Former spokesman and senior director for the National Security Council, Edward Price, who contributed large donations to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, announced he is leaving the CIA because he was deeply “troubled” by the new administration.
Price wrote in a letter published by The Washington Post on Sunday that his reason for leaving the intelligence agency “had nothing to do with politics” and that he “would have been proud to again work under a Republican administration open to intelligence analysis.”
He wrote, “I served with conviction under President George W. Bush, some of whose policies I also found troubling, and I took part in programs that the Obama administration criticized and ended. As intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics. The river separating CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., from Washington might as well be a political moat. But this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.”
Price explained that he has been troubled by a number of Trump’s “disturbing” actions and rhetoric, including publicly denigrating the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was responsible for hacking the 2016 presidential election, his politicized speech at the CIA Memorial Wall, and appointing chief strategist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council.
“Trump’s actions in office have been even more disturbing. His visit to CIA headquarters on his first full day in office, an overture designed to repair relations, was undone by his ego and bluster. Standing in front of a memorial to the CIA’s fallen officers, he seemed to be addressing the cameras and reporters in the room, rather than the agency personnel in front of them, bragging about his inauguration crowd the previous day. Whether delusional or deceitful, these were not the remarks many of my former colleagues and I wanted to hear from our new commander in chief. I couldn’t help but reflect on the stark contrast between the bombast of the new president and the quiet dedication of a mentor — a courageous, dedicated professional — who is memorialized on that wall. I know others at CIA felt similarly,” Price wrote.
The final straw came late last month, when the White House issued a directive reorganizing the National Security Council, on whose staff I served from 2014 until earlier this year. Missing from the NSC’s principals committee were the CIA director and the director of national intelligence. Added to the roster: the president’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who cut his teeth as a media champion of white nationalism.”
Price wrote, “The public outcry led the administration to reverse course and name the CIA director an NSC principal, but the White House’s inclination was clear. It has little need for intelligence professionals who, in speaking truth to power, might challenge the so-called ‘America First’ orthodoxy that sees Russia as an ally and Australia as a punching bag. That’s why the president’s trusted White House advisers, not career professionals, reportedly have final say over what intelligence reaches his desk.”
While Price reiterated that his resignation was not politically motivated, it is worth noting that Federal Election Commission records reportedly indicate that he donated the legal maximum of $2,700 to “Hillary for America” in August 2016 and another $2,300 to the Democratic National Committee, “Hillary Victory Fund” on the very same day, reports the Free Beacon.
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