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Flynn, Russia and the World of Conspiracy Thinking

by Melvin A. Goodman

Counter Punch, February 2017 |

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has a well deserved reputation for conspiracy thinking. Presumably he will assume that the U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the former director of National Intelligence, conducted a campaign to force his removal from the Trump administration. Ironically, the Kremlin, which has lived historically in a world of conspiracy thinking, will view the ouster of Flynn as part of a campaign by the U.S. establishment to prevent any improvement in Russian-American relations... Read More »

Trump vs. the CIA

by Melvin A. Goodman

Counter Punch, February 2017 |

The unanimous rejection of the Trump administration’s efforts to reinstate the ban on travel from seven Muslim countries will lead to the first test between this White House and the intelligence community, particularly the CIA. The three-judge panel indicated that the travel ban did not bolster national security in the United States and that there was “no evidence” that anyone from the seven countries had committed terrorism in the United States. Former intelligence tsar James Clapper has stated that there is no intelligence to justify such a ban. However, the appeals court acknowledged that the president was owed deference on immigration and national security issues, which will compel the White House to tailor intelligence to document a threat... Read More »

Return of the Torturers: Back to the Crime Scenes of the Past

by Melvin A. Goodman

Counter Punch, February 2017 |

The Trump administration has signaled that it is willing to return to the heinous crimes of the past two decades, including torture and abuse, secret prisons, and extraordinary renditions. The appointment of Gina Haspel as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency clearly indicates that the use of torture, including the use of waterboarding, which has been endorsed by the President, the national security advisor, and the CIA director, could once again be a major part of the U.S. campaign against international terrorism... Read More »

“Mad Dog” Mattis Just Another Pussycat

by Melvin A. Goodman

CounterPunch, January 2017 |

Donald Trump pointedly drove to the Pentagon on Friday to close U.S. borders to refugees from around the world; to block families indefinitely fleeing the slaughter in Syria; and to suspend immigration from seven Muslim countries. With Secretary of Defense James Mattis smiling over his shoulder, Trump established a religious test for refugees from Muslim countries and ordered that Christians and others from minority religions would be granted priority over Muslims. During his confirmation hearings, General Mattis spoke with great feeling about his opposition to such moves and explained that the coalition to stop international terrorism would be weakened by any attempt to target and demonize Muslims... Read More »

David Ignatius, the CIA’s Apologist-in-Chief

by Melvin A. Goodman

CounterPunch, January 2017 |

There is universal agreement that President Donald Trump’s “advertisement for himself” in front of CIA’s memorial wall on Saturday was an unmitigated disaster for both the vainglorious president and the Central Intelligence Agency. But there are always favorable reviews to be found. In this case, there were two: one from the president who told ABC’s David Muir that the presentation was “great;” the other from the Washington Post’s long-time apologist-in-chief for the CIA, David Ignatius... Read More »

Trump and the Militarization of National Security

by Melvin A. Goodman

The Real News Network, January 2017 |

Mike Pompeo was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, on Monday. Pompeo is a member of the Tea Party, and achieved national fame through his involvement in the Benghazi hearing... Read More »

Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts

by Melvin A. Goodman

CounterPunch, January 2017 |

There have been presidential administrations (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush) that have worked to politicize intelligence, and there have been CIA leaders (William Casey and Robert Gates as well as George Tenet and John McLaughlin) who have cooperated with these efforts. In doing so, these intelligence officials created integrity and credibility problems for the CIA, which are once again at hand. Indeed, President Donald Trump’s self-aggrandizing and egomaniacal performance at CIA Headquarters on January 21 marked a new low in presidential efforts to politicize the most controversial agency in the intelligence community... Read More »

America’s Russian Problem

by Melvin A. Goodman

CounterPunch, January 2017 |

Russian-American relations over the past several years have taken on some of the most familiar aspects of the Cold War. The conventional wisdom is extremely one-side, concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is entirely responsible for the setback as a result of his actions in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine and Syria, and that the Russian leadership is not trustworthy on any diplomatic or political level. This is a simplistic view... Read More »

The Dark Side of Obama’s Legacy

by Melvin A. Goodman

CounterPunch, January 2017 |

There is a dark side to President Barack Obama’s legacy on national and international security matters that will enable President-elect Donald Trump to damage America’s political institutions as well as its standing in the global community. President Obama, a Harvard-trained lawyer and an expert in constitutional law, was insufficiently scrupulous in protecting our moral obligations, creating an ironic and unfortunate page in U.S. history. Instead of making the “world safe for democracy,” the clarion call of President Woodrow Wilson one hundred years ago, President Obama contributed to the furtherance of a national security state and a culture of secrecy... Read More »

Trump’s Reliance on the Military

by Melvin A. Goodman

Consortium News, December 2016 |

Given how militaristic the State Department has become, it might make sense for President-elect Trump to turn to generals for his national security team, but there are risks in that, too, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman... Read More »

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