Our once-stellar intelligence community has morphed into an intelligence cabal
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Our once-stellar intelligence community has morphed into an intelligence cabal

Pete Hoekstra
Fox News 

Having spent 10 years on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including more than six years as either the Chairman or Ranking Republican, I developed a deep appreciation for the work of what is often called the "Intelligence Community" (IC). I also was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the men and women who worked in the trenches, often in hostile and very dangerous locales. They were, and I suspect most still are, great patriots. 

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Sadly, that cannot be said about many of the higher-level professionals who lead the community as demonstrated by their actions over the last number of years. The Hunter Biden laptop episode is just the latest dagger in the side of the Intelligence Community, but it needs to be put into a larger context regarding the IC leadership’s shift in focus. The partisan behavior of so much of the past and current leadership of the Intelligence Community is so bad, it might be more accurate to call it the "Intelligence Cabal." It is a rot that continues to expand.

Consider the unfortunate answer that the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper provided to Senator Wyden in a 2013. Asked the simple question of whether the IC was conducting mass surveillance of Americans, Clapper falsely answered, "No sir. Not wittingly." As revealed a few months later, the National Security Agency had been collecting the metadata for nearly every call and text on American networks. While not necessarily partisan, this deceitful behavior by Clapper would become a disturbing pattern for him and other IC leaders.

In 2017, efforts clearly designed to undermine and perhaps collapse the administration of incoming President Donald Trump were executed by leading FBI and intelligence officials, including DNI Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden. They embraced the phony Steele Dossier and talked with the media to bolster its credibility and damage Trump. They pedaled this narrative until it collapsed under the weight of its own lies when a key Russian source of Christopher Steele was arrested and charged with lying to the FBI. It also was revealed the dossier had been a hoax bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, with Steele pocketing almost $170,000 from the campaign.

But far from being chastened after promoting the politically funded lies of the Steele Dossier, the individuals continued their partisan behavior and attacks. In another blow to the credibility of these much-ballyhooed former IC leaders, The New York Times finally admitted the contents of the abandoned laptop of Hunter Biden first revealed by the New York Post in October of 2020 were real and had been authenticated by the paper. 

This after discussion about the laptop had been banned from many social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook as being Russian misinformation or the result of a hack. 

And after the mainstream media dismissed the New York Post’s reporting out-of-hand and even refused to look into it, dismissing it as a waste of time and not really a story.

And after these vaunted former intelligence officials, joined with 51 former IC colleagues and leaders, to write a letter stating:

"All of us have an understanding of the wide range of activities of Russian overt and covert activities that undermine U.S. national security … Perhaps most important, each of us believes deeply that American citizens should determine the outcome of elections, not foreign governments." 

"… has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."

"If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly Americans need to be aware of this."

Well, they were wrong, and in an ironic twist, they were doing exactly what they accused Russia of doing—engaging in a classic partisan, political information campaign to influence the outcome of an election. They had, wittingly or not, made themselves tools of the Biden presidential campaign.

Signatories of the letter included many familiar and some not so familiar names: Clapper, Hayden, Brennan, and David Buckley. Why do I mention Buckley? He was at one-time staff director for the minority Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, and I know him and can attest that he is a personally nice guy.

The partisan behavior of so much of the past and current leadership of the Intelligence Community is so bad, it might be more accurate to call it the "Intelligence Cabal." It is a rot that continues to expand.

So why bring up someone I like? It’s to demonstrate that the "Intelligence Cabal" never quits. They went after Trump before he assumed office, while he was in office, and during the 2020 election. Their ongoing information operation, which started with the Steele dossier, continues to today. The latest chapter, David Buckley, who signed the laptop letter, is now the staff director for the January 6 Committee. 

Many of us have raised questions about the January 6 Committee, including its construct, its membership, and scope just to mention a few. This latest revelation about the role of its staff director in influencing the 2020 election through a partisan disinformation campaign is the latest major red flag. 

The questions that need to be asked now are: Who will investigate the 51 intelligence officials who signed the Hunter Biden laptop letter about what they knew when signing, and who will investigate whether this created any conflicts for the lead investigator of the January 6 Committee? The sorry thing is we all know the likely answer—no one will.

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