A Rough Guide to the 12 Intelligence Officials Who Condemned Trump for Revoking John Brennan’s Security Clearance

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

As those of us who still follow the news know, President Trump revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. (For those who came in late, Brennan organized torture and “extraordinary rendition”[1], and was a “vocal advocate” of giving the telcos immunity for Bush’s enormous program of warrrantless surveillance[2], under President George W Bush. Under President Barack Obama, Brennan organized the “kill list,” later rebranded as a “disposition matrix,” which Obama used in at least one case to kill a U.S. citizen with a drone strike, while avoiding any form of due process.) In response to Trump’s action, twelve “top” intelligence officials wrote and published a statement denouncing it (here). This is the key paragraph:

We know John to be an enormously talented, capable, and patriotic individual who devoted his adult life to the service of this nation. Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless.

(Scores of “ex-spies” later joined the original twelve.) In this post, I’m not going to discuss motive, whether Trump’s for revoking Brennan’s clearance, or the intelligence community’s outrage that he did so, or the media’s. Rather, I’m going to focus on the question of whether “the twelve” should have any standing to issue such a statement in the first place. After all, if torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless surveillance, and whacking US citizens without due process are not “wrongdoing,” then what on earth can be?[3] To this end, I will first present a table sketching the careers and personal networks of “the twelve.” Next, I’ll look at those who did not sign the statement. After that, I’ll make a few brief comments about “the twelve” as a class. I’ll conclude by raising the issue of standing again. I hope this post will be especially useful to those who haven’t been following politics since 9/11, who may take our current institutional structures for granted (see especially footnotes [1] and [2]).

Service Dates




Best Malefaction(s)

Media Venues

Corporate Boards

Groups (Selected)

Companies (Selected)



William H. Webster

Director of Central Intelligence

 Washington University School of Law  (1949)

Abortion clinic bombings not domestic terrorism (1984); Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2002)


Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., Nextwave Wireless Inc. (Bloomberg).

Atlantic Council (LittleSIs)

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Wikipedia)



John E. McLaughlin

Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

Johns Hopkins (1966)


Noblis (LittleSIs)




Porter J. Goss

Director of Central Intelligence

Yale (1960)

Approves torture (2002); Management turmoil (2004).


Dickstein Shapiro LLP (LittleSis)



General Michael V. Hayden, ​USAF Ret.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Duquesne University (1967)

Lying on “extraordinary rendition” (2004); destruction of the Fourth Amendment via warrantless wiretapping (2005); defends torture (2014)

Ubiquitous appearances (2017); CNN (Politico)

Alion Science and Technology, DC Capital Partners, Motorola Solutions, Inc., National Interest Security, Next Century Corporation, SafeGov.org (LittleSIsI

Atlantic Council (LittleSIs), Committee to Investigate Russia (CtIR)

The Chertoff Group (LittleSis)



Stephen R. Kappes

Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Ohio State University (1976?)

Defends torture (2009)


AmorGroup International plc (LittleSis)

Atlantic Council (LittleSIs)

Qtec Analytics, Torch Hill Investment Partners (LittleSis)



Leon E. Panetta

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Santa Clara University School of Law (1963)

Advocates impunity for torturers (2009)


BP America, Corinthian Colleges, Fleishman-Hillard, Oracle Corporation (LittleSis)

Committee to Investigate Russia (CtIR)

Beacon Global Strategies  



Michael J. Morell

Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Georgetown (1980?)

Defends torture (2015)

CBS (LittleSIs)

Goodyear Tire & Rubber (LittleSis)

Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations (LittleSIs), Committee to Investigate Russia (CtIR)

Beacon Global Strategies (LittleSIs)



James R. Clapper

Director of National Intelligence

 St. Mary’s University (1970)

Iraq WMDs fantasy (2003); Lies to Congress about mass NSA domestic surveillance (2013)

CNN (Politico)


Committee to Investigate Russia (CtIR)

Booz Allen Hamilton (LittleSis); GeoEye, BAE Systems, SRA International (WikiPedia)



General David H. Petraeus,​ USA Ret.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Princeton (1987)

Gave classified information to his mistress and biographer (the same person) (2012)


Council on Foreign Relations, The McCain Institute for International Leadership (LittleSis)

KKR Financial, KKR Global Institute



Avril Haines

Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Georgetown (2001)

Takes no action against CIA staffers who hacked into Senate computers (2015)



David S. Cohen

Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Yale (1989)


Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin; WilmerHale (LittleSIs)


