Intelligence: Raw and Uncut

By Bill Maher

When Devin Nunes rushed off to the White House so the White House could leak him intelligence so that Nunes could then turn around and bring it to the White House, I had this eerie feeling. It reminded me of the Bush years, where raw intelligence, dismissed by the intelligence community as unreliable, would mysteriously re-emerge before being peddled around to friendly news outlets. They even created an office designed to get raw intelligence straight to senior administration officials. It was called “The Office of Special Plans.” And that’s what Nunes’ intel dump felt like: raw intel, mostly useless, but used for political purposes, not intelligence purposes. 

Well, a couple days later, on April 1st, I saw this AP story, and it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke: 

“Officials have expressed an interest in having more raw intelligence sent to the president for his daily briefings instead of an analysis of information compiled by the agencies, according to current and former U.S. officials. The change would have given his White House advisers more control about the assessments given to him and sidelined some of the conclusions made by intelligence professionals.”

Yes, here we go again. Using raw intelligence to work backwards to justify the conclusions we want to come to, rather than separating the reliable intel from the unreliable, and using those conclusions to inform policy. This is problematic with any president, but with President “I’m Hearing…” it’s downright frightening. 

Thankfully, there should be one man in the room with Trump to help him separate the good intel from the bad: Jared Kushner.