ASLetter

Admiral William McCraven on President Trump firing Joe McGuire as acting director of National Intelligence: “As Americans, we should be frightened – deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security – then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

McCraven, during his 37 years in the military commanded special operations forces at every level, eventually serving as the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. A recognized expert on defense and foreign policy issues, he was an advisor to presidents George W. Bush and to Barack Obama, and served as chancellor of Texas University.

President Trump replaced McGuire because a senior member of his staff recently briefed the House Intelligence Committee on the latest Russian attempts to meddle in the 2020 election. As in the 2016 election the Russians are attempting to aid in the election of Donald Trump.

And the president since 2016 has been highly critical of the Intelligence Community, often finding fault with senior intelligence officials for a variety of reasons because their assessments of foreign activities did not jive with his views – which were never well informed. For example, the president was wrong about Iran, Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria.

As a result this very stable genius once again goes off half-cocked by replacing an experienced and well respected officer with John Ratcliff, a Trump supporter who has no intelligence experience. This is the president’s second attempt to insert this lackey in that job; with the first it was so obvious that Ratcliff was not at all qualified that even some Republicans in Congress objected to the assignment.

Is there any doubt that McCraven was justified in sounding an alarm about the president’s reckless moves affecting national security? How can anyone ignore the warnings of the admiral? To do so would be to turn a blind eye to what the president does and says. Is this what Trump supporters expected from the president's national security agenda? If so, they are surely misguided.

Frank Ruocco

Aiken