Today, the National Observer came out with a terrifying article about how our own Intelligence Community considers the Donald Trump White House “leaky, untruthful and penetrated by the Kremlin.” Yet on Fox News Sunday, there were no questions for “senior policy advisor” Stephen Miller about the troubling picture of Trump as an actual threat to national security. Instead, Miller was allowed to repeatedly claim that Trump’s controversial Muslim ban and his stepped-up immigration raids were out of a deep desire to keep Americans safe.
Here’s what national security and intelligence expert John Schindler wrote in a shocking op-ed published this morning:
Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.
In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.
Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.
What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.
It’s not clear to me whether this article was published before or after Wallace interviewed Miller but there are certainly many troubling questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia that are front and center right now. What is clear is that the Trump administration does not want to discuss them. Kellyanne Conway refused to discuss (but did not deny) reports that National Security Adviser Mike Flynn talked to the Russians about Obama-imposed sanctions before Trump took office. When he appeared on other Sunday shows today, Miller likewise refused to discuss it.
But Wallace did not even ask Miller about Russia or Flynn (nor, apparently, did CBS’ John Dickerson) or about Trump’s negligence regarding national security. In addition to the Observer report, questions recently arose about Trump’s dereliction when it was noted that he was tweeting about Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump merchandise just 20 minutes after he had supposedly begun his daily intelligence briefing.
On Fox, Miller repeatedly defended Trump’s controversial recent actions on immigration and immigrants as evidence of his concern for the welfare and safety of Americans. (Transcript excerpts via FoxNews.com):
MILLER: And so, we are contemplating new and additional actions to ensure that our immigration system does not become a vehicle for admitting people into our country who are hostile to this nation and its values.
The United States of America has a terrorism problem. We’ve had hundreds cases of foreign national entering our country from other countries and plotting, attempting, or even carrying out terrorist attacks. We’ve spent countless dollars a year, and we have thousands of federal officers and investigators who do nothing but run around the country trying to stop terrorist attacks for no other reason because we make the mistake of letting people in who harbor hatred for this country.
Our immigration system should not be a vehicle for admitting people who have anything but love in their hearts for this nation and this Constitution.
MILLER: But something is going to come out of this [Muslim ban], which will be very good. In the end, the powers of the president of the United States will be reaffirmed, and the whole world will see clearly and unmistakably, and it’s a message that I want the world to hear today—that this country will protect its borders. It will protect its people, and it will ensure we have an immigration system that promotes wage growth, that promotes employment opportunities for our people, and importantly promotes compassion for working-class citizens who want to live in safe, secure, upperly mobile communities.
Because of President Trump’s actions, innocent people are now being kept out of harm’s way.
Wallace actually did a decent job of challenging Miller on the policies under discussion but Wallace never stepped out of the box to question the larger, even more important questions about Trump’s national security behavior - or misbehavior.
In failing to do so, Wallace all but handed the Trump administration immigration fig leaves behind which to hide what looks like serious wrongdoing that endangers us all.
Only slightly less disturbing was Miller, himself. This Washington Post article ought to scare the heck out of you about the guy as well as his unhinged behavior with George Stephanopoulos on This Week (below). Perhaps even worse was Trump’s approval of Miller's performance:
Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
Watch Miller below on the February 12, 2017 Fox News Sunday and This Week with George Stephanopoulos: