Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 11:07 AM

CIA Director Pompeo Insinuates Obama Misrepresented US Intelligence

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Every member of President Trump’s cabinet seems hell-bent on nullifying, discrediting, or undermining everything his/her predecessor in former President Obama’s cabinet did.

The media have focused on the frustrating efforts of his secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, to repeal and replace Obamacare. But the efforts of others are proving far more effective.

For example,

  • his administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is rolling back regulations, some of which, topically enough, are aimed at making infrastructure more resilient to Harvey-like floods;
  • his secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is rolling back Cuba policies, which are aimed at normalizing relations after 50-plus years of that feckless and hypocritical embargo; and
  • his secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos is rolling back Title IX protections, which are aimed at combating the growing incidence of sexual assaults on campuses.

Indeed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the mission of the Trump administration is not to Make America Great Again, but to blackout Obama from the annals of presidential history. But nobody should be surprised:

President-elect Trump instills as much fear as President-elect Obama inspired hope. … I fear he will execute his pledge to ‘blackout’ all of Obama’s signature accomplishments from the history books.

(“WTF! President-Elect Donald J. Trump?! America. What. Have. You. Done.” The iPINIONS Journal, November 10, 2016)

Now comes this decidedly Trumpian twist from his CIA director, Mike Pompeo. The Fox News program Special Report conducted a wide-ranging interview with him yesterday to mark the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

The takeaway for most commentators seems to be the threatening and titillating way Pompeo crowed about confronting Iran and releasing documents seized during that notorious 2011 Navy Seal raid, respectively. (Reportedly, the latter will expose the late Osama bin Laden as a petty, paranoid, porno-peeping phony.)

But the takeaway for me is the cavalier way he insinuated that President Obama misrepresented US intelligence assessments. Specifically, interviewer Bret Baier reminded him that Obama fueled his re-election campaign with claims about al Qaeda being decimated and ISIS being just its “JV team.” He then asked if US intelligence assessments ever supported those claims. Pompeo replied as follows:

No. The US estimate of ISIS has always been that they pose a serious threat. It’s never been the case that this was a second-tier threat.

Frankly, Pompeo’s insinuation that Obama misrepresented intelligence assessments is even more troubling than Trump’s assertion that Obama wiretapped his campaign.

Yet I am convinced that Pompeo’s has no more basis in fact than Trump’s did. This is why it is even more incumbent upon the intelligence community to clarify Pompeo’s insinuation than it was upon the Justice department to clarify Trump’s assertion.

As it happens, the Justice Department did so just last week, making a mockery of the right-wing propaganda that gave rise to and perpetuated it:

The Justice Department said in a court filing Friday evening that it has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s assertion in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower before last year’s election.

‘Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,’ the department’s motion reads.

(CNN, September 3, 2017)

Beyond this, it behooves Congress to conduct an investigation to determine if there’s any truth whatsoever to Pompeo’s insinuation. He is the CIA director after all.

Incidentally, Congress would do well to be guided by the British Parliament’s inquiry into allegations that former Prime Minister Tony Blair “sexed up” UK intelligence. He allegedly exaggerated the threat Saddam Hussein posed to justify British involvement in the invasion of Iraq. That inquiry produced the very damning Chilcot Report.

That said, I think Trump falsely accusing Obama of wiretapping him is an impeachable offense. Likewise, I think Pompeo falsely insinuating that Obama misrepresented US intelligence is a firing offense.

Unfortunately, Trump has so “normalized” egregious behavior that, evidently, the Republicans who control Congress do not deem his offense even a misdemeanor, let alone the high crime I think it is. Therefore, it follows that Trump is hardly inclined to fire his CIA director for doing what he himself considers a perfectly normal thing to do, namely to make reckless and utterly baseless accusations against political opponents, including a former president of the United States.

Nonetheless, a congressional investigation should obtain to establish the facts surrounding Pompeo’s very troubling insinuation – if only for the record.

Related commentaries:
Cuba policies
Normalizing relations
WTF! President-elect Trump
Blair/Chilcot report

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