The Irony Of It All …

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Trump is considering revoking security clearances of certain former members of the intelligence community.  Why?  Because they have criticized Trump and his handling of the Helsinki summit.  In other words … awwww, he got his itty bitty feelings hurted.

This whole thing would be funny, except for the principle that Trump is retaliating against political speech, a frightening first sign of a dictatorship in the making.  Laughably, two of the people whose clearances he plans to revoke no longer even retain security clearances, but apparently he didn’t have time to check his facts before opening his mouth, nor did his communications staff.  The clearances he says he plans to revoke are:

  • Former CIA director John O. Brennan
  • Former FBI director James B. Comey
  • Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden
  • Former national security adviser Susan E. Rice
  • Former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.
  • Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

Comey and McCabe lost their security clearances because they were terminated from their positions.  The other four retain security clearances, so that they can be called upon for their expertise and advice.  To revoke the security clearances of these people, all highly knowledgeable and experienced in their fields, seems to me a bit like shooting yourself in the foot.  According to Sanders’ statement …

“The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they politicize and in some cases monetize their public service and security clearances. Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate, and the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

Baseless accusations? Zero evidence?  Did she really say ‘zero evidence’???  Oh My Sainted Aunt!!!  There is overwhelming evidence that there has been highly ‘improper conduct’ with Russia by Trump and his staff!!!  Where have you been keeping yourself, Ms. Sanders?

Security-clearance experts said while Trump probably does have the authority to unilaterally suspend or terminate a security clearance, no president has ever done so. Words and actions protected by the First Amendment aren’t grounds to take a clearance away, they said. “It is completely inappropriate to revoke or withdraw someone’s security clearance based on political differences,” said Mark Zaid, an attorney who represents government employees in security-clearance disputes.  And that is the part I find frightening.

But there’s an irony here, too:  Trump himself would never qualify for even a low-level security clearance!  Taken straight from the State Department’s own website:

“It must be determined that the individual’s personal and professional history indicates loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion, and a willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling, and protection of classified information.”laughing-2

Strength of character?  Trustworthiness?  HONESTY???  Sound judgement?  Now, I ask you, folks, just who ought to have his security clearance revoked?

Colbert King, who conducted  background checks for security clearances when he was with the State Department in the 1970s says …

“People with associations with foreign interests, especially large business, financial or property interests in foreign countries or with foreign-owned businesses, would get close scrutiny. That’s particularly true if those associations might subject them to a risk of foreign influence or exploitation.

A background investigation that uncovers questionable judgment, lack of candor or dishonesty draws heightened attention. So, too, the refusal to provide full, frank and truthful answers to lawful questions.

Trump’s business bankruptcies, his blackballing by American banks because of his financial dealings and his unwillingness to provide his tax returns might also be grounds for unfavorable clearance action. Personal misconduct or involvement in behavior that cast doubt on judgment and character — say, paying hush money to cover up affairs or being the subject of more than a dozen sexual harassment or assault allegations — would also elevate security concerns.

That Trump, with his disqualifying record, would even consider going after someone’s security clearance is a hoot — if it weren’t so outrageous.”

The six individuals named above have more expertise, more knowledge of foreign policy and relations than Trump will ever have, which is yet one more sign of his immaturity and unfitness for the highest office in the nation.  Even his sycophants are scrambling to explain this one.  Frankly, if Paul Ryan’s explanation is an example, they are not doing a very good job of covering Trump’s rear: “I think he’s trolling people, honestly.”  Trolling people.  How very professional.

This is yet another sign that Trump is so far in over his head that he has to silence his perceived enemies.   The danger is that he doesn’t know where to stop, and that the ‘checks and balances’ are failing, as Congress continues to lick his boots and do his bidding.  What comes next?  Already, a number of agencies and departments are firing or demoting staff that have been critical of Trump.  I find this bone-chilling and keep asking the question:  What comes next?  Think about it.

55 thoughts on “The Irony Of It All …

    • It is pretty scary, if you think about it. We have a president … the man who controls the nuclear button, who has been making horrendous decisions willy-nilly for a year-and-a-half, and he wouldn’t even qualify for a low-level security clearance. And the fact that he chooses advisors for their proclaimed loyalty rather than skill, knowledge & expertise. I try not to be a naysayer, but it is frightening. Rather like giving a 4-year-old a loaded shotgun and hoping for the best. I’m sure his followers would drink Kool-Ade or follow him into space if he told them it would make their lives better, make America “great”. Sigh. Hang in, my friend … you aren’t alone in this boat!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. He did say that they are writing books for personal profit, which all former officials and stars and celebrities do. It’s sad that the book and book tours are the only avenues available for these former high officials to speak out – men who served the country most their lives and deserve respect and courtesy. Hayden’s book quote good, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad they are writing the books, for they have knowledge that needs to be heard. I agree with you, they deserve respect and courtesy, unlike a certain person who I shall not name at the moment 😉 Thanks for the recommendation … I will check out Hayden’s book!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry Nan, but I’m not sure what article you’re referring to. Did you send me a link that I forgot about? I apologize sincerely — it’s been a rough couple of weeks and I must have forgotten. Could you refresh my memory? Thanks!

