In my last column, I criticized the anti-Trump “resistance” for its excessive zeal in exposing Russian espionage, observing that counterintelligence work driven by politics and emotion rather than facts and discipline is bound to go wrong. At worst, we run the risk of a new wave of McCarthyism, with meandering witch-hunts for Kremlin agents (most of them imaginary) instead of serious counterspy efforts.
What’s interesting is that the “resistance” is a movement of the Left and its adherents, with few exceptions, are recent fans of counterespionage. Their interest in Russian spying is driven by Donald Trump and is as intense as it is new. Their enthusiasm for unmasking traitors customarily outpaces their understanding of real-world intelligence operations.
It’s difficult to miss that these are the same people who mocked Mitt Romney only five years ago when the Republican nominee for president presciently opined that Russia constituted our main geopolitical foe—a suggestion that was mocked as old-think by President Barack Obama and his followers.
Moreover, the Left was hardly brimming with anti-Kremlin zeal back in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was mainly the Right, aided by a few stodgy old Democratic Cold Warriors, that signaled the alarm about Soviet espionage and propaganda as a threat to our country and the West. Indeed, for many on the Left, the notion that Moscow was aggressively spying on us was a notion deserving of derision.
How times change. Now the Left is on the enthusiastic hunt for Russian agents, while the Right has transformed itself seemingly overnight from a Romneyian skepticism about the Kremlin to indifference to the threat at best, and at worst a strange and unsettling affection for Vladimir Putin. President Donald Trump is the Republicans’ biggest Kremlin fan, and his reticence to hear anything bad about Russia extends to any classified White House discussions about Kremlin interference in our 2016 election. As a bombshell new report in the Washington Post explains, the president’s Intelligence Community briefers customarily avoid anything to do with Russia in their daily briefing to the commander-in-chief altogether, lest they upset him by saying something bad about Putin.
Read the rest at The Observer …