To the many fine people of the Central Intelligence Agency who still produce, unseen by outsiders and quietly, apolitical intelligence in support of American national decision-makers.
That is the dedication to Neutering the CIA: Why U.S. Intelligence Versus Trump Has Long-Term Consequences by John A. Gentry, something of a company man. He started as a CIA analyst in 1986, took “another job” with the CIA soon after, and left the agency in 1990, joining the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1991.
Gentry “rejoined” the IC (Intelligence Community) in other capacities, and at the MITRE Corporation worked for the intelligence policy office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the predecessor of today’s Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD) (1). Beginning in 2010 Gentry taught at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s training center before joining the National Intelligence University, which he left in 2015. In his long experience, Gentry “taught students from virtually all IC agencies and interacted regularly with many other intelligence personnel from several agencies.”
As a “former IC officer,” Gentry is required to submit his writings to government security reviewers. Neutering the CIA was reviewed by the CIA’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB), which “approved its text without change” but required this statement:
All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information. This does not constitute and official release of CIA information.
Gentry finds that many intelligence officers have been involved in “anti-Trump activities,” doubtless a reference to the letter of former IC bosses calling the Hunter Biden laptop “Russian disinformation.” As the author notes:
The activism receded markedly after Joe Biden became president in 2021, making it even clearer that the politicization of intelligence was aimed at Trump. While it is in remission, the changes in the political culture of some IC agencies that triggered the attacks on Trump remain intact, available for reactivation in the event of another serious candidacy by Trump or the election of another Republican president.
Because of changes in the organizational cultures of some IC agencies, Gentry writes, “I see the IC-Trump conflict as the first in a series of ideology-based struggles.” On page 5 the author gives readers a hint of where he stands:
President Trump was unusually confrontational and controversial, and I have little doubt that most reputable historians will judge his presidency to have been seriously troubled.
So far, nothing about any troubling aspects of the Biden administration, and with the Delaware Democrat in the White House, the IC activism “receded markedly.” Readers could be forgiven for believing that the Delaware Democrat is the CIA’s golden boy. On page 25 Gentry explains:
Renewed activism seeks likely if even a traditional Republican again becomes president.
While the rest of the 504-page book awaits, readers can take Neutering the CIA as the IC’s official declaration of war against Trump or “another Republican president.” Remember, as Chuck Schumer warned in 2017, the IC has “six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.” So as Trump likes to say, we’ll have to see what happens.
Author: Lloyd Billingsley