      Like

      • From 3 Quarks Daily from The Guardian:
        Why Identity Politics Benefits The Right More Than The Left
        POSTED ON JUL 19, 2018 –12:30PM BY ROBIN VARGHESE Sorry, I missed your earlier response.
        Sheri Berman in The Guardian:

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you! Interesting article and some food for thought. I don’t agree with everything, but some of it makes sense … I shall ponder and perhaps incorporate it into a post. Thanks again!

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  2. Jill, what must be going through the heads of Trump followers? They must feel like they are watching a tennis match with Trump playing on both sides of the net. They did not meddle he smashes a serve. They did meddle he hits with a return. They did not. Did. Did not.

    So, now a surveyor polls them on what they believe about Russia. What are they going to say with a man who is on both sides of the court. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • The tennis match analogy is perfect! Back and forth, forth and back. What will they say when asked what they believe about Russia? Whatever they were last told to believe, I suppose. Sigh. An interesting example … yesterday it was reported that Putin was likely to turn down his invitation to the White House. This afternoon, Trump announces that he has postponed the invitation until “after the ‘witch hunt'”. Sigh.

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  3. Freedom of speech only pertains to Trump, or so he believes. Freedom of the press only pertains to those that agree with him, or so he believes. The GOP cowers in the background, allowing this charade to continue unchecked. This is not the end, more likely another beginning to who knows what or where. Don’t even get me started on Sarah Huckabee Sanders…how this woman can stand before the press and spew Trump’s lies without her tongue rotting and falling out of her head is mind boggling! Is it possible that she believes that there is zero evidence and the accusations are baseless? Is she let out of a dark soundproof room and handed a script? An excellent post! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ellen!!! I absolutely loved your comment about Sarah H Sanders!!! I started laughing out loud, and so had to share your words with Chris & Miss Goose, who also laughed. We all thank you for adding some humour to our lives!!! I’ve often wondered how Sanders sleeps at night.

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  4. Oh there’s going to be such a weepin’ and a wailin’ when the Democrats are back in power. Anyone responsible for demoting someone critical of Trump is likely to be out of job very fast. There may be a rehiring of some people hounded out by this administration with full security clearances reinstated while some department heads will be leaving without their feet touching the floor.Needless to say some Directors like education wont be getting severance pay. The country can return to normal with a cessation of all the problems currently being experienced and alliances can be remade.

    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that you are right, my friend, but I fear it will not be as simple as that, and that it’s going to end up in an ugly, perhaps even bloody battle before peace is restored to this country. But I definitely like your vision and will hope it becomes reality.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  5. OK, I think we all know where trump wants to take America. Most of his base seems to be fine with that. So, it’s up to us to fight and instead of calling an idiot an idiot, we must call a wannabee dictator a dictator. Level of intelligence does not matter if he’s got enough people believing his lies. Jill, you do a fine job of laying it out for us to better understand. MSNBC, CNN, PBS, REUTERS, BBC AND ALJAZEERA are our friends in this crisis.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. #deportrepublicans2russia This is my new hashtag. I use it whenever I write comments online about Traitor Trump or Putin’s Pal Pence. Republicans don’t like it. Makes ’em mad. Thus, I’m gonna do it even more. Revoke Trump’s presidency and deport the SOB to Russia. Make America great again! Deport Republicans to Russia!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Not sure I really want to think about this one, Jill. I’m not a fan of horror stories, and we’ve been living one since he bought the election. Spoiled children are very frightening, and he looks like one with that pouty face, so as long as we are willing to put up with it, we sem to be stuck. As far as his revoking security clearing, maybe he should add his friend, Putin on the list, since Putin seems to know more about what’s going on over here than Mr. Prez! You do realize that sometimes in situations like this, the writers and poets are the first ones to be eliminated, don’t you. Guess that includes me because while I’m not exactly a real poet, I’m not shy about my opinion. Wonder if we’ll ever have an honest election again — or indeed, any kind of election again. Hate to say it but voter apathy has taken a toll on us all and we now have exactly what we have been not voting for. I actually do vote, but lately haven’t found much to cast a vote for. Going Independent lately because the major parties are giving us nothing to vote for!

