On Monday, CNN reported that the U.S. intelligence community extracted a top spy from Russia following concerns that President Donald Trump compromised their security by sharing classified information with Russian officials. It's likely the story was leaked by an intelligence official.
Writing in Esquire, columnist Charles Pierce wrestles with the fact that the intelligence community, which has done so much damage in the past, seems to be the only branch of government standing up to the president.
First, Pierce details the problems with the intelligence community.
"I'd watched as revelation after revelation demonstrated how badly the activities of what was originally supposed to be an information-gathering system turned into a covert-operating, coup-engineering, assassination-arranging, Constitution-shredding, self-perpetuating behemoth," Pierce writes. Then, there were the Bush years. "Most recently, I watched as the intelligence community threw itself into the previous Republican administration's torture regime like toddlers at snack time, and then proceeded to do what it always does: shred, burn, and otherwise conceal what it was doing from the suckers (us) who pay all the bills," he writes.
Given the intelligence agencies' long history of abuses, Pierce has been shocked to find himself on their side in the age of Trump. "So along comes El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago, who knows nothing about anything, but whose bomb-in-a-china-shop approach to his job has left rubble to all points of the compass, and all of a sudden, I find myself on the same side as all those spooks and black-op bureaucrats that have done so much damage around the world their own selves, largely because they seem to be the only people in our government with the nerve to push back against the craziness emanating from Camp Runamuck," he writes.
Pierce concludes that it's more than about time for a return to a healthy distrust of intel agencies.
"The intelligence community is engaged in a cold war of information against the elected political leadership of the country, and a lot of us are finding ourselves on its side," Pierce says. "This is neither healthy nor sustainable. If we're going to have a constitutional crisis, then let's by god have one according to the Constitution."