The Scofflaw Mentality: From England with Love
Looking back at the presidential campaign of 2020, why would the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), to include the FBI, use their considerable powers to try to prevent the election of Donald J. Trump (Russia hoax) and then, subsequently, attempt to undermine his presidency?
Maybe because Candidate Trump was touring the nation recalling the many known failures of the CIA and the FBI and demanding that those responsible be called to account.
But was fear of a President Trump enough to cause the IC to abandon the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Maybe it has to do with a mindset rooted in the ethos of the British Secret Intelligence Service: (MI6), the Godfather of our Intelligence Community.
This writer recalls a dark, dingy classroom in rundown Ft. Holabird, MD, where our class of counter-intelligence novitiates was told: "If you do not believe the ends justify the means, then you should not be in this classroom." In the months to come, we were taught to pick locks, (surreptitious entry), do electronic surveillance (planting bugs), and all the kinds of stuff found in spy novels. The following year, the first James Bond movie hit the silver screen.
Although subtle, we were given the impression that the two British intelligence services: MI6 and MI5 were to be held in awe. Indeed, when the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS.), the precursor to the CIA, arrived in WWII England, the OSS was the student and MI6 was the teacher. The subtext was: intelligence officers are a bit special and are sometimes above the law.
Heres a direct quote from an intelligence officer who, in 1959, rose to be the deputy director of MI6: "It is the spy who has been called on to remedy the situation created by the deficiencies of the ministers, diplomats, generals, and priests...Mens minds are shaped of course by their environment and we spies, although we have our professional mystique, do perhaps live closer to the realities and hard facts of international relations than other practitioners of government. We are relatively free of the problems of status, of precedence, departmental attitudes and evasions of personal responsibility, which create the official caste of mind. We do not have to develop like Parliamentarians conditioned by a lifetime, the ability to produce the witty phrase, the smart reply, and the flashing smile. And so it is not surprising these days the spy finds himself the main guardian of intellectual integrity."
In other words, many elected and/or appointed officials are too stupid and bumbling to carry out their duties with dispatch, to do what it is necessary to do. Moreover, we Intelligence Mandarins will decide all that. No need to bother with all that Democracy rot.
But, given what we have seen in Washington (Benghazi and Afghanistan come to mind) the writer has a point; however, such thinking is, at its heart, Fascist and wrong.
Yes, secrecy is essential to the proper conduct of intelligence gathering. But Bill-of-Rights-loving Americans should be "skaken" by the actions of our Intelligence Community since the summer of 2019 and "stirred" to action to stop such abuses and bring the perpetrators to Justice.
Suggested reading: A Spy Among Friends, by Ben Macintyre, 2014. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carré (AKA David Cornwell), 1963.
©2022. William Hamilton.