First, let’s look at Directors of Central Intelligence who did not sign, although they were directors during the timespan from Webster until today, presumably because they were not asked to. We can throw them into buckets by administration:

George H. W. Bush

Richard J. Kerr (September 1, 1991-November 6, 1991)

Robert M. Gates (November 6, 1991-January 20, 1993)

Bill Clinton

Admiral William O. Studeman (January 21, 1993-February 5, 1993)

R. James Woolsey (February 5, 1993-January 10, 1995)

Admiral William O. Studeman (January 11, 1995-May 9, 1995)

John M. Deutch (May 10, 1995-December 15, 1996)

George J. Tenet (December 16, 1996-July 11, 1997)

George W. Bush

George J. Tenet (July 11, 1997-July 11, 2004)

Why the gaps? As it turns out, the list of “the twelve” omits the entire Clinton administration! It would be irresponsible not to speculate. We can throw out Directors with very short tenures (Kerr, Studeman). Of the remainder, each has a scandal or debacle associated with them. Gates, Iran-Contra, albeit unindicted; Woolsey, Aldich Ames; Deutch, mishandling of classified information; Tenet, telling George W. Bush that Iraq WMD intelligence was a “slam dunk.” If indeed scandals and debacles account for these Directors not being asked to sign, then we remind ourselves that torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless surveillance, whacking US citizens without due process, and impunity for crimes are not scandals or debacles.

Second, let’s look at “the twelve” as a class, a collectivity. (This research took more time than I thought it would, partly because Google is useless; I ended up aggregating information from WikiPedia, LittleSis, History Commons, and SourceWatch; Bloomberg results turned out to be too patchy. I’m sure that this table is not exhaustive.) I added the Degree column to see if, like the galaxy brains Obama hired to handle the post-Crash economy, they all came from Harvard and Yale (or, in a pinch Princeton, etc.). In fact they do not, although Morell, Petraeus, and Haines have top-rank degrees, if you consider Georgetown top-rank; the intelligence community is or at least was a career open to talents. Skipping over the Malefactions column for a moment, we come to Media Venues, where we see that four of the twelve are employed as media commentators, and two of the twelve (Hayden and Clapper) are ubiquitous. If we think of a security clearance as a credential, and we think of a credential as an option on (a property interest in[4]) a future income stream, we can see that the financial impact of security clearance revocation is considerable (cue sound of smashing rice bowls). The rice bowls become even more clear when we turn to the Corporate Boards column. Finally, it’s clear that “the twelve” are densely networked together through shared think tank membership, especially via The Atlantic Council and The Committee to Investigate Russia. In short, we should give consideration to the idea that “the twelve” are at least partially driven by shared class interests, in addition to favoring torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless surveillance, and whacking US citizens without due process as instruments of national policy.

Finally, let’s return to the issue of standing. You know Leo Rosten’s definition of chutzpath: “That quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.” The chutzpanik[5], in other words, does not have standing, and “the twelve” are all chutzpaniks. Here, I confess that age may be working against me; I grew up when Civics 101 was still a thing, in the long ago world where security theatre had not yet taken over the airports and the schools. But if you were born in 2001, and are now 17, possibly getting ready for college, my world is not yours. Your world includes the destruction of the Fourth Amendment by mass surveillance, torture as a routine instrument of statecraft, a State that whacks people (U.S. citizens or no) with no due process through sudden violence from the sky, where made-up fantasies (like WMDs) are used to drive the country into war, and where elite impunity for “wrongdoing” and crimes is the norm. Scan the Malefactions column, and you will see how hard “the twelve” worked to birth that our dystopian hellhole of a surveillance state. That is what “the twelve” — in a sublime act of chutzpah — deem “service of this nation.” They should have no standing to make such a judgment, either for their “service” or for their depraved idea of what a nation should be.[6]


[1] In essence, “extraordinary rendition” means that the United States would kidnap an individual, then fly them to a country — 54 in all participated — where, unlike the US, torture is legal, and torture them. Well and good, unless they kidnap and torture the wrong guy. Gina Haspel, unprosecuted by Barack “We tortured some folks” Obama, and made head of the CIA by Trump, made her bones by torturing rendered individuals. So you see why Assange might have trust issues about leaving the Ecuadorian embassy. Ronald Reagan’s Department of Justice gave extraordinary rendition the OK in 1988, back in the days of William Webster.

