It may have put every American serving in an oil producing nation in danger
U.S. government sources tell CBS News that there is a sense of unease in the intelligence community after President Trump’s visit to CIA headquarters on Saturday.
An official said the visit “made relations with the intelligence community worse” and described the visit as “uncomfortable.”
Authorities are also pushing back against the perception that the CIA workforce was cheering for the president. They say the first three rows in front of the president were largely made up of supporters of Mr. Trump’s campaign.
An official with knowledge of the make-up of the crowd says that there were about 40 people who’d been invited by the Trump, Mike Pence and Rep. Mike Pompeo teams. The Trump team expected Rep. Pompeo, R-Kansas, to be sworn in during the event as the next CIA director, but the vote to confirm him was delayed on Friday by Senate Democrats. Also sitting in the first several rows in front of the president was the CIA’s senior leadership, which was not cheering the remarks.
Officials acknowledge that Mr. Trump does have his supporters within the CIA workforce, many of whom were interspersed among the rank and file standing off to the president’s right.
There were about 400 members of the workforce who RSVP’d for the event out of thousands who received an invitation in their email late last week. Officials dismiss White House claims that there were people waiting to get into the event.
Intelligence sources say many in the workforce were stunned and at times offended by the president’s tone which seemed to evolve into a version of speeches he’d used on the campaign trail.
The intelligence community sees itself as above politics even though as president-elect, Mr. Trump was critical of it and accused it of politically motivated leaks.
The CIA was Mr. Trump’s first official agency visit for a reason, it was to signal a new beginning. At the outset of the speech, the president expressed his support for the CIA, “There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump.”
But it is what he said later in front of the CIA’s revered Memorial Wall (a monument to CIA officers killed in the line of duty) – complaints about the media’s coverage of his relationship with the intelligence community and its assessments of the crowd size at his inauguration – that may be harder to erase from the minds of the intelligence community.
Iraqis Are Pissed That Trump Said The US Might Try To Seize Their Oil, Again
“Of course I would fight the Americans if they came for the oil,” one Iraqi told BuzzFeed News a day after Trump at CIA headquarters suggested someday taking Iraq’s oil.
TAL ABTA, Iraq – Abu Luay once battled US troops as a teenager in a series of ugly urban battles. Now the 27-year-old says he’s ready to sacrifice his family to fight the Americans again if the US follows through on President Donald Trump’s suggestion on Saturday to take his country’s oil.
“I participated in the attack against the Americans by attacking them with mortars and roadside bombs, and I’m ready to do it again,” said Abu Luay, an Iraqi security official who provided his nom de guerre and said he was not allowed to speak to the press. His is now fighting along the frontlines with armed Shiite groups in northwest Iraq. “We kept our ammunition and weapons from the time the Americans left for fighting ISIS. But once ISIS is gone we will save our weapons for the Americans.”
Abu Luay and others spoke to BuzzFeed News one day after Trump made a series of explosive remarks to CIA employees – including suggesting that Americans should have taken Iraq’s oil and floating the possibility of seizing the Middle East country’s primary export and natural resource at some point in the future.
“If we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place,” Trump told CIA employees in a speech broadcast on television. “So we should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe you’ll have another chance.”
When is the last time you heard a US president talking about committing a war crime? At that CIA speech, Trump said, “To the victor belong the spoils!” and “So we should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe you’ll have another chance.” THIS WOULD BE A WAR CRIME!
This statement may have just put every American serving in an oil producing nation in danger.
Trump argued repeatedly during the campaign last year that the US should have taken Iraq’s oil. His statement Saturday came a day after his inauguration as the 45th US president, a day on which his new administration declared that its top priority is defeating ISIS jihadis in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and other countries.
Trump’s assertion that Iraqi oil led to the creation of ISIS does not square with facts. ISIS was formed out of several jihadi and nationalist rebel groups that sprang up in Iraq after the US invasion, eventually taking root in Syria amid the chaos of that country’s civil war. Oil became an important component of ISIS’s finances shortly after it was formed and mostly in Syria. ISIS financing sources include oil and oil products as well as taxes, tolls, and kidnappings for ransom.
Iraqis at this tiny outpost near the front lines of the ISIS battle warn that any attempt by the US to seize their oil would destabilize the country, and the region, and possibly undermine the war against ISIS that Trump has described as a top priority.
“There’s no way Trump could take the oil unless he launched a new military front and it be a new world war,” said Kareem Kashekh, a photographer who works for the Popular Mobilization Units, a new branch of Iraq’s armed forces consisting of former militiamen and volunteers fighting against ISIS.
“He cannot do it. He cannot succeed,” said Dawoud Ali, a 30-year-old Baghdad resident and a member of Ansar al-Aghida, one of the Shiite militias fighting against ISIS. “Of course I would fight the Americans if they came for the oil.”
Trump’s comments risk relations with a key player in the US-led war against ISIS. Iraq is currently the primary US partner in the war against ISIS, with the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and members of the country’s various sectarian and ethnic communities fighting the jihadi group.
Sitting inside a small house used as a base for reporters covering the Popular Mobilization’s efforts against ISIS, some suggested seizing Iraqi’s oil would be counter-productive, noting that Iraq recently took a $5.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in part to help pay for the war against ISIS.
Short of war, they said, Trump could use international institutions and courts to divert Iraq’s oil money to the US instead of outright seizing it. “They are the Great Satan,” said Ali, the Shiite fighter. “If they cooperate with the central government maybe they can succeed in taking the oil.”
But that, too, could backfire as Iraqis would likely respond by electing a hardliner like former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is considered close to Iran and is favored by Shiite armed groups close to Tehran, they said. Many critics say Maliki’s sectarian policies helped ISIS take root in Iraq’s Sunni communities.
“If they came with lawyers, maybe they could get away with taking our oil money with a weak person like Abadi, but if we have a strong person like Maliki, it wouldn’t work,” said Hussam Abdel-Wahed, 25, and a member of the Popular Mobilization’s media office.
“We will kick out all of the corrupted politicians,” said Abu Luay. “We now have a wide base and we will go to the ballot boxes. We will use bombs and explosives, and we’ll also go to the ballot boxes if that’s what it takes.”
Link to this story:
Sources say Trump’s CIA visit made relations with intel community worse
January 23, 2017 – By JEFF PEGUES CBS NEWS
Iraqis Are Pissed That Trump Said The US Might Try To Seize Their Oil, Again
Jan. 22, 2017 – by Borzou Daragahi