President Trump’s disdain for the intelligence community is troubling. These are the people tasked with the difficult task of finding, analyzing, and presenting to the cabinet all of the information that will help the president keep the country safe. He challenged them openly on Russian hacking, fearing it somehow questioned his victory. He knew better, he knew Putin would never stoop to such undignified levels.
Yes, it is troubling. But, it is not without precedent. Remember back to the days of the Bush administration. He was, he claimed, certain Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Despite the fact that all intelligence estimates almost insisted there were none. And despite all evidence to the contrary Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld insisted there were deep, strong ties between Iraq and Al Qaida.
“You missed 9/11, what else did you miss?” Rumsfeld asked, almost demanding some proof of something awful, some grounds for invasion. This, despite strong evidence that intelligence had been signaling something being planned by extremists.
So, they decided they knew better, Iraq was guilty as hell, of something. They had their “evidence” and a a star witness, all they needed was something to charge them with.
And they sent a force that was much smaller than the contingent requested by the Armed Forces into Iraq, because they knew better. “Way too pessimistic.” Rumsfeld claimed about the Pentagon’s assessment of the requirements to occupy and control the country. Once they found the proof they would have world flocking to the aid of the American forces. They just knew.
Trump knows too. He knows Putin is not a bad guy. He knows the Chinese can be forced into accepting “reality according to Trump.” He knows the Mexicans are so wealthy they are willing to pay for a wall.
It is always nice to be able to trust someone so bright with the keys to the kingdom. Last time it worked so well. We can save a lot of money on intelligence gathering and analysis. Why bother, he knows.