[2] The “warrantless surveillance” story blew up in December 2005 with this story in the Times by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau: “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts“; although Risen had the story while Bush was running for his second term in 2004, Times editors suppressed it. “Obama voted for the “FISA Reform” bill to give retroactive immunity to the telcos for their part in Bush’s program in July 2008, immediately after he was nominated as the Democrat candidate for President, after promising to filibuster such a bill in January.

[3] Cf. “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong” (Abraham Lincoln).

[4] Here we recall Madison’s view that factions are founded on shared property interests.

[5] This, also from Rosen, is useful, too: “Chutzpanik: The man who shouts ‘Help! Help!” while beating you up.'”

[6] Yes, some of the signatories are “better” than others. But they all signed the letter, so “All for one, one for all.” And have any of them resigned? Of course not. “Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. George Phillies

    ” Ronald Reagan’s Department of Justice gave extraordinary rendition the OK in 1998, ”
    minor correction needed here. 1988??

  2. tokyodamage

    Thanks for this!

    So the Twelve is basically the members of the Atlantic Council – where have I heard that name before? Oh – they’re the ones “helping” facebook, twitter, etc. decide which accounts should be suspended.

    Man, i don’t know which is more depressing: that they exist – or that they’re so lame.

    Conspiracies should have golden idols, secret handshakes, and at a bare minimum, hoods and capes.
    Also they should either be super secret, or – failing that – they should be a junta with elaborate military uniforms and aviator shades.

    But no, in 2018, America gets a conspiracy of the most boring white-collar managers, bloody-handed office drones, and as-seen-on-tv ‘experts’.

    On the other hand, sites like r/The_Donald are full of MAGA people calling the CIA “A bunch of commie traitors”, which is, uh, new and different.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Regarding the Atlantic Council, Dimitri Alperovitch, FOUNDER of Crowdstrike, is also a member–a “senior fellow.”

      Crowdstrike, you’ll recall, is where the whole RussiaRussiaRussia thing started, it’s work never checked and it’s conclusions never questioned.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I hate the term “connect the dots,” but that coincidence is just a little to big for my taste.

        I should also do a follow up post on Werel’s concept Flexians, which these people obviously are.

        1. Steven B Smith

          They all have 1 nexus, her name is Jamie Gorelick, she goes back to Nixon helping him secure his papers. She runs America’s blackmail bribery network that runs Congress, and she’s an undisclosed Iran agent since at least 2004 here is the USDOJ proof, and proof of criminal conspiracy withing the USDOJ, FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, and IRS to cover it up. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/schlumberger-oilfield-holdings-ltd-agrees-plead-guilty-and-pay-over-2327-million-violating-us

          She was on the SLB board 2002-2010 when she slid out the side door as the USDOJ was pretending to close in. Team Mueller are all her direct appointees, recommendees, associates or partners, she even hired her own prosecuting US Attorney Ron Machen Jr. immediately after the USDOJ SLB deal. Unfortunately for her in 2015 when the SLB deal was announced somebody remembered she was on the SLB board 2002-2010.

          1. Steven B Smith

            I’m guessing she fed Trump the “DOJ plants” as Kushner’s attorney and advisor.
            Hubris got her. Did Ivanka know? Who cares?

            Jamie was also the architect of the Fannie Mae mortgage fraud criminal invasion congressional bribery feedback loop, it was supposed to end when they went bust, she instead shifted to war and green energy and she’s currently behind another multi billion dollar federal ripoff of US taxpayers. A multi billion dollar qui-tam claim will be filed shortly.

  3. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    And Madness, begat Madness:

    I would rather not bring religion into this but I think that ideology is at the root of it all. I assume that these people all subscribe to the bible for moral guidance. I’ve also got to assume (through my exposure to American Christian TV) that the ‘eye for an eye’ section gets thumbed through much more that the ‘turn the other cheek’ part at the back.

    Perhaps Chrisianity’s continued use of the Old Testament illustrates the true nature of conservatism – go with the flow of the new, but keep the old rules more than just in reserve.