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, my friend, I don’t want to think about it either. But I’m afraid we must, for we cannot bury our heads in the sand ant hope for the best, as Trump’s blind followers are doing. Yes, I realize they come after the writers and poets first, but … oh well. I will not keep silent when I see parents wrenched from their children by the hundreds.

      I, too, am an independent, although I lean more toward the democratic platform. I could easily throw my lot in with a democratic-socialist party. But never a republican, at least after this fiasco of the Trump administration! I have to wonder what our political environment will look like in 10-30 years!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m with you about the Republican party, actually I registered Democrat because in KY you can’t vote in the primary unless you are in Dem. or Rep. party, Independents just aren’t recognized or really wanted. I know we can’t bury our heads but at times it would be good if I could. The thing that really burns me is that even though in this building our precinct is in the building activity room there are always a group of residents standing outside the room complaining about it being tied up while proudly proclaiming that they have never voted and don’t plan on ever doing so. then they have the nerve to complain about how the country is run by the wrong people. It does no good to tell them if they want to complain they have to earn that right by voting — they think the rights are all simply given to them for being born. Maybe once upon a time, but not now. Too many people who won’t exercise their rights have actually made those rights disappear, one at a time and slowly so not many people notice it. Kinda like those illegal raises the members of Congress give themselves during their secret after midnight meetings — you know, the raises they have taken Social Security money to fund, and by doing that they have bankrupted the Social Security system.
        My solution for things like this is simple and so easy. Just stop letting the career politicians continue being elected year after year by limiting the number of terms they are allowed to serve. Not that very many of them serve anyone but themselves lately, but when that happens they will hopefully try to get some good laws passed rather than begin to chart the course of the next election the day after being sworn in. No more profit in being career pols, just get in there and do the job for the 2 or 3 terms allowed and then go back home and live on the money they earn at their new jobs, NOT on the golden parachutes they can now expect for the rest of their lives. If they had to live on earned Social Security they would hopefully stop robbing the bank where it’s concerned and cure a few of the problems facing us today. Probably a pipe dream, but at my age dreams are all that remain.
        Ah, not much will happen just because of this. Life will go on however the world turns out, it just might not be the way we were all promised before the people became too lazy to simply go out and VOTE for someone who can be trusted to not do bad stuff. And for heavens sake, why can’t a poor person become President any more? Only the extremely wealthy seem to have that privilege now, and for that I blame the media. If the campaign can’t afford television shots, they can’t get it off the ground. It’s ridiculous now! The “common” man can’t afford to run for President, and if you think about it all, none of our first presidents would have ever become Prez because of their family history or because they aren’t multi-millionaires. I think I”m definitely getting a headache now, so getting off this one now! Have a great rest of Wednesday and the rest of the week.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I’m a moderate but when push come to shove, I lean to the left. I’m also a recovering fundamentalist evangelical. Is a shame what they’ve done to the idea of a faith practice. I don’t argue with those people. We can’t give up. I’ll admit there are days but then I don’t want my grandkids to live through something like the Hunger Games so I make one more phone call or write another post. Hang in there. Vote Blue. This is not the time to split votes like the last election. I wasnt crazy about either candiate but I knew either one wasgoing to be better than DJT or his VP lurking in the shadows. They need to get out!

          Liked by 2 people

        • I fully agree with you that if a person doesn’t bother to vote, then they have no right to complain, no voice. Another thing I always remind those people who brag about not voting of is the people who have given their lives just so they could have that privilege. That usually shuts them up in a hurry.

          I also agree that I would like to see term limits. Two terms for representatives and three for senators. Mitch McConnell is a prime example of the need for term limits. And about those who jump right into the next campaign after their election … did you know that Donald Trump filed his ‘intent to run’ paperwork the day after his inauguration? Last week in the UK, a reporter asked him if he planned to run again in 2020, to which he replied that he did, because it seemed “everybody wants me to”. I was so incensed I almost threw something!

          And you are right that the cost of a campaign makes it virtually impossible for a poor or even middle-class person to run. Unless, of course, they kow-tow to the big-money donors like the NRA, or fossil fuel industry, but we really don’t need any more politicians who are in the pockets of lobbyists.

          I don’t know if anything will change, but it may well be that at the end of the day, this nation will learn some lessons from the disastrous presidency of Donald Trump and at the very least get rid of Citizens United and have a return to some sensible campaign finance rules. We can only hope.

          Thank you for your thoughtful comment! You gave me some things to think about. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  8. This is certainly how dictatorships start! This presidency is like the lines from the movie, Office Space. “Every day has been worse than the one before. That means each time you see me, that’s the worse day of my life.” Yeah…

    Liked by 3 people

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