Trump, as has been reported many times, does not attend most daily intelligence briefings. The CIA, FBI, and NSA have said that Russia tried to elect Trump through hacking, and Trump has fired back at them.

Liberals are wringing their hands about Trump’s unprofessionalism and disrespect for the intelligence agencies.

Some of this is just embarrassing: Given how intelligence agencies performed in the Iraq war, and their dubious and incompetent behavior in many other episodes, and given the historically violent, anti-democratic nature of the CIA overseas, and the FBI and NSA domestically, anyone who is even slightly left of center should be deeply suspicious of anything they do.

But there is a deeper issue, which speaks (again) directly to the inability of most non-Trump people to understand the Trump argument about the world.

The CIA says bad things about Trump, and Trump answers the same way that a hard left-winger would, and that anyone sane should: “Whatever.” Then he points out what a “heck of a job” they did in Iraq.

Daily intelligence briefings are one of the ways that intelligence agencies and the Deep State control presidents. Such briefings set the frame; they create the reality within which Presidents operate, frame the available options, and so on. Start the day with one almost every day, and you will be influenced to see the world the way they do.

And then you become Obama: Handmaiden to the same intelligence agencies you criticized while running your campaign.

Intelligence briefings are dubious activities. If Trump wants specific information, he can ask for it. If an issue is genuinely urgent, the head of the agency can push it personally, but taking those briefings every day is a poison pill, and I am highly skeptical of the notion that it leads to better decision-making.

Instead, it is almost certain to lead to status quo thinking, plus the perpetuation of those activities intelligence agencies most enjoy. (Say hello to Obama’s massive ramp up of drone assassinations, and to his huge crack down on whistleblowers.)

This the same as Trump not bothering to talk to State about his Taiwan call. Of course State is going to say, “Don’t do it,” they are wedded to “One China,” and they’ll also leak like a seive (as they and the CIA and FBI have already been doing).

Why even bother to talk to them about it? Oh, one can make arguments, but if you’re sure you want to change things, and you know they disagree, all talking to them does is give your enemies more opportunities to sandbag you.

There’s a lot that Trump wants to do that I don’t agree with, but putting the Deep State in their place isn’t one of those things. They serve at the President and Congress’s pleasure; they are not part of the Constitution, they do not have to be consulted, and, given their abysmal performance during the last few decades, it’s hard to see why any particular respect should be given to them.

This is the world model that Trump (inasmuch as he ascribes to a “world model”) and Bannon live in, Bannon especially. They do not grant that the people who have been running government are smarter or more competent than they are, they believe the reverse.

So, no, they don’t respect the CIA’s opinion. To them, the Deep State is a potential adversary who needs to be brought to heel.

More about bringing people to heel in a later post.

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