  4. The Rev Kev

    Great chart that. The names were familiar with all their past misdeeds but here it is really laid out. Trump seems to have divined that the way to strike back is to hit them where it hurts. Right in the rice bowls. Of course some of them are screaming like stuck pigs but that must be because Trump is threatening them in their access to classified information which these days amounts to power – and money.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis has two good article on this whole topic at http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/08/httpsenwikipediaorgwikiclassified_information_in_the_united_states.html and http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/08/ditto-colonel-lang-by-publius-tacitus.html but the point is that clearance is always a provisional right, not a god-granted right. Would you believe that President Roosevelt had his clearance revoked in the months before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbour? The actual President!
    I am reminded here of a similarity between these characters and the old mafia but not for the reason that you might think. Yes, there was the concept of being a ‘Made man’ in the mafia but more to the point, when I was a teenager there was a standing joke of how the mafia was always saying that there was no such thing. Caught mafia men were swearing that if they came from the same Sicilian background, it was because they enjoyed the same sort of restaurants. Yes, they actually said that. The difference here is that you never then had men like John Gotti or Carlo Gambino become media commentators on ABC or NBC and pontificating about crime in America.
    The worse thing is that you get the feeling after reading Lambert’s chart that these are not the best people to have lead America’s security apparatus. A lot of them were always political but I do not know if you can claim that through their work that they have made America any safer. If anything, the overall situation has become much worse but still they double down. Then again, you wonder if they are really working for the good of the United States or are working for the good of the deep state. That last sentence may explain a lot.

    1. False Solace

      I’m sure they believe the good of the United States, and the good of the deep state, and their own personal financial good, all coincidentally, conveniently, and happily coincide with their beliefs that torture is dandy and that guiding the US into a moral hellscape is the only acceptable course of action.

      If the world had any justice these elderly men would each suffer what they dished out to their victims.

    1. Bridget

      I would also imagine that a cable news commentator with a security clearance is better positioned to legally receive classified information without jeopardizing his sources, who might think twice about leaking information to someone who has lost their clearance. A cable news commentator with no sources is in danger of early obsolescence.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      A security clearance is hardly a “golden ticket” as suggested in the verbiage of your link. I think the linked information is more indicative of how bad the job market is after college or the service than how “golden” a clearance is. You usually need a few more cards in your hand to make it worth more than a single Jack in five-card stud. You hold two cards as a veteran with a clearance, but you’ll also need some special very closely tied experience and you’ll want to add a degree and a decent rank to put some middling shine onto your “golden ticket”.

      A security clearance is a protection against having your job outsourced or covered by an H1-B substitute. Without a “need to know” it isn’t supposed to matter whether you have a clearance or not regardless of your clearance level. You’re in violation for accessing information without a “need to know” or sharing that information with someone without a “need to know”. There is a certain amount of information floating around that seems to be considered generally accessible to persons at a certain security level. But information of that sort, mostly government research reports, has a security level of “SECRET” or below. Anything classified at a higher level is invariably “compartmentalized”. Most all of the stuff classified at “SECRET” level and I would guess much even most of the stuff at “TOP SECRET” level is either embarrassingly stupid or something a person knowledgeable in the field could easily guess correctly from information readily available on the “outside”. Tom Clancy makes this claim in talks he gives at some of the firms that hired him to lecture on the importance of security and classified information (I don’t think he got too many return requests).

      But these are all security rules for ordinary people — us little people. The Hillary email server makes clear that there are other security rules for special people. Who outside the club can say what the rules are for the security clearances of the special people? I suspect Brennan losing his clearance is more about public “face” than special access to “secret” information. Trump can’t boot him out of the club. In this. the impacts he might experience from his loss of clearance are very different than the impacts Oppenheimer experienced.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > these are all security rules for ordinary people — us little people. The Hillary email server makes clear that there are other security rules for special people. Who outside the club can say what the rules are for the security clearances of the special people?


  5. AC

    Erm, Lambert, you sorta missed the biggest red flag with John Brennan, CIA station chief in Riyadh, then leads Obama’s multi-billion dollar multi-year operation to support Al-Qaeda and other Jihadi groups in Syria against the Assad govt with weapons, training and PR. The guy spent the apex of his career supporting America’s enemy in the supposed war on terror. Not 100% sure on the legal aspects of it but I feel like that should qualify for rotting away in a federal supermax facility for treason.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Entirely possible. I went with what I had followed personally in the Bush and Obama administration. That said, a link would be nice, since nothing on the details of Brennan’s tenure in Riyadh came up in my searches.

      Adding: Somehow Riyadh strikes me as a different kettle of fish. It’s operational, not systemic. There’s probably another post to be written on clueless cluster****s in the national security establishment. Not only are they vile torturers, they couldn’t run a toffee shop.

      1. Redlife2017

        In the UK we have a great saying: “Couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.” ‘Piss-up’ meaning ‘drinking session’ for my US cousins.

  6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Still got my Secret Clearance, lol

    I think its good for 10 years after u get out the Military.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Paranoia fodder access rights:

        By now you would think it would be like ‘The Men in Black’ – look at this bright light, then poof – all gone, but then, if as it seems every man and his dog, and the dog’s fleas have got access to the paranoia fodder*, why bother?


