That headline is not hyperbole. It is sadly — and horrifyingly — true.
Now, it’s not Donald Trump. We’ve had less skilled politicians as chief executive, and we just lived through eight years with a guy whose only real job outside of sucking off the government teat was “community organizer,” whatever that is. No, a billionaire reality star is not the horror.
And it’s not the coming automation boom, which will put millions of people out of work and further consolidate wealth in the hands of the richest. It’s not even the looming stock market crash that will occur when the bubble bursts (the thing about bubbles is they always burst, sooner or later).
No, the terror is from within. The horror comes from our own government, and especially the intelligence community, where officials seem to have gone rogue and where anything — and everything — is now in play.
The frightening reality is that a president laid seeds to destroy his successor — who, as it turns out, he targeted with the secret spy organizations at his beck and call. During the last days of his term, Barack Obama set out to sabotage Mr. Trump by spreading intelligence information throughout the federal government, as well as to foreign governments. In a governmentwide effort, Mr. Obama and his cronies “scrambled to spread” damaging information about Mr. Trump and his associates meeting with the Russians, The New York Times reported.
“As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not,” The Times wrote.
Intelligence agencies bent the rules to allow “the upload of as much intelligence as possible to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information.”
The reports are alarming. The chief executive of the U.S. government used spies and spooks to spread what amounts to rumors about the incoming president, with the sole purpose of forcing a drawn-out probe led by the political enemies of the duly elected president.
The story gets more disturbing. Mr. Trump this week charged that Mr. Obama led an effort to tap his phones at Trump Tower, his home. In October 2016 Team Obama filed a request with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil a computer server in Trump Tower and phone lines into and out of the building. Former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed off on the requests, according to reports.
That’s Watergate-level stuff, people. You have the president of the United States ordering the tapping of a candidate to succeed him under the guise of Russian influence (none, by the way, was found). Then, FBI Director James B. Comey, who should steer clear of all politics, jumped in, demanding the Justice Department deny the charges. Simply unheard of.
But, again, wait. It all gets worse. Much worse — and much more menacing.
WikiLeaks on Tuesday dumped nearly 8,000 documents gathered from hackers who broke into the Central Intelligence Agency, the largest trove of files ever stolen. And what they contain is truly fearsome.
Some were straight out of a spy thriller: A CIA program named “Weeping Angel” gave agency hackers access to Samsung Smart TVs, allowing the microphones to be remotely switched on while keeping the appearance that the TV itself was turned off. But it was far more widespread.
“The documents also showed extensive hacking of smartphones, including Apple’s iPhones; a large library of allegedly serious computer attacks that were not reported to tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft; malware from hacker groups and other nation-states, including, Wikileaks said, Russia, that could be used to hide the agency’s involvement in cyberattacks; and the growth of a substantial hacking division within the CIA, known as the Center for Cyber Intelligence, bringing the agency further into the sort of cyberwarfare traditionally practiced by its rival the National Security Agency,” the Intercept wrote.
More scary still: WikiLeaks said the CIA used geolocation software in phones to tap into vehicle control systems in modern cars and planned to hack vehicles to carry out “nearly undetectable assassinations.” The agency could do the same with planes.
There are dozens more hair-raising tales in the WikiLeaks documents, which you can (and should) read. And WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange notes that this is just a small percentage of the documents soon to come, labeling this release “Year Zero.” Wonder what Year 13 will bring.
The activities of Mr. Obama, his minions in the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies he controlled are all beyond terrifying. If all reports are true, there’s no telling how many laws have been broken, how many crimes have been committed.
But let’s hope that Mr. Trump sticks to his word and vows to find out. There’s only one way to drain the swamp — empty it out. But remember, when you try to do that, the snakes hiding there are going to try to kill you. Now it’s kill or be killed.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He also ran the Drudge Report as morning editor for four years. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter via @josephcurl.