Newseek reporter Kurt Eichenwald has unleashed a long Tweet storm explaining why intelligence professionals are so outraged about Donald Trump’s performance at the CIA on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. [Full transcript here.] A few hours after the initial release, Eichenwald transcribed the whole storm and posted it on Daily Kos, encouraging others to repost on social media. Given Eichenwald’s public encouragement, I am posting the full transcript here. Definitely worth a read:
I am going to try to explain why there is so much outrage in the intelligence agencies about what Trump did on Saturday in his CIA speech. Imagine having a campaign rally at the National Cemetery. Or a cocktail fundraiser amid the grave markers of US soldiers in Normandy. This “event” Trump held, purportedly to greet CIA employees, was in the Memorial Wall room, where 117 CIA employees who died in service to our country are honored. Many more have died, and it takes special approval to receive a star on the wall or be listed in the book, called the Book of Honor. Many of the names of the fallen will never be known, because their identities have to be kept secret even in death.
Rarely is that room used for anything, but when it is, solemn nature of it is recognized. GW Bush was, I believe the first president to hold an event there in 2001, but it was exceedingly respectful and in keeping with the meaning of the room. The second major event was an appearance by Obama after the killing of Bin Laden, when he went to the CIA to thank the ppl there for their often anonymous sacrifices that led to that success in the fight against terrorism. Again, solemn and fitting with the meaning of the room. Both Bush and Obama paid deep homage to those honored in the book and by the stars. CIA employees listened respectfully, but did not turn the events into rallies.
Then, Trump. He has the audacity to bring people from his team to cheer for him and sit in the front rows. I can’t imagine CIA employees cheering and whooping it up at Memorial Wall. It would be like screaming “BOO-yah!” at a funeral. Trump made a single, over-the-shoulder mention of the stars. But he spent most of his time griping about the media, bragging about the number of times he had been on the cover of Time Magazine, and complaining that everyone was lying about numbers at his inauguration and all the while, his professional cheerleaders who couldn’t find their way to the CIA bathroom are sitting there, cheering for the many who apparently needs applause everywhere he goes.
It was an abomination, perhaps the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen done by any president in that kind of place. I felt sure we would hear from former director Brennan pretty fast. Why? Because one of those stars on the wall belongs to a close friend of his who died in service of this country. And he knows who all the others are as well. For him, I’m sure, it was like watching someone having a picnic on the graves in the National Cemetery.
And then the same Trump staff that was too lazy or stupid to do the advance work on the CIA trip, so that they knew the meaning of the wall, go on TV to attack Brennan as a partisan hack for wanting a room of such enormous meaning to be treated with the solemnity it deserves. And that is an important element here.
I actually don’t blame Trump for this horror show on Saturday. Few people outside of govnt know the meaning of the wall. That was his staff’s job, and they clearly had no idea what they were sending Trump to do. No sane person would agree to send a cheering squad. They are incompetent. Worse, they are arrogant, and respond to others pointing out their undeniable errors by attacking and whining.
No, anger at the dishonoring of patriots who died is not partisan. U don’t want criticism? Do your jobs better and when u screw up, like u did by turning most solemn place in intel world as a rah-rah location, just admit it, apologize, and move on.