Brad Johnson discusses poor condition of CIA on American Political Zone

Gutted by the former administration, the CIA finds it very difficult to know what’s going in trouble spots. Brad Johnson traces the origin to Deep State corruption. Trump’s lack of experience, and what can/should be done to correct this dangerous condition.


[Music]
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do
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welcome to the vernicio novak report
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from new york this is frank felicio
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and from washington this is durian
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about two weeks ago brad johnson
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provided i think one of the most
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fascinating interviews we’ve had on the
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program
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he is an incredible interview he is a
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former cia
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station chief and of course the
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president or the head of the uh
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president actually
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of americans for intelligence reform
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brad
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welcome back to the program
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hi frank great to speak with you once
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again
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you know i we’ve been talking before you
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were on the air um
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about how to interpret what’s going on
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in china and of course since the obama
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administration
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basically gutted the uh the cia and
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gutted a lot of our intelligence
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it’s hard to get a real on the ground
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read of what’s going on
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in places like china john in particular
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one of the mysteries to me is that if
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you were in the chinese communist
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party and you wanted to project an
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image of uh if it’s safe for taiwan to
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come into the fold
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wouldn’t you have treated hong kong with
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kid gloves
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it seems the most foolish political move
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in history to have treated hong kong as
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roughly as the chinese communist party
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has done
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yes uh well you know
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communists are not famed for being
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delicate in their handling of people
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they consider their subjects
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and i think that kind of sums it up
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hong kong is theirs and by god they’re
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going to make sure that everybody knows
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it
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and taiwan is theirs and they’re going
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to make
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they’re going to make sure that
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everybody’s aware of that at the first
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possible opportunity
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they’ve been closing in on hong kong for
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a very long time and there was no doubt
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uh at where the end result was was
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was going to rest and uh if the same
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thing is intended for taiwan taiwan of
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course is
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much different situation since it’s
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basically a country an independent
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country
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and capable of defending itself and the
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united states
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uh you know probably well certainly
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under trump would also help defend
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uh taiwan so they’re uh under trump
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about
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what a year ago maybe a year and a half
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ago they have some aging
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fighter aircraft they uh i think they
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were there f-18s
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i believe is what it was now of course
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we have the f-35s
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we have not sold the latest greatest
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aircraft to taiwan
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although we have been selling them to
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japan and that is also
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a power in the region that china
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uh respects to some degree and uh but we
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have sold a lot of upgraded equipment to
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bring the
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fighter aircraft that the taiwanese have
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up to a much higher standard of
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performance so there has been uh some
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weapons
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uh support taking place with taiwan
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lately but
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there’s no question that they’re on the
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menu and
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china doesn’t care about enticing taiwan
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back in
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they’re just going to take taiwan by
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hook or by cooker by force no matter
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what it takes
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that’s what they’re going to do and
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they’ve shown no remorse no second
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thoughts
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no hesitation at any point at any time
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and taking back territory they view as
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their own and there’s just no question
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that this is uh
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this is how they view the world right
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now it’s theirs for the picking
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and i would suggest to you that right
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now one of the reasons that they
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feel so free to do these things is
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because of the democrats the united
