On Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily, former CIA operations officer Scott Uehlinger, co-host of “The Station Chief” podcast, told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow that the media wishes to “portray by inference” that President Trump is recklessly careless with classified information.
“I don’t see that as being the problem right now, from my perspective as a professional,” Uehlinger said. “The continued leaks of this type of information to the press are actually the greater threat to the common good than any of the actual terrorist revelations made to the Russians, which is sort of business as usual in the intelligence world.”
“In intelligence, we always say you have to consider the source. When you look at something like the Washington Post, which in the past week was shown to have basically printed two unsubstantiated rumors as fact, I’m going to definitely go with McMaster every time,” Uehlinger said, referring to National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster’s denial of the Washington Post story about President Trump disclosing classified material to the Russian Foreign Minister.
“What’s being reported is that Trump perhaps provided information to the Russians from a city from which some information was obtained on this apparent ISIS plot to use laptops as explosives, but no sources and methods were given up, as McMaster states,” he continued.
“Of course, the fact that the threat is a possible ISIS use of explosive laptops – I mean, I don’t think that this in and of itself is a great revelation. For one thing, the Department of Homeland Security has discussed this since March, when they put a travel ban on the use of laptops in airplanes in flights going through ten Muslim-majority cities,” Uehlinger noted.
“So this is not something that the Russians have heard nothing about. I’m sure you and the other listeners have had the experience of checking your laptop in separately when you go into the airport. This intelligence is not greatly revealing,” he said.
Marlow said that Trump “is not pro-Russia by any means, but he does see them as potential allies in the fight against terror.” At the very least, he suggested it was not unreasonable to worry about Russian civilians losing their lives in a terrorist bombing, if crucial information about the threat was withheld by the U.S. government.
“There’s no question about that, absolutely,” said Uehlinger. “The Russians themselves have suffered from ISIS attacks. They took down an entire flight. They killed almost 300 people, if I’m not mistaken, sometime before Christmas. So of course, this is a good strategy to try to enlist their aid in the international fight against Islamic extremism.”
“The thing that I find very disquieting, shall we say, is that the liberal media is always waging a war of moral equivalence. They would have us believe, in this case, that their allegations against President Trump are even more severe than the documented factual transgressions of Democrats in the past,” he said.
“For instance, there has been some really grave public revelations of sensitive information under Democratic administrations, but of course this was ignored. Under Obama, CIA Director Panetta – on 60 Minutes, no less! – gave the identity of a medical doctor away that had been critical in finding Osama bin Laden. This mistake necessitated his evacuation immediately from Pakistan, lest he be killed. Shortly thereafter, Vice President Biden foolishly revealed that SEAL Team Six was behind that operation, and that resulted in a retaliatory attack that killed many SEALs on the infamous Extortion 17 flight,” Uehlinger recalled, using the call sign of the helicopter that was shot down by Taliban militants, killing all aboard.
“In this case, actual lives were lost, and this information was needlessly given to the press. But yet, there was media silence on that, because it was done under a Democratic administration,” he argued.
“They’re trying to say that he gave up information in discussing the laptop plot that compromised potential sources and possibly methods of intelligence collection,” Uehlinger observed.
“Now, it’s believed that the information provided was given to the United States by a friendly liaison service – speculation is either Israel or Jordan. The idea is that somehow we’re going to damage our liaison equities because we gave up this information without asking the Jordanians or Israelis for permission. I reject that, because another thing I believe is that information on this plot likely perhaps included Jordanian or Israeli information, but also involved other sourcing and other reporting,” he said.
“Usually you need multiple sources of information on such a thing to enact something like a Department of Homeland Security travel warning,” he explained. “Usually you’re going to have more than one source of information to justify putting out something like that. And so again, they’re just trying to create a tempest in a teacup, and trying to use some classic misdirection to make this seem like an egregious violation of security protocols – and there’s not, in fact.”
Marlow asked if the “unprecedented” volume of damaging leaks from the Trump administration could be taken as evidence the “Deep State” of entrenched government employees and a “permanent political class” exists, and is taking action against a president who threatens its interests.
“You’re right about that, Alex,” Uehlinger replied. “I worked in the CIA for an entire career. I’m retired from there. Before that, I was an officer in the Navy. Since the age of 18 I’ve been involved in this sort of thing, and I’m 52 now. The fact is that the Deep State does exist. It’s not a bunch of people meeting at midnight in secret rooms. It’s not an active conspiracy. But it is, in fact, a lot of like-minded people in the government who are certainly opposed to the Trump administration, and are willing to do almost anything to subvert that agenda.”
“I mean if someone like Sally Yates, who basically was fired for refusing to follow the perfectly legal orders of President Trump at the time, and she was removed. But the very fact that, for instance, yesterday Hillary Clinton is pushing the ‘resist’ byline that is being used all the time shows you that this sort of empowers a lot of government bureaucrats who basically reached maturity under the Obama administration, and still feel a loyalty to that progressive agenda. This empowers them to continue to do things to subvert the Trump administration,” he warned.
“A few days ago, the director of national intelligence – the new one, Dan Coates – he stated that leaks will continue to be a serious security threat to the administration,” he noted. “Think about that for a moment. The head of the U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the President of the United States that Americans leaking information, secret information about their own government, is going to continue to be a serious security threat. He’s admitting that he’s captain of a very leaky ship.”
“I take notice when people say things like that. Unfortunately, the Democratic powers-that-be are continuing to basically cajole and convince people within the government to follow this sort of tactic,” said Uehlinger.
“What can be done about it? Is there any recourse, as far as you know, that the president has to try to patch some of these leaks?” Marlow asked.
Uehlinger advised President Trump to “be more active in perhaps appointing people that can be trusted in the government, political appointees.”
“There have been many slots that have been left unoccupied,” he pointed out. “He needs to put loyalists in there, and they need to take a serious look not just obviously the Obama political appointees that have been removed, but there are, as I said, a great deal of other government bureaucrats who are perhaps at retirement age, who at this point need to be encouraged to retire or told to retire because they are operating at odds with the agenda of the Trump administration. It is definitely an uphill and difficult battle.”
Marlow concluded the interview by asking for Uehlinger’s take on the situation in North Korea.
Uehlinger said North Korea has greatly increased its level of activity on nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, racking up 76 missile launches over the past five years.
“Also, despite the fact you hear a lot of publicity about failed launches, believe me, the North Koreans are actually doing very well with their missile launches – far better than the United States or the Soviet Union did in the old days, when we were perfecting our missiles,” he warned.
“Their abilities are increasing greatly, and it is of great concern,” Uehlinger said. “They’re developing at a much faster rate: submarine-launched ballistic missiles, solid-fuel missiles – which is something new – on mobile launchers. It makes even pinpointing such weapons in a preemptive strike extremely problematic. This is an increasingly dire threat in my book.”
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