US intelligence may win its battle with Donald Trump but lose an actual war

Feb 17, 2017, 4:50 AM | Updated: 11:22 am
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in ...

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Some people like politics. Some people love politics. And some people live to see the opposing political side take some real body shots.

You just hope, as Americans, that they think of what’s best for the country before they think of what’s best for their party.

And you hope that the people who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States live that oath and don’t play politics.

That’s why it is so disheartening to read this from the Wall Street Journal: “U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.”

I know there are some people cheering because the intelligence community is sticking it to Trump. And he may deserve to have it stuck to him — after all, he started a lot of this animosity in the first place.

But what’s important here is how “it” is being stuck and who else is being stuck in the process.

The problem is this — actually, there are lots of problems here, but let’s start with the simple idea — sticking it to the president might be sticking it to the American people and the intelligence community may be sticking it to their own colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence officials are keeping the president in the dark about not just things like methods and sources – which have been kept from presidents in the past.

No, they are withholding actual intelligence because of a concern about his “trustworthiness or discretion” and his lack of outright seething hatred for Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

They said that they fear that information could be leaked or compromised because of alleged relationships between administration officials and Russia.

Maybe they’re just jealous, because it appears that the intelligence community is perfectly capable of leaking their own information, thank you very much.

Yes, there’s plenty of blame to go around as to how things have gotten this bad. Yes, everybody needs to grow up and get along.

The president needs to stop attacking the intelligence community and the community, along with its alphabet soup of agencies that fall under the purview of the executive branch, needs to remember it works for him – and more importantly – for us.

They’re not going to win this battle. Trump will take action to review how the community works, who in the community is working for him and who is working against him and he will clean house.

But, much more important than winning or losing a battle with the White House, intelligence officials withholding information from the president of the United States could help America lose a war.

As members of the community consider how far to take this presidential pissing match, I sure hope that they consider a lot more than the satisfaction they will wrench from it.

I hope the think about whether they’ve put their job in jeopardy and take a long, hard look at their willingness to be responsible for adding a star for a fallen agent to that wall in the CIA or another cross at Arlington.

Jim Sharpe

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US intelligence may win its battle with Donald Trump but lose an actual war