Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
Trump is making it harder to keep America safe

JulietteKayyem

May 19, 2017

By Juliette Kayyem

(CNN)What happens when the Department of Homeland Security extends a terror advisory and no one pays attention? Late Monday, in the midst of a 24-hour news cycle that included the bombshell about President Donald Trump's purported handling of classified information, the department warned of the dangers posed by homegrown terrorists.

But the relative lack of interest in the warning, a sort of "nothing to see here" response, is a reflection of the drama's surrounding the Trump White House. The President's consistent actions threaten to undermine our confidence in the entire national and homeland security apparatus.

Trump has a tendency to end statements with "believe me." We would be safer if, in the context of our intelligence agents, he could say with authority, "Believe them."

"We face one of the most serious terror threat environments since the 9/11 attacks as foreign terrorist organizations continue to exploit the Internet to inspire, enable, or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts," said the bulletin, issued through the National Terrorism Advisory System. As a result, further actions are being taken to help local authorities prevent and prepare for a potential attack.

Knowing the alert system intimately, I do not doubt the veracity and care that went into this announcement. A comprehensive review process is involved to ensure that politics and haste do not guide or politicize how intelligence analysis is shared with the American public.

Trump has a tendency to end statements with "believe me." We would be safer if, in the context of our intelligence agents, he could say with authority, "Believe them."

"We face one of the most serious terror threat environments since the 9/11 attacks as foreign terrorist organizations continue to exploit the Internet to inspire, enable, or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts," said the bulletin, issued through the National Terrorism Advisory System. As a result, further actions are being taken to help local authorities prevent and prepare for a potential attack.

Knowing the alert system intimately, I do not doubt the veracity and care that went into this announcement. A comprehensive review process is involved to ensure that politics and haste do not guide or politicize how intelligence analysis is shared with the American public.

And while the new advisory was issued Monday night, Tuesday's disclosures regarding a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey describing a meeting where Trump, again in the best light possible, allegedly stated his hopes to Comey that he would end the ongoing investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn, provided yet more proof of a presidency unwilling to abide by the standards that guide our security apparatus. Whether it is obstruction of justice is for lawyers to decide. But the verdict is in -- he denigrated those who work tirelessly to protect the nation from foreign threats, mainly Russia.

Where all this White House controversy ends no one can say. But as we watch Washington burning, we should be concerned that another threat is looming over the horizon. And the present behavior of the President implies more than just recklessness or lack of respect of boundaries or norms. He personalizes intelligence: "You are with me or against me."

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