Vox has an interview with "a 23-year veteran of the CIA and a former deputy officer on the National Intelligence Council." I picked this up in my twitter feed, that person describing it as "chilling." But I think they meant chilling from an "isn't Trump a horrible threat?" perspective, although perhaps not. But my take away is that the intelligence community - or at least this person who spent more than two decades working in it - is full of themselves (and "it") and feels entitled to undermine the President of the United States if they view him as sufficiently not to their liking.
What's happened is that the organs of government sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States have been trying to do their jobs. Intelligence professionals take their responsibilities seriously. Whatever they do, they do it because they believe it is necessary, because they believe duty demands it. They’re not playing political games.
This is such chest-beating horsesh1t I can hardly believe it. Not the least of which he seems to think that only portions of the government swear this oath and take it seriously, but the idea that "intelligence professionals" only do things because they believe it necessary and duty demands is plainly laughable. As is the idea that they are not playing political games. John Brennan's spat with the Senate Intelligence Committee being a notable recent example of the opposite of this statement
We are facing the gravest threat to our institutions and our government since 1861, since the country broke in half. This is a graver crisis than Watergate, which was about corruption, not the usurpation of our laws and our checks and balances.
Holy crap is this nonsense. Watergate was much much more than merely simple corruption and was precisely about the "usurpation of our laws and checks and balances." Indeed, I don't see how the current crisis implicates checks and balances at all - other than the GOP-led congress has decided it's not going to act (at least so far). Indeed, he seems to think that the intelligence community is a check and balance against the President. That's... not correct.
And, on top of that, [Trump's] team appears to have been colluding with Russian intelligence services. This is a massive crisis for our norms and our Constitution, and we have to say so.
(emphasis in original) And yet this first statement contradicts what he said earlier in the interview, which was that "Trump and his entourage, for a long period of time, have been associating with, meeting with, involved with, or working somehow with Russian intelligence." Well which is it? He also claims to have "figure[d] this out" - but then immediately backtracks. I guess I would agree this is crisis for our norms.
These sorts of accusations [by Rep. Nunes that leaks are retaliation by the intelligence community] are outrageous and part of the problem. It's shocking to see such a betrayal of the oaths these people took to serve the nation.
This is him, and given his experience I would say at least some portion of the intelligence community, being the sole arbiter of what it means to "serve the nation." Apparently, in his and part of the IC's view, if they determine POTUS is not serving the nation then actively undermining him - via anonymous leaks of secret information - is fully justified. In fact necessary to save the nation and Constitution.
So no, we should not — and cannot — trust this man [Trump].
Again, this is not acceptable from the intelligence community w/r/t the President of the United States. If a large portion of the IC thinks POTUS is a clear and present danger to the United States, they can resign en masse, go to the press, and then dare the FBI and DOJ to arrest and prosecute them. To paraphrase something from twitter - it is rather ominous that our government is being yanked hither and yon by anonymous selective leaks of vague classified information.
I have publicly talked about the crisis that this circumstance poses to the national security establishment. What do you do if you think the officer in charge of you is the one who's betraying the oath and the obligations to protect the Constitution and the country?
If you resign, then someone else will take your place. If you report the information, it will be tabled or used against you rather than acted upon. If you go in-house, you risk having the information passed up the chain of command. So if I were put in this dilemma, I would do what I thought was necessary to protect the nation's secrets.
Leaks are the only option that one has in this existential crisis to protect the Constitution.
I do have sympathy for the lack of whistle-blower avenues and subsequent protection, but this is rather rich coming from the IC. Notably he doesn't mention going to Congress (Sen. Feinstein anyone? Or McCain, at least on Russia issues). Notably he thinks resignation merely means you will be replaced. Most important: he speaks of a crisis for "the national security establishment," and with that he inadvertently gives away the game ISTM - Trump is a threat to the national security apparatus. So of course the interviewee thinks leaks in these circumstances are just fine, but did he have that view under Obama? Or perhaps more to the point, under Bush when the CIA was happily torturing people in secret prisons around the world and then stuffing them in Gitmo under orders from the President and legal cover from the DOJ? Where was this kind of view then? Or perhaps torture and secret prisons were "necessary" and "duty demand[ed] it." Chilling, indeed.
Maybe Trump is sui generis and thus this is a one-off thing for the intelligence community, but I have serious doubts about that (e.g., why wasn't this all coming out during the campaign in such an explicit manner, or did the IC - which in my mind includes the FBI - think Trump would be great for them and when it turns out it's the exact opposite they're having buyer's remorse?).