        *Any fool knows that If ‘they’ probably won’t accept the truth, so feed them that which is aligned with their own propaganda instead.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your clearance is “on-ice” for 2 years and then gone. See the link in the comment above from
      Bridget [August 19, 2018 at 10:40 pm]. It still takes a while to switch it on and get cleared to a program.

  7. Procopius

    I was going to comment that having a security clearance does not “entitle” a person to access classified material. Then, looking at the common membership in the Atlantic Council, I realize I have to change that to “is not supposed to.” It should not be a credential. Of course I don’t trust any of these people as news commentators anyway, but the networks don’t know that. Also, I still think Brennan must be tried under the Espionage Act for revealing the mole in Putin’s office (who is probably either a lie or dead by now). Is it a crime to “reveal” information which should be classified at the highest level but is, in fact, a lie?

  8. Mary Bess

    We can choose between the Kleptocrat State (steal as much as you can, as fast as you can, for as long as you can) or the Surveillance State, the point of both being the transfer of wealth from the bottom up. Almost accomplished. Like Madame Defarge, people are knitting. Sadly, mobs rarely do the right thing.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t think mobs let too many of the guilty go free and unpunished. The problem with mobs is the number of innocents they destroy.

      [I haven’t read “Tale of Two Cities”. Didn’t Madame Defarge knit as people were found guilty and while they were being executed? That’s not quite the same as Nero’s “fiddling”.]

  9. Mary Bess

    Defarge’s indiscriminate need for revenge doomed both the innocent and the guilty. I’m still “rule of law.”

      1. Daniel F.

        Rule of law is, sadly, not very useful when most of the laws protect the rich and powerful.
        War on certain kinds of drugs, tax evasion versus tax avoidance, so on and so forth. It’s almost like there was some kind of class warfare going on!

  10. Tom Doak

    i hadn’t thought of it for a while, but remember during the campaign when the IC protested giving Trump security clearance, even when he became the nominee? I wonder now if they were trying to cover their own tracks.

    And as the President has a long memory for slights, one might think there is some tit-for-tat going on here, if he wasn’t such a stickler for decorum.

  11. Hana M

    This is just great, Lambert! Thank you for the ‘intelligence’. I particularly appreciated the links to better sources to use in searches. Google really has become useless.

  12. Jack

    Lambert, Robert Gates did add himself to the letter that was sent to Trump. About 3 days after the letter was released I believe.

  13. DJG

    Quibbling with your notes. The U.S. didn’t “render” suspects to countries where torture is legal. The U.S. sent people to compliant members of the coalition of the “willing” who were willing to abase themselves.


    In this case, and in a very real way, I have no idea what benefit the Lithuanian government thought it was providing, especially given the history of Lithuania in the last hundred or so years–the collective memory among Lithuanians of Lithuanians being shipped to Siberia cannot have diminished by now. (Romania, well, it is one of the basket cases of central Europe.)

    I assume that Gina Haspel in Thailand likewise was a violation of Thai law.

    1. DJG

      Otherwise, my compliments: It is important to show, over and over, how torture corrupts the elites, how the elite’s decision to allow torture shows them as hollow men (and women, too), and how the populace must repudiate such criminals.

      And until the torturers are tried in court and sentence, there will be endless coverups. After all, murder is still murder, a crime with no statute of limitations, whether you happen to like or value the person murdered or not.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The US also sent prisoners to Syria to be tortured but I do not know if you could describe Syria as a member of the coalition of the willing. As for Gina in Thailand, I have no proof but would suspect some form of extraterritoriality clause would have been included in the agreement for the CIA to use that base. Doesn’t cover her from international law though.

  14. Michael C.

    And look who populates our mass media landscape as the experts–former CIA and FBI officials, whose background and present boards they sit upon is rarely disclosed, along with a whole array of of retired military brass who work for the arms industry and security firms and think tanks that exist to support the military/industrial/congressional complex along with the US’s muscular foreign policy needed to enrich those self-same people and their corporate backers. MSNBC and CNN are toppy heavy with these voices, and never question their narrative.

    I often wonder if the world wa simpler in my childhood or if it is a distorted nostalgia fractured through the light of childish beliefs.

    1. precariat

      “I often wonder if the world wa simpler in my childhood or if it is a distorted nostalgia fractured through the light of childish beliefs.”

