The following is a fictional account of the dialogue between a political science professor and the students of an honors seminar in an East Coast liberal arts college.
“In all my years working in and studying various administrations in the United States, I have never seen the likes of what is happening today,” the professor said as his class filed in and got settled around the conference table. “We won’t have time today to cover all my comments in class, for this is an area I have a great deal of experience in, thus I have a lot to say and to teach you. As a side note, for those of you who will be in the area during the summer, I’m going to offer a course in intelligence management in a six-week summer course. It will be a three-credit course. Many of the comments made in this email will be covered in more depth.
“The leakers in the Trump government are the most impressive part of his team. Within hours of a classified meeting in the White House with the Russian ambassador to the United States and the Russian foreign minister, someone from the intelligence community leaked the content of the meeting to the Washington Post, which decided to publish a portion of the document. Their most probable intent was to further the myth of a sinister link between President Trump and the Russians to destroy the president the people elected and re-establish a socialist/progressive government.
“The charge is that President Trump passed sensitive intelligence information from an allied nation to the Russians on the topic of terrorist plans and capabilities to attack passenger-carrying airliners. Also, the result of the president’s action endangered sources and methods, angered an important ally, and demoralized the hard-working men and women of the intelligence community. The socialist-controlled Democratic Party is now demanding to know exactly what was discussed with the Russians, including any audio tapes and transcripts as if it is their right to know.” The professor paused and shook his head.
“The only crime here is the leaking of classified information to a media outlet. It seems the once-vaunted FBI has lost its ability to find and shut down leakers of classified information. I believe they still have the capability, but no longer have the will or the leadership required to find leakers who may be politically powerful. It is not a hard problem. Most leakers are careless in their contacts with media outlets.
“Neither the media, nor the opposition political party, the public or most members of Congress have any right to the executive’s use of intelligence or the day-to-day conduct of foreign affairs. The reason we collect intelligence at great expense and risk is to use it to protect the nation. The intelligence agencies lean toward safe-keeping all intelligence in their own digital archive under very strict control. The real pros of the intelligence organizations know and understand the need to use intelligence. Nearly all high-level meetings with foreign leaders and foreign intelligence officials result in the use and exchange of intelligence. In most cases, records of what was exchanged or shared are carefully kept. This is a routine process. In most instances, presidents do not know or care to know where the information came from. It is up to the markings on the documents and their national security staff to keep them informed as to the appropriateness of the sharing of intelligence. While mistakes can be made occasionally, no crime is committed. It is a crime for anyone in the intelligence community to leak classified documents, no matter what is their misguided intent.
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