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Thursday, February 16, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The #NeverTrumpers are at it again, cheering on the “deep state” in the bureaucracy and politicized members in the intelligence community as they try to undermine and delegitimize President Trump. Their actions are disturbing, destructive and — as the president himself correctly tweeted — deeply “un-American.”

Former third-party presidential candidate and devoted #NeverTrumper Evan McMullin went so far as to lecture Mr. Trump on Twitter: “By oath, intelligence officials’ first duty is to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” all but accusing Mr. Trump of being one of those domestic enemies. Mr. McMullin, a former CIA operations officer himself, called on fellow Republicans to “dump this guy.” His attacks reflect the mindset of those on a crusade to destroy the legitimacy of the Trump presidency at all cost.


Some in the Washington establishment’s “deep state” have leaked classified information and transcripts of sensitive conversations to the media, a criminal act. The revenge of the intelligence community has shifted into high gear. Some in the deep state may see this campaign as a moral obligation, but the cost to our national security from undermining a democratically elected president is too high. The downfall of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is just the beginning if Mr. Trump cannot get a handle on the situation.

President Trump and his national security team need to figure out how to clean house in Washington, D.C., but the task might be more difficult than they think. There are entrenched bureaucrats and Obama holdovers in key positions within the intelligence community willing to leak to the news media in complete defiance of the president. In the first weeks of Mr. Trump’s administration, they have released transcripts about the president’s calls with foreign government leaders, an unprecedented and harmful betrayal and a blow to our international reputation.

Mr. Trump tweeted that “the spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught.” And during Thursday’s press conference, he said that those who gave the information “should be ashamed of themselves,” while revealing that he has spoken with the Justice Department about further investigations into the leaks. The president can claim the high moral ground in his promise to ensure that classified information is not illegally distributed.

To many liberals these leakers are heroes in an endless battle, whistleblowers willing to take on and, ultimately, take down a president. But in the long run, their actions destabilize our government and hurt our democracy. The intelligence community and the executive branch need to be working together, not undermining each other, so they can focus on the real threats facing our nation such as radical Islamic terrorism.

Around the globe, politically unstable nations have been vulnerable to powerful military or intelligence officers who can’t resist the temptation to seize power. We should not fall into this trap, mired in instability fomented by unelected bureaucrats. There are ways for disgruntled government employees to air their grievances, and if they can’t honorably serve a given president, they should simply resign. What is unacceptable is to deliberately attempt to bring down a president and his team through illegitimate means.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that some in the intelligence community are already unwilling to provide sensitive information to the president. If this is the case, those leakers have decided to put politics over country. If they support the notion that Mr. Trump is a “domestic enemy,” then those working for his downfall undermine not only this administration but the very essence of our democracy.

Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.


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