Former Intelligence Chiefs: Trump’s Removal Of Experts Is Deeply Destructive To Our Nation’s Safety

In FOREIGN RELATIONS, Misleading Information On
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Joseph Maguire, John Brennan (interim), Michael Leiter, Matthew G. Olsen, Nicholas Rasmussen, Andrew Liepman (acting and deputy) and Geoffrey O’Connell (principal deputy) are former directors of the National Counterterrorism Center. Michael V. Hayden is former director of the CIA and former principal deputy director of national intelligence. James Clapper was director of national intelligence.

The United States — and the world — faces a historic threat to its health, well-being and economy. The global covid-19 pandemic challenges all of us: the public, cities, states and, of course, the federal government. But as we collectively fight this deadly disease, the intelligence institutions that help protect us all from current and future threats are also under attack from an insidious enemy: domestic politics. We cannot let the covid-19 pandemic be a cover for the deeply destructive path being pursued by the Trump administration.

The most recent illustration of this unprecedented attack is the continuing dismissal of career intelligence professionals — officers who have ably served both Republican and Democratic administrations regardless of their personal political stripe. Specifically, the unceremonious removal this week of the leadership of the National Counterterrorism Center. The NCTC, though not as recognized an entity as its intelligence community counterparts such as the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency, is one of the crown-jewel creations of the United States’ post-9/11 reforms.

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