What Christians Should Know About Intelligence & Washington Politics

Did anyone notice the recent column in the Washington Post extolling the virtues of America’s intelligence community? Well, if you missed it, then you missed a comical attempt to cast opposition to Donald Trump as virtue.

From the Washington Post: “It is a hoary cliche, but no less true, that the function of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power, regardless of how unpalatable the truth may be. If analysts fear they may come under criminal investigation for judgments the president does not like, our nation will be less safe.”

Everyone knows that most of the intelligence community are hard workers doing a good job. However, there are a few bad apples. And one shouldn’t forget that the intelligence community has its own unique worldview—and agenda. In fact, no less a person than America’s greatest diplomat tells us that.

Henry Kissinger warned that the intelligence community tends to err on the side of the Washington Establishment. In other words, they tell the elites what the elites want to hear.

In his White House Years Kissinger writes, “CIA analyses were not, however, infallible. Far from being the hawkish band of international adventurers so facilely portrayed by its critics, the Agency usually erred on the side of the interpretation fashionable in the Washington Establishment.”

So, if it is fashionable to say Orange Man Bad, well, there will no doubt be a few in any Washington agency willing to echo that sentiment.

And while intelligence workers try their best, they often are guilty of group think. Again, we turn to Kissinger for a vivid account of one such example—way back in 1973. Kissinger writes in Diplomacy, “In 1973, Egypt and Syria went to war against Israel. Both Israel and the United States were taken completely by surprise, demonstrating how preconceptions often shape intelligence assessments. The American assessment was so dominated by the belief in vast Israeli superiority that all Arab warnings had been dismissed as bluff.”

And one last little tidbit from Kissinger about both the State Department and the CIA. Of Richard Nixon, Kissinger wrote, “Even more than the State Department, Nixon considered the CIA a refuge of Ivy League intellectuals opposed to him.”

This problem of the Washington Elite fighting a president is nothing new. It grew out of the sense of moral superiority of the Anti-War Movement of liberals in the 1960s. It continues today, in an even more open form against Donald Trump. What Evangelical Christian voters should know is history—that the establishment fought Nixon’s efforts to settle the Vietnam War with honor. Today, the Washington Establishment battles Trump on everything from Culture War issues of religious liberty to foreign policy.

That’s what Christians must know about intelligence and politics—it is all political.