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states of america
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because they’re creating so much havoc
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and so much
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problem that the united states has its
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attention turned inward
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and is not able to pay enough attention
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to these things going on outside
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it seems to me that if we look at the
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history of modern china
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since the u.s normalized relations with
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the country
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we’ve seen the chinese plotting long
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term
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way ahead of us if you want to call it a
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chess game and what moves where we’re
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literally playing if you want to call it
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two different games
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i think the um we’re playing with one
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hand tied behind our back and our eyes
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closed half the time
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but it seems to me that unless we push
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back
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in some way whether it’s china extending
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their nine dash line as they call it
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into the south china sea
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taking over small islands or creating
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them or
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arming with whether it’s missile
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technologies creating airports that are
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handling military aircraft
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all of this on these little islands in
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the south china
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else sea stand up to the chinese at this
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point
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yes i i agree with that analysis i think
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it’s correct we certainly need to show a
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stronger hand against the chinese so
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they will not stop
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uh now legally in the uh international
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court
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the philippines just won a case against
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this
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chinese aggression in the region of the
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south pacific where they’re
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trying to move in and of course that’s
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the philippines you know they’re right
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in the middle of all of that so they’re
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looking at this with great trepidations
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so it it it is the problem we do have to
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take a strong stand against
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china president trump i believe and
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certainly
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all indications are the way he’s been
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negotiating over business
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uh deals and trade with china is that he
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wants to take a very tough stance
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and i i there’s kind of two issues that
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are making it tough for him one are the
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internal politics we already mentioned
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and two is just
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make sure the beast in the united states
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as you very correctly pointed out
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the chinese communist party are the same
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is the same communist party of chairman
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mao
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the government has not changed in that
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period the head of the government has
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but those plans and many of those things
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continue
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all through this period of time so
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there’s great consistency in their
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effort and in their goals
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where we here in the united states we’re
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lucky to get eight years in a row
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of one policy because uh
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the president changes control of the
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house changes control the senate changes
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and those policies therefore swing
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widely back and forth
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so this it’s there’s a host of problems
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with all of this that we’re really
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we’re not getting fixed the way that we
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need to because we should be acting much
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stronger against china
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yesterday not only today but yesterday
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and we’re just not able to get it done
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with covet and all of these problems
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how concerned are you brad that china
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will perhaps take over some of these
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small rocks that are
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barely islands uh you know at low tide
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and continue with very small moves
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toward taiwan
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not enough to cause the united states to
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move aircraft carriers in permanently or
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take action
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but slow incremental steps where you
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know like
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they say about put a frog and slowly
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heating water and it won’t jump out
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do we at some point make a decision or
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do you think
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to act or do you think we’ll just sort
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of go along with it because each step
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that china takes is incremental
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well i think there’s there’s little
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doubt that they’re employing
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that strategy and incrementalism if you
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will
