Trump has no prob­lem with dic­ta­tors

The Saline Courier Weekend - - OPINION - GE­ORGE D. EL­LIS

If it ap­pears to the reader that I’m harp­ing on na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues again, it’s be­cause I am. I might even be a lit­tle ob­sessed. Some of the ob­ses­sion has to do with crit­i­cal is­sues touch­ing on the 2020 elec­tion. If roles were re­versed and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion was do­ing some of the things Trump is do­ing, the Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional lead­er­ship would be scream­ing. But the most re­cent event is be­yond pol­i­tics, be­yond lib­eral and con­ser­va­tive, be­yond Repub­li­can and Demo­crat.

The United States Gov­ern­ment has a whistle­blower statute. If some­one in gov­ern­ment sees some­thing go­ing on that shouldn’t be go­ing on, he or she no­ti­fies the In­spec­tor Gen­eral for In­tel­li­gence and he in­ves­ti­gates. He has seven days to trans­mit his find­ings to the Se­nate and House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees. At first, there was an at­ti­tude of non­com­pli­ance be­cause the sub­ject mat­ter of the whistle­blower. See, the whistle­blower was com­plain­ing that some­one high up had con­ferred with a for­eign of­fi­cial and had made a ‘prom­ise.” It was ap­par­ently so dis­con­cert­ing that the whistle­blower thought it was his or her pa­tri­otic duty to come for­ward. In the con­text of what goes on rou­tinely in the Trump White House, that’s se­ri­ous.

Days be­fore the phone call in­volv­ing the prom­ise, Trump com­mu­ni­cated with five for­eign lead­ers, but knowl­edge­able ex­perts are spec­u­lat­ing that the con­ver­sa­tion con­tain­ing the prom­ise was with Putin.

If such is the case, Trump is a na­tional se­cu­rity risk. Ev­ery day, the CIA pub­lishes the Pres­i­dent’s Daily Brief con­tain­ing im­por­tant top se­cret in­for­ma­tion. Maybe they should con­sider sus­pend­ing that prac­tice. He has no busi­ness with clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

We can make a list of the se­cu­rity breaches he’s com­mit­ted. He gave sen­si­tive clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to the Rus­sians the day af­ter he fired James Comey.

He met with Putin for two hours with­out note tak­ers, then con­fis­cated the trans­la­tor’s notes.

At Helsinki, he sided with Putin over U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies re­gard­ing Rus­sian hack­ing of our 2016 elec­tion.

Gen­er­ally, he has failed and re­fused to pub­licly con­demn Putin as a killer and a gang­ster.

But the for­eign leader who re­ceived the prom­ise could be Kim Jong Un of North Korea, an­other in­ter­na­tional gang­ster who is be­lieved to have killed his own half-brother to as­sume to­tal power.

And don’t for­get the Saudi Crown Prince who mur­dered Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi.

Trump has a love for dic­ta­tors. If you will no­tice, he never finds fault with the au­thor­i­tar­ian thugs, punks, as­sas­sins, and the like. Just last week, one of the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies in Europe un­cov­ered a plot to poi­son a Rus­sian foe. It turns out that the cur­rent Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence ap­pa­ra­tus has main­tained the rather large lab go­ing back to the KGB days. It’s used to man­u­fac­ture pow­er­ful poi­son to use in as­sas­si­na­tions. Trump has said lit­tle about the lab. One would ex­pect him to stay mum.

Ge­orge D. El­lis is a Ben­ton at­tor­ney. He can be con­tacted at gel­lis­in­ben­[email protected]

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