By Joe Ragonese
Corruption starts at the top and works its way down, like a cancer metastasizing throughout a body. That is not a theoretical belief, it is proven fact. One does not start a corrupt organization at the bottom, and work their way up to the top, it works the other way.
If the leaders of an organization are honest and honorable, 99% of the employees will follow suit. In the same way, if the leaders of an organization are corrupt, then a large number of those below will also be corrupt. The greater the corruption at the top, the more corrupted below. That’s how it works.
Once upon a time the FBI was an incorruptible investigative organization, whose leader, J. Edgar Hoover, protected his agency like a mother bear protects its cubs. While he did play the political game, no one below him was allowed to. After he left, most who followed tried to emulate him, until James Comey.
In the same way, our intelligence agencies, out of patriotism and professionalism, also presented an aura of incorruptibility and staunch loyalty to the American ideal. They; however, were less trustworthy and prone to excess, especially at the CIA. Unaccountable power is its own corruptible force. None the less, they played a vital role in protecting America, while maintaining their silence on any and all operations that they were involved with; that is until Obama.
That code of silence was the glue that held all of America’s investigative and intelligence agencies to a higher standard than mere political appointees. That expectation became the norm; that is until the leaders of these agencies were corrupted, due to vociferous, partisan politics. That process occurred under the stewardship of Barack Obama, the most partisan President this nation has ever known.
Today we have a dynamic within our executive branch of government that is broken and held to standards of conduct that are at the lowest level of loyalty and professionalism that this country has ever seen; so bad, in fact, that it has turned from a political circus, into a dangerous and traitorous undertaking. The proof of its nefariousness is that our long-time allies doubt our ability to be trusted.
Theresa May, Prime Minister of Great Briton, announced that the lack of security in the American executive branch is extremely troubling, and that she will insist that President Trump insures that shared intelligence must remain secure. As if that were not enough, the Mayor of Manchester, England, went further and announced that he will no longer share information with the U.S. on this latest terrorist investigation.
Speaking about the sieve of leaks, President Trump also called it troubling. Everyone agrees that there is a problem, yet no one has done anything about it. There should already be investigations in progress dealing with this illegal dissemination of classified information, yet none have begun.
The real elephant in the room is not the Russian hacking investigation; rather the leaks coming from the FBI and intelligence agencies, the same people investigating the Russian connection. The only laws that have been broken in that investigation are by those who have illegally passed classified information to unauthorized people.
Had the FBI initiated an investigation, you can bet that it would be known; someone would have leaked the info. Where we find ourselves today is in a situation where honor no longer exist within government, and betrayal is rewarded. For whatever reasons that those responsible for leaking America’s secrets and providing them to the press, it has now become a matter of treason, and must be dealt with on that level.
In order to determine the depth of the problem, and to stop it in its tracks, these acts of treason must be thoroughly investigated. The FBI can no longer be trusted to investigate these leaks to the press, because a good number of them are coming from the FBI. The same goes for the CIA, DIA, and all the other intelligence agencies whose members are no longer trustworthy. As the old saying goes, when the apples in barrel are rotten, get them from a new barrel.
President Trump needs to create a new special investigative agency whose only job is to locate and prosecute those who divulge classified information, from any branch within the executive branch of government. Just as the FBI investigates local law enforcement for “acting under the color of the law,” in civil rights cases, this new investigative agency must be the agency that investigates our governmental investigative and intelligence agencies, for their acts of treason against America.
This new agency, let’s call it the ESIA, (Executive Special Investigations Agency) will possess the power of all the other branches, and will act with the authority of the President of the United States. It must be completely autonomous, so it should have both investigators and prosecutors within it that can independently investigate and prosecute, without going through the Department of Justice; who can also be investigated for wrongdoing. There are still people within the DOJ who are passing information to the press, and who knows where else.
I can see some reading this thinking that calling the leaks to the press treason might be somewhat of an exaggeration; however, think about the quality of the information that has been leaked; for example, a top secret call between the President and the President of Australia. This time it was only a largely innocuous chat between two allies, think if they were discussing options against China.
On another occasion, a classified meeting between the President, several members of the intelligence community, and the Russian Ambassador, information, including classified information detrimental to our security partnership with a close ally, was leaked only minutes after the meeting. That leakage could have led to the death of field agents, its information was so crucial.
Providing classified information to unauthorized people is not some college prank, it is treason and must be treated as such. Those who are leaking the information, and it could be Kellyanne Conway or John Brennan; for whatever reason they think that their leak will help or hurt President Trump, they have no authority to distribute the information to the public. What they see as harmless, can be crucial to multi-national cooperation or even lead to a war. They simply do not have the knowledge to determine that.
To put a stop to these leaks, which go much farther than simple statements to the press to embarrass this President, all means available by this administration must be instituted, and the sooner the better. If our allies cannot trust that shared information will not be in tomorrow’s New York Times or Washington Post, America cannot perform its most vital role, that of defending the Constitution, and all of its citizens.