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and they speed it up and slow down that
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process depending on the resistance they
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need
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but their goal is absolutely clear and
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they’ve stated very clearly
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they fully reserve the right to use
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direct military intervention
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to take back as they view it taiwan so
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there’s just
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there’s no question of their goals and
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those goals i think you could say the
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same thing they’re basically
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imperialist in nature they’re 10 and
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fully intending
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to expand the empire of china into areas
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that
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that were not traditionally theirs and
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the south pacific
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taiwan of course was traditionally part
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of china but the south pacific and other
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areas that have traditionally been
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separate
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they fully intend to take so island
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hopping and creating these islands is
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clearly what they’re up to they say that
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they say that they view the south china
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sea as as
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theirs and i i think what’s what’s
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happening is
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is fairly straightforward they view it
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as the modern day silk road if you will
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and the silk road for hundreds of years
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was a
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dominant economic force in the world
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and that south china sea uh has billions
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and billions of dollars of trade that go
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through there
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and to control all of that to be able to
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stop it at will
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or promote it at will gives great
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economic clout to china
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and there’s just zero question that
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that’s what they’re up to
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and as as you correctly pointed out that
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incrementalism
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is going to speed up or slow down to
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meet the circumstances
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and they’re acting very aggressively
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across the board for example
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using uh bitcoin trying to create a
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separate uh economic market apart from
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the banking system
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that’s essentially controlled by the
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united states are greatly influenced
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by the united states of america and
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based on the dollar
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so they’re trying to create a separate
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secondary
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world banking system and china is the
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largest producer of bitcoin in the world
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and they have this enormous facility
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that’s that’s multiple floors floor to
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ceiling
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computational power right next door to a
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power plant and those are the two things
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required to make bitcoin
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you got to have the computational power
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and you got to have the electricity to
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power those machines
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so china is the largest producer and
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they are hard after
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all of these things across the board and
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we could go on and on about
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what they’re doing militarily in the
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south china sea what they’re doing
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economically
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uh what they’re doing through their
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trade policy what they’re doing in their
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policies towards third world countries
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coming in and basically predatory
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lending to these countries taking
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control of them
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uh their intelligence policies and
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activities i mean
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they’re essentially on a war footing
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doing
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everything they can do without actually
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pulling the trigger the first time
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you know going back to the cold war
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period um there was a move on the part
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of
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what the communists used to call useful
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idiots
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have a nuclear freeze that only applied
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to the west it didn’t seem to apply to
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the soviets at all at least as the
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proponents were pushing it
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in some ways what occurred during the
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obama administration not just
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in hard weaponry but also in human
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intelligence
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was a kind of unilateral freeze in the
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united states on
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possibly the most important front line
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of our defense which is human
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intelligence
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if we see a democratic victory in
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november
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will we see a return to the obama
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policies of
