How a Former US Spy Chief Became Trump’s Fiercest Critic
Our road to ruin is paved with lies and greed.
American intelligence services have long tracked the rise of what Clapper calls “unpredictable instability,” but now the US appears to be suffering from the same malady. “The United States had begun to show many of the same characteristics of instability we used to assess other nation-states,” he writes, including rising income equality, an increasingly restive population of young people who couldn’t find work, a rural-urban divide, and declining political discourse.
In a chapter devoted to the capital’s budget dysfunction, he explains how intelligence professionals and Pentagon leaders increasingly view warily the country’s ever-growing deficits and crushing national debt—both of which have been dramatically expanded in recent months by the Republican congress’s massive tax cuts and spending increases. He cites Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen’s characterization of our national debt as the most prominent threat to national security, and Clapper calls out the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party for “play[ing] chicken” with our country’s government, citing the mandatory spending cuts known as “sequestration” and unforced governance errors like the 2013 federal shutdown. Those sequestration cuts are like rot in the basement. “The degradation to intelligence will be insidious,” Clapper writes. “It will be gradual and almost invisible—unless and until, of course, we have an intelligence failure.”