      I have wondered this myself. While I think the corrupt rot has always existed, the combination of neoliberalism and the surveillance state has eroded the civil society that could push back against it.

  15. RUKidding

    Thank you. This is important information to have all in one place. So disgusting. This list highlights the True Deplorables, imo.

    Of course, Trump went after Brennan bc Brennan called Trump a traitor. Trump is nothing if not vindictive and will have his revenge. I’m not so sure that Trump taking away Brennan’s security clearance is as significant as it appears at first glance. I mean, after all, he wants known, noted torturer, Gina Haspell to head the CIA.

    That said, thanks for compiling this. I’m sure it took a lot of time. Well done.

  16. Scott1

    Brennen says he has called the President “Treasonous” not because of anything he was privy to due to his Security Clearance but because of what he, and the rest of us has read in the papers and seen on TV.

    I saw the same things and consider the current President Treasonous.

    Back when I did all my most intense studies of the CIA, KGB & Interpol the CIA was considered the private army of the President. It is part of the Executive Branch. It was not seen as independent of the Executive Branch in any way.
    My studies, meaning reading and things I saw when working on airfields were carried out in the late ’70s & early ’80s.

    Now we hear that there are 11 or more Military Intelligence services. Counter Intelligence is a responsibility of the FBI. The rationale being the threat to US security is happening in the US.

    Secrets are hard to keep and people may be killed as were many in China when purloined by the adversaries of the nation.

    In the case of President Trump we have seen him support Putin Policies and it has been reported he gave the Russians Lavrov, & Kislyak & Tass secrets the Mossad had given the CIA. That Trump spent 2 hours in private in Helsinki with Putin and so well supports repeal of Sanctions, of interest to Naked Capitalism Readers because Sanctions are Economic Warfare important for us to understand broadly and in detail for their effects on our national economy & the rest of the world’s economic situations. We are attempting often to understand Secret Policy Foreign and Domestic.

    In the case of Trump he has asked for nothing from Putin when asking Sanctions against Russia instituted for the annexation of Crimea & the invasion of the Ukraine. This implies strongly he personally has already received financial support and is paying Putin back for that financial support.

    We may well prefer that our Intelligence Services are independent of this particular Executive. It is obvious that our Allies have strong reasons to hold onto their secrets and greatly diminish sharing with US Secret Services, their secrets.

    It is of great import that for reasons beyond my full ability to understand because it is so astounding to see happen US Senators have actually traveled to Russia and come back to Lobby the American People, or somebody, to repeal and stop US Economic Warfare against Russia & Putin allies for Russia’s Annexation of Crimea and he invasion of Ukraine.

    I have a dog in this fight. I live in the US and am a US Citizen. It is my side and I have suffered financially and professionally when my government has not defended my interests. Because of Russian and Chinese theft of US intellectual property such as movies and music I could not get any money for films found at festivals when I was authorized to do so for a Russian Company distributing in Russia.

    In movies and music, distribution is where the money is supposed to be.

    I had developed a readership in China when writing for a website with my own section, that was obviously blocked in China. I write this in this comments section only to point out that US policies and the policies of other nations have real effects on more individuals than are commonly the focus of the common news outlets. When my Congressman Howard Coble didn’t defend intellectual property rights in his Chairman of the Congressional Committee that was supposed to do that sort of thing, he didn’t so much hurt Hollywood which just raises prices to cover losses to free riders, he hurt little old me in NC.

    Far as my readers in China & the destruction of their access to my writings, well I’d have more status if big in China. Currency of fame helps your books sell.

    Mobsters & spies know war never ends and is primarily economically dependent on monopolizing with their “Products” of vice or ideology specific turf territory. There is a lot of truth to the idea that the status of the dollar is now upheld primarily by its military which invaded nations with leaders intent on destroying the Petrodollar as opposed to the dominance that comes from exports.

    When we defend ourselves from Dictatorships we defend ourselves from famine.


  17. Jack Parsons

    Warrantless surveillance as constitutional destruction? Good lord, the 4th was torn up over forfeiture over 20 years before Bush.

  18. bruce wilder

    Porter Goss’s “management turmoil” directly involved the resignation in protest of John E McLaughlin (also on your list), but of course Goss himself was forced out when the petty corruption of his choice of Number 3, Dusty Foggo, was exposed in the Cunningham procurement scandal. Foggo was described as having had a twenty year career of petty corruption by the CIA IG, as I recall.

    It is a challenge to figure out what distinguishes the 12, aside from unique notions of constitutes a reputation for public service or perhaps memory loss.

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