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decimating our human intelligence
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services
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well um i would make a couple of
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distinctions in there
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most assuredly we will see a return to
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the same obama policies which would
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which are what ushered in essentially
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the dismantling
11:35
of our human capability that was all
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done under
11:38
former cia director john brennan or at
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least that process was completed
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under former director john brennan but
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what we have not seen
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is that get turned around even in the
11:48
meantime now
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president trump has done a lot of great
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work on trade particularly with china
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and
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in a lot of other areas and bringing
11:55
back the economy
11:57
uh you know certainly not his fault that
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kovit has created current problems but
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he’s done a great job in bringing back
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the economy one of the things he has not
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yet done which i
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i do hope and and americans for
12:08
intelligence reform is
12:10
attempting to influence him in that
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direction is that these policies
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institut
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that were implemented by john brennan
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and which are continued to this day
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are turned around and that we recreate
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we reinstitute reconstitute
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that body within the cia that does human
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it does espionage the
12:30
spy game and that is the operational
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cadre
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and one of the problems i often talk
12:35
about is it
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it takes a very long time to create
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a fully capable operations
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officer that can be a chief of station
12:45
overseas and run things
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and train and bring up the junior people
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in the process
12:51
those those people in that operational
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cadre no longer exist
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they’re gone they’re they’re i’m the
12:58
last generation
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as my people my age group die out
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those lessons learned those capabilities
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to do
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these things die with us and they will
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then have to be all relearned
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so that operational cadre needs to be
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reinstated
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and create that pipeline of the say 20
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years of experience
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only doing operations only doing
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espionage
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so that we develop that level of
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expertise that we can once again
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be a player on the world stage something
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that at this point we are not
13:30
in the old days we by ourselves were
13:32
were enough to take on the world
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although we had
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allies as i’ve mentioned before we were
13:37
enough by ourselves to do a hell of a
13:39
job
13:39
and that now has gone to the point where
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we simply cannot we’re not at the point
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now
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where we can operate effectively without
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a bar without our allies and
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put that in terms that everyone will
13:50
understand of like a navy
13:52
or an air force do you want to put the
13:54
united states of america in a position
13:56
where our navy or our air force cannot
13:59
operate effectively
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without the support of our allies no
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we want our air force to be standalone
14:06
and do a good job and make us safe
14:08
same for the navy same from the army but
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not the same for the cia
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is it the distinction between the
14:16
rank and file fbi agent the rank and
14:18
file cia
14:19
agent and senior management seems to be
14:22
huge
14:23
i know that that fight has been seen in
14:26
many quarters in many different ways
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is it possible that many in the trump
14:31
administration look at someone like
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john brennan look at someone like the
14:35
head of the fbi and say
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my god you know we can’t trust these
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folks at all we have to really shake
14:40
this thing from its roots and start over
14:46
i i i think anyone with a kind of
14:49
bureaucratic understanding of these
14:51
things and myself i guess i can
14:53
say in some ways i’m a swamp deal
14:55
dweller i had 25 years in the cia so
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i mean i understand government and how
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it works and how to make it do what you
15:01
want and those things
15:03
president trump does not come from that
15:05
background so
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your question shows a deeper
15:09
understanding of government
15:10
and how it works that you need if you
15:12
want to change
15:14
the culture of the cia or the fbi
15:17
you need to come in and clean house and
15:19
kind of start over in some ways
15:22
not down at the junior levels
15:23
necessarily but you’re going to need to
15:25
come in and hand pick a few people out
15:27
of the mid-levels
15:28
who are the right sort bring them up and
15:30
then backfill behind them
15:31
the right type of people that are going
15:33
to lead us out into the future in those
15:34
organizations
15:36
now that has not taken place under the
15:38
trump
15:39
administration and i think it’s taken
15:42
president trump there’s always a
15:43
learning curve out of presidency united
15:45
states it’s one of the
15:46
things i always observed in intelligence
15:49
it takes a while
15:50
to figure that job out because there’s
15:52
no other job like it so
15:54
you know there’s always a learning curve
15:55
and i think in many ways it’s taken
15:57
president trump about this law
15:59
to figure all of these things out and
16:01
start to see that
16:03
how often senior people and other people
16:05
are working against him and his
16:07
administration
16:08
and in ways that are in many cases not
16:11
only immoral but also illegal
16:13
and i’m hoping that as this uh u.s
16:16
attorney general bars investigation
16:18
headed up by u.s attorney john durham
16:20
winds its way down which he’s reporting
16:22
is going to be out by the end of august
16:24
or so
16:25
uh that we’re going to see a number of
16:27
indictments and can start to set the
16:28
record straight
16:30
and create a a culture in the united
16:32
