This is a day of historical significance. It marks the end of the intelligence community as an independent arm of our government. The Trump-enthralled, GOP-led Senate confirmed the nomination of John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence, a move which is technically illegal, first and foremost. Federal law dictates, “Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise.” Ratcliffe doesn’t even come close. Of all of the confirmations that this corrupt kangaroo court of a Senate has rubber-stamped, this is the most egregiious of all.
Ratcliffe will now head all 17 intelligence agencies in the country which comprise the intelligence community and be in charge of preparing the top secret President’s Daily Brief — not that it matters, Trump doesn’t read it. Ratcliffe’s confirmation was the textbook definition of partisan politicization, and another glaring indicator, if another one was needed, that the Senate needs to be taken out of GOP hands. The Republican majority all voted for Ratcliffe, enabling him to now carry out his work as Trump hatchet man, which he intends to do. Ratcliffe has called for investigation into the Obama administration, into Hillary Clinton, and into Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. This is the template for the 2020 election. Trump had lunch with GOP senators on Tuesday.
Trump urged GOP senators to stay unified and play offense by taking the political fight to Democrats, repeating to them his accusation that senior Obama administration officials tried to sabotage his campaign and incoming administration in 2016 and 2017.
He sought to assuage their concerns about polls showing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a healthy lead in key states by emphasizing the enthusiasm advantage he has among base voters.
That’s the plan, do one hell of a smear campaign on Obama, and the Democratic establishment, and the crazy base will eat up all the conspiracy theory and carry the day. And that’s precisely where John Ratcliffe comes in. Daily Beast:
Ratcliffe’s official, verified campaign Twitter account follows several accounts on the political fringe, including a 9/11 truther account with just one follower besides himself and four promoting the outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that the world is run by a cabal of Democratic pedophile-cannibals—and has been ruled a potential source of domestic terrorism by the FBI.
The conspiracy theorists followed by Ratcliffe, whose nomination for director of national intelligence goes before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday morning, cover a bizarre range of beliefs. They posit that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his death to help Trump to take down the Deep State. Others claim a Democratic sex dungeon exists in in a Washington pizzeria. But Ratcliffe and the QAnon promoters he follows have one thing in common: utter loyalty to Trump.
Even before Ratcliffe’s QAnon interest was known, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), a committee member, told The Daily Beast, “Congressman Ratcliffe is a partisan politician who has spent the last two years promoting conspiracy theories in defense of Donald Trump.”
— GalvestonGuru 🏝 (@RoxannBentsen) February 1, 2019
This is the level of fruit fly that is now in charge of national intelligence. And the 49 Republican senators who voted for him to assume a position for which he is totally unqualified will sleep just fine tonight.
Veteran intelligence officials expressed alarm that the Senate may soon confirm a Trump loyalist atop the U.S.’s 16 intelligence agencies. [article written May 4] “Ratcliffe would be the least qualified person to run the intelligence community, ever, and that includes Ric Grenell,” said former CIA and National Counterterrorism Center analyst Aki Peritz, referring to the acting director of national intelligence. “The hardest job for any intelligence officer is to speak truth to power. Based on Ratcliffe’s past performance, it’s doubtful he can resist the urge to politicize intelligence on behalf of Donald Trump.” […]
“He has little experience in intelligence, and already had to withdraw his nomination once after lying about his resume. The pandemic has shown how putting unqualified loyalists in critical jobs leads to disaster,” said Wyden. “Any Republican who cares for the security of our country should think hard about the consequences of supporting the least qualified, most partisan person ever nominated for DNI.”
They don’t care. As stated, they’ll sleep just fine tonight and wake up too late, we pray, on the morning of November 4, when at least some of them will have been voted out of office.
The last go round with Ratcliffe was in 2019, when Trump nominated him to run Liberty Crossing, the DNI’s headquarters. That campaign folded after a week, when Ratcliffe withdrew, after his lie of having arrested 300 undocumented immigrants in a single day was exposed. But now he’s back. And who he is and what his agenda is, is crystal clear and it is flaming batshit crazy. You can’t write fiction weirder than this.
In Ratcliffe’s Twitter feed, accounts with names like “Hobbit Frog” and “Political Madness” pump out tweets that portray Trump not just as a great president, but as a messianic figure poised to use the military and intelligence agencies to purge the country of top Democrats—either through executions or with military show trials and prison terms in Guantanamo Bay.
The QAnon accounts Ratcliffe follows often go to extremes. In a graphic posted by one of the accounts, a screaming Trump rescues crying children from a demonic Hillary Clinton—accompanied by text accusing Clinton of conducting child sacrifices. Another posits that Vincent Fusca, a Trump supporter some QAnon believers claim is John F. Kennedy Jr. in disguise, conducted a secret arrest of former President George H. W. Bush.
Bear in mind that two QAnon believers have been charged with murder while two others have been involved in alleged child abduction plots. Another one pleaded guilty in February to committing a terrorist act near Hoover Dam. And yet another one live-streamed a trip to New York City, where the plan was to “take out” Joe Biden. She was later arrested on weapons charges.
I don’t think it’s overstating the case, on these facts, that Trump’s QAnon disciples are criminally insane. And I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to state, again, on these facts, that the chance of John Ratcliffe presenting objective analysis of intelligence matters and presenting them dispassionately to Trump is non existent.
Today is an historic day because it marks the end of an independent intelligence community and the beginning of God only knows what.
A corrupt, self-serving Senate, composed of Republican senators who have abrogated their oaths of office, just approved the nomination of a fringe lunatic to run national intelligence. Think about that. This is where we are in May of 2020. This election is not only the most important one in our lifetimes, but the most important one in the country’s lifetime, or at least since 1860. I think there’s little dispute of that.