WaPo: CIA Veterans Say U.S. Showing Signs That It’s On Verge Of Collapse


“Protesters, the ensuing crackdowns, and… staged displays of strength” remind former intelligence of democratic decline.

The Washington Post reported in June that some former Central Intelligence Agency analysts “accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad,” have seen in the United States disquieting familiar scenes in “the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns, and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority.”

  • The Post wrote, “In interviews and posts on social media in recent days, current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations.”
  • Analysts have pointed to the massing of protestors and President Donald J. Trump’s relatively militaristic response as examples of what they might normally flag as an indicator of societal decay.
  • The Post reported that some “Trump supporters have defended his handling of the unrest” as necessary to restore order.
  • However, some administration officials have anonymously expressed discomfort with Trump’s tactics and are in some cases minimizing their role in his recent activity.
  • Publicly, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told NBC News in a June 2 interview that he did not know when he accompanied Trump to Lafayette Square that Trump would be holding a photoshoot there in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. A Pentagon spokesperson affirmed the same.
  • Trump faced serious criticism, including from the bishop of the local episcopal diocese, for having law enforcement clear Lafayette Square with rubber bullets and tear gas approximately twenty minutes prior to the Washington D.C. curfew, apparently in order to stage a photoshoot in the area.
  • In audio from a call with governors, Trump told state leaders that “you have to dominate.” Attorney General William Barr also used the term “dominate” to describe the administration’s encouraged response. Esper, the secretary of defense, said, “we need to dominate the battlespace.”
  • Some former analysts worry that the administration’s crackdown undermines the United States’ efforts in recent years to encourage other nation states to meet mass demonstrations with restraint.

Retired Central Intelligence case officer Marc Polymeropoulos wrote on Twitter,

The president standing bizarrely alone and holding a Bible—after police on live tv attacked peaceful protesters to support this photo op—was indeed an iconic image. It reminded me of what I reported on for years in the third world. Saddam. Bashar. Qaddafi. They all did this.

Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) released a statement on Twitter:

President Trump is… threatening to deploy deadly military force—in violation of states’ rights—to cities across the country to “dominate” protestors… As a former CIA officer, I know this playbook, and I know the President’s actions are betraying the very foundation of the rule of law he purports to support—the U.S. Constitution.

Read more.

Header image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain


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