other nations. Deliberate efforts on the part of Trump to weaken or silence them is an invitation to disaster.
And when a president is able to obscure the truth and lie to Americans about intelligence findings, American democracy is in severe danger. We are well on our way to autocracy. That Senate Republicans make no move to stop this trend makes them complicit.
Admiral McRaven said it better than I can. Here is the last paragraph of his op-ed:
“Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”
It is time for all of us to demand that the Congress and the courts put a stop to our rush to dictatorship.