Recently Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman, was arrested by the FBI and charged with unlawfully retaining and transmitting national defense information classified at the highest level. As reported in numerous media outlets, the documents in question relate to the war in the Ukraine and other sensitive topics, including surveillance on allies and adversaries alike. Teixeira reportedly copied, photographed, and leaked hundreds of pages of highly classified U.S. government secrets to gain admiration and influence among a group of teen-aged boys he befriended on Discord, a popular online platform favored by gamers.
Recently, former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he organized and wrote a letter signed by 50 former senior national security officials, suggesting that emails from Hunter Biden's now infamous laptop were Russian disinformation, because he wanted Joe Biden to win the presidency. He reportedly also had an interest in being appointed CIA Director in the Biden administration, a hope that was crushed when Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called him a "torture apologist" and said his nomination would be a "nonstarter."
While he did not, like Teixeira, leak classified information, Morrell used his insider access and status as former acting CIA Director to gain standing, and in this instance, influence voters in the 2020 election. Morrell's now infamous and debunked letter, orchestrated at the behest of the Biden campaign, would be used by then-candidate Biden just days after it was published, to deflect and dismiss claims about international influence peddling and other misconduct on Hunter's laptop in the presidential debate.
Teixeira, if convicted, is facing a lengthy prison sentence. Morrell, meanwhile, remains an esteemed national security figure who has members of the press defending his actions, even though they had an impact on the last election. Beyond Morrell, none of the other signatories of the letter has suffered any negative consequences for choosing to use the stature they gained by virtue of being high ranking, cleared individuals to politicize national security.
Consider the commentary by national security lawyer Jonathan Turley. He recently wrote about the 51 members of the Intelligence Community using their venerated positions to mislead the American public and influence a presidential election. Not only were they never held accountable in a negative sense, they have instead been rewarded for their subterfuge. Alleged leaders of this influence operation, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, now serve as Secretary of State and as National Security Advisor, respectively. Another, David Buckley, served as the Staff Director for the January 6th Committee in the House of Representatives, and Jeremy Bash now co-chairs a commission investigating America's actions during the war in Afghanistan. A number have landed lucrative contracts as national security analysts with the complicit media that willingly regurgitated their bogus letter.
All things considered, the current foreign policy apparatus of the Biden administration is better thought of as a political protection operation than a national security operation. The January 6th Committee, far from looking at any number of legitimate security failures, devolved into a partisan political endeavor. And the Afghanistan Commission will not surprise anyone if it somehow "manages" to find no fault with Biden's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, but instead faults Biden's predecessors as the administration already has tried to do with its rewrite of history.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal editorial board, these national security leaders used their reputations and access to classified information to influence a presidential election. "These 51 officials have done more to damage the credibility of the CIA and the FBI than anything Donald Trump has said. Ditto for the complicit media," the Journal editorial board wrote.
Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, lied on the House floor by saying he had information that implicated President Donald Trump in a Russian collusion scheme. Schiff never had any information. He just used his reputation as House Intelligence Committee Chairman to lend credence to this false premise, presumably to help impeach a president. He never suffered any real repercussions and is in fact seeking a promotion to be the next U.S. Senator from California.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied that the Intelligence Community leaked information meant to damage President-elect Donald Trump in January of 2017. Months later, he finally told the truth and admitted it was the Intelligence Community that had cast the incoming president under a cloud of suspicion. He himself had briefed Jake Tapper on the phony dossier. The consequences for Clapper for deceiving Trump and the American people were — nothing. In fact, Clapper still serves as a compensated national security analyst for CNN, having enriched himself by undermining incoming President Trump in 2017 and by helping elect Joe Biden in 2020 through deceit.
Why then are we surprised when a 21-year-old leaks classified information? The big shots are not afraid to trade on their reputations or access to highly classified information, and they are not held accountable for their actions. Even though he should have known better, maybe Teixeira thought he would not be held accountable either?
While one cannot condone Teixeira's alleged activities, one can understand his confusion being a part of an Intelligence Community where the leadership has allowed itself to become a partisan appendage of the Democratic Party and, instead of suffering consequences, is rewarded.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe called the letter "election interference," said it had damaged national security by unjustly framing another country, Russia, and stated that Secretary of State Antony Blinken should either resign or be impeached.
A politicized Intelligence Community is a corrupt Intelligence Community, and it must be addressed before there is more damage done to the American people's trust in our government.
The deception and political activities of these intelligence professionals — and their complicit media enablers — need to be exposed and reported. Every single one of these 51 individuals who signed the Hunter Biden laptop letter should lose their security clearance if they still have one.
Those serving in government or on appointed federal boards or commissions should be removed from those positions immediately. Lastly, Congress needs to hold hearings into the culture of the Intelligence Community that lets these types of individuals serve without fear of accountability. It then needs to expose and rip out the rot that has infected the Intelligence Community and get it out of domestic politics and refocused on foreign threats to our great nation.
Then we will finally be able undo what these individuals have done to destroy the fabric, integrity, and reputation of our Intelligence Community and move beyond the sorry state in which it now exists.
Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.