In totalitarian systems where the media does nothing but churn out propaganda, people learn to read between the lines. You understand what is really going on by inferring what they don’t want you to know from what they do what you to know.
The interesting thing about the current political conflict is which key anti-terrorist Trump figures are being targeted. Flynn was a major target. Then Gorka. The case of Gorka made the targeting obvious. You can tell the targeting when if the first attack fails, they come back with a second one.
Now there’s Ezra Watnick-Cohen. He showed up in the news recently when McMaster attempted to replace him with an establishment infiltrator.
President Donald Trump has overruled a decision by his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to sideline a key intelligence operative who fell out of favor with some at the Central Intelligence Agency, two sources told POLITICO.
On Friday, McMaster told the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, that he would be moved to another position in the organization.
The conversation followed weeks of pressure from career officials at the CIA who had expressed reservations about the 30-year-old intelligence operative and pushed for his ouster.
But Cohen-Watnick appealed McMaster’s decision to two influential allies with whom he had forged a relationship while working on Trump’s transition team — White House advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They brought the matter to Trump on Sunday, and the president agreed that Cohen-Watnick should remain as the NSC’s intelligence director, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.
Cohen-Watnick was brought onto Trump’s transition team and then the NSC by a leading critic of the CIA: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was Cohen-Watnick’s boss at the Defense Intelligence Agency and preceded McMaster as national security adviser.
Cohen-Watnick and Flynn “saw eye to eye about the failings of the CIA human intelligence operations,” said a Washington consultant who travels in intelligence circles. “The CIA saw him as a threat, so they tried to unseat him and replace him with an agency loyalist,” the operative said.
Specifically they tried to replace Cohen-Watnick with a woman at the center of the Benghazi mess.
Two sources within the White House tell me that last week McMaster had interviewed a potential replacement for Cohen-Watnick: longtime CIA official Linda Weissgold. Weissgold apparently had a good interview with McMaster, as she was overheard saying as she left the White House she would next have to “talk to Pompeo”—as in Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. But Weissgold was never offered the job; days later, Trump himself overruled the effort to move Cohen-Watnick out of his senior director role.
During the Obama administration Weissgold served as director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis. She was among those who briefed Congress following the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, a team of intelligence and military experts who reportedly earned the nickname “the dream team” within the administration.
In her position at OTA, she was also involved directly in drafting the now infamous Benghazi talking points, which government officials revised heavily to include factually incorrect assessments that stated the attackers were prompted by protests. According to the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report, Weissgold testified she had changed one such talking point to say that extremists in Benghazi with ties to al Qaeda had been involved in “protests” in the Libyan city, despite the fact that no such protests had occurred there on the day of the attack.
McMaster’s interview of Weissgold last week raised eyebrows beyond the White House, with members of the congressional oversight committees expressing concerns about Weissgold to top officials in the White House and the intelligence community.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen is at the center of the latest manufactured scandal.
A Jewish security official has been named as the confidential source of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) following claims that US President Donald Trump and his aides were swept up in surveillance by US intelligence agencies, The New York Times revealed Thursday.
Citing unnamed US officials, the Times identified the White House official as “Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council.”
Why would you not believe “unnamed officials”?
But what we are seeing very obviously is some of the shape and texture of the war based on who is being targeted and why. While those doing the targeting are “unnamed”, their targets are named. And that tells us also about those doing the targeting. Any enemy action reveals something about the enemy, his motives, his nature and his goals. That is how wars of this kind must be understood.