states of america
16:33
in feder federal government circles so
16:36
that everyone knows
16:37
at the senior level you’re not above the
16:39
law it’s not okay
16:41
to use government powers for your own
16:43
personal political benefit
16:45
and those people have to go to jail to
16:47
make that point or
16:49
uh we’re going to end up as a third
16:50
world country where politics are
16:52
backroom deals dirty deals and that’s
16:54
the way government works
16:56
i want to go to diary in a second but i
16:57
just want to hit on that last point
17:00
do you believe that the durham report
17:02
the durham prosecution when it
17:04
eventually occurs hopefully it occurs
17:06
we’ll have the courage to go where it’s
17:09
supposed to go
17:10
uh you know i’ve worked for elected
17:12
officials and i know that certain
17:13
policies
17:15
don’t happen spontaneously don’t happen
17:18
by a bunch of underlings deciding to do
17:20
it
17:20
and clearly the things that occurred in
17:22
the obama administration
17:24
such as using the irs to prosecute the
17:27
tea party
17:28
or using the department of justice to
17:29
harass people who disagreed with the
17:31
obama administration on climate control
17:33
do not happen without the man in the
17:35
oval office giving his permission to do
17:37
so
17:38
do you feel that the durham crew will
17:42
have the courage to go where they have
17:44
to go
17:44
to really get justice
17:49
well um i would answer that with
17:53
a qualified yes uh i i
17:56
more or less think that they have the
17:58
courage to go where they need to go
18:00
um but i think it’s very clear
18:11
not the president
18:15
or vice president biden are in any way
18:18
under investigation and i don’t think
18:20
they’re going to be looked at
18:21
i think that that’s deeply political
18:24
uh but i think the the motives are such
18:27
that they just don’t want to get into a
18:29
situation
18:30
where we’re prosecuting and trying to
18:32
put in jail a former president or vice
18:33
president
18:34
now from that point down now by the way
18:36
i’m not saying that i think that’s good
18:38
or the right decision
18:39
what i’m saying is i believe that that’s
18:41
the decision that has been made
18:43
i would maybe argue against it but there
18:45
are two sides to that argument
18:48
now the second part of that answer is
18:50
from there
18:51
down i believe it looks me like
18:55
there will be indictments against former
18:58
fbi director james comey
18:59
former director of national intelligence
19:01
james clapper
19:02
former sdi director john brennan
19:06
and a host of those other players the
19:08
news that we all know
19:09
the information that’s out there that
19:11
i’m seeing is that we have a list of
19:13
about
19:14
nine people that are going to be charged
19:15
with a handful of crimes
19:18
per person and what’s being said
19:21
is the most serious crime that will be
19:23
charged
19:24
is that of treason against john brennan
19:26
former ci director john brennan
19:28
i don’t know if that’s true but that’s
19:31
one of the things i’ve been told
19:33
on two separate occasions so
19:36
it is certainly one of the things within
19:38
the realms of possibility
19:40
pretty much everybody else involved the
19:42
peter strzok
19:43
james comey all these guys at the doj
19:46
and fbi people
19:47
uh it looks like overthrowing the
19:49
government uh is going to be the charge
19:51
for those people the most serious charge
19:53
now uh certainly um treason is is uh as
19:56
everyone knows i think that the federal
19:58
death penalty has been reinstated and
20:00
treason is the death penalty
20:02
type crime uh attempting to overthrow
20:04
the government i’m not sure if that is
20:06
or not uh but it looks like to me that’s
20:09
that might be on the table for those
20:10
crimes as well
20:12
if that is certainly the case all of
20:14
these people involved
20:16
every one of them if they’re if they’re
20:18
faced with a conceivable death penalty
20:20
to charge
20:21
uh after they clean up their soiled
20:25
pants they’re going to sing and tell
20:27
everything that they know
20:28
they’re just not these are not the type
20:30
of people that are going to have the
20:32
fortitude to stand up against the threat
20:34
of that type so
20:35
we’ll see how all this unfolds but uh
20:38
the government has a lot of power a lot
20:40
of cards are in their hand
20:41
should they choose to go forward and i
20:43
believe i may be wrong
20:45
but i believe that u.s attorney general
20:47
barr
20:48
is very interested in making sure that
20:51
the
20:51
u.s constitution and the law of the land
20:54
reigns supreme
20:56
so i believe that he is going to enforce
20:58
these laws and i think it’s very clear
21:01
that many many laws were broken
21:04
so what those charges are if they come
21:07
out remains to be seen hopefully we’ll
21:08
know within a month
21:10
but at least that’s my view of it right
21:12
now if i were to predict i would say
21:15
indictments on are roughly nine people
21:17
and a number of charges per person
21:19
and some of them very serious dario
21:23
you know i just have a quick question
21:25
before we let you go today we’re going
21:27
to have to have you back on because we
21:29
just keep touching on so many
21:30
interesting things
21:32
what comes to mind to me though is
21:35
how do you clean up the ca because we
21:37
already vet
21:38
the individuals that are going to work
21:40
for the cia
21:41
so how do we clean the process to start
21:44
with
21:44
because obviously the people that were
21:46
vetting our
21:48
agency personnel let them through
21:53
yes i uh the the it’s an excellent
21:57
question
21:57
and observation here that the pipeline
22:00
this was really kind of
22:02
uh put into place during the president
22:05
clinton years
22:06
but what they did was they set this
22:09
whole thing up
22:10
the the controls in federal government
22:13
for who gets promoted are very strong
22:16
there’s very good guidelines on it to
22:18
protect
22:19
uh you know equality among race sex all
22:21
of those those
22:22
uh different attributes of people so the
22:25
controls over the promotion process
22:28
are very good those controls are
22:31
non-existent when it comes to the part
22:33
about who gets what job but in federal
22:37
government the way you get promoted
22:39
is by the jobs that you have so what
22:42
they do
22:42
is they’ve taken the liberals completely
22:45
took over during the clinton years
22:47
that pipeline to leadership and
22:50
if you want to get into leadership you
22:52
have to have certain jobs
22:54
and if you’re not a party loyalist of
22:56
theirs you will never get that job
22:59
so that’s how they’ve manipulated and
23:01
destroyed the system
23:03
and that’s why you see all of leadership
23:06
of any senior level of any kind be of
23:09
that ilk where they believe
23:11
it’s okay to manipulate us government
23:14
authorities and powers
23:16
for their own political personal corrupt
23:18
reasons
23:19
and so in order to fix that you’re going
23:22
to have to fix
23:23
a couple of things one of them is the
23:24
promotion system and
23:26
and by the promotion system i’m
23:28
referring to specifically how people get
23:30
jobs and you need to move that those
23:32
like eeo controls
23:34
over to who gets what job as well
23:37
so that you it’s not based on political
23:39
loyalties
23:40
it’s based on a merit system and that is
23:45
extraordinarily difficult to do i don’t
23:47
think it’s even possible
23:49
however that said because of the
23:51
leadership of who’s at
23:52
these agencies i would put it this way
23:55
it cannot be
23:56
done with who is there so unless uh
23:59
leadership
24:00
and by that i mean the administration
24:01
comes in and as
24:03
frank put it shake the tree and knock
24:05
everybody off the top of that
24:07
and bring in your own people and put
24:09
them in unless the process of that
24:11
nature
24:11
is implemented there’s simply no way to
24:13
do it it cannot be fixed with who’s
24:15
there
24:16
and everybody good is gone so you’re
24:18
going to have to start to replace them
24:19
and that requires a major major shake-up
24:22
there’s no political will to do that so
24:24
i don’t see a lot of hope
24:25
for uh for any of this stuff being taken
24:27
care of in the short term
24:29
the only thing that will help is by
24:31
putting these people like the comey’s
24:32
and vernon
24:33
if they’ve indeed broken the laws that
24:35
they’re suspected of broken
24:37
uh of having broke and the only way to
24:40
help the situation is by put all those
24:41
guys in jail
24:42
for the rest of their life and maybe a
24:44
death penalty if if warranted
24:46
brad johnson is president of the
24:47
americans for intelligence reform
24:49
our most fascinating interview we’ve got
24:51
to have you back real soon thanks so
24:53
much brad
24:54
frank i look forward to it thank you so
24:56
very much
25:00
daria you know i think brad really hit
25:03
the nail on the head
57:09
you
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