Things fall apart: The decline of 'Dumbledore's Army'
Resistance to the Trump administration within the intelligence community is beginning to unravel.
When Mick Mulvaney was selected to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), he complimented the staff for being professional. There are a significant number of CFPB employees opposed to the president and any of his appointees. They have formed a resistance group they call Dumbledore's Army. Although members of other departments, agencies, and bureaus do not call themselves Dumbledore's Army, they are essentially of the same mindset. Perhaps the largest number of these Dumbledores are in the Department of Justice and the intelligence community. They are mounting an attack on the Trump administration and are suffering one defeat after another. Things are falling apart.
The major attack is being carried out by Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Several of the attorneys on Mueller's team have collectively given over $62,000 in political contributions to Democrats. These are the contributions we know of. Three of his attorneys have reportedly been removed for anti-Trump bias. But as Rep. Jim Jordan said, "if you get kicked off the Mueller team for being anti-Trump, there wouldn't be anybody left on the Mueller team. There has to be more." This says a lot about the independence of the special counsel.
The most significant removal was that of Peter Strzok and his paramour, Lisa Page. Their correspondence contained such suggestions as "Trump should go f himself."
Every federal employee knows that emails are subject to monitoring. This is an example of extremely poor judgment. Perhaps they believed that if they were monitored, the monitor would have similar views and would not reveal their content. They were obviously wrong. They should know that there are moles even within Dumbledore's Army willing to leak information damaging to the resistance's cause. Andrew McCabe postponed an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee that was scheduled for the 12th. The Justice Department claimed that the cancelation was due to a "routine scheduling error."
The next significant removal is that of former Assoc. Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr. Ohr had several meetings with Christopher Steele, the author of the "dossier," and Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm. His wife, Nellie H. Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS and may have worked on the "dossier." Ohr reportedly did not reveal his October 2016 contacts with Steele or Simpson to DOJ leadership. We are supposed to believe that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, knew nothing about the activities of Strzok and Ohr. If this is the case, Rosenstein has no business supervising people in the intelligence business.
Much of the information we have about this situation is the result of leaks. Leaks have plagued the DOJ for well over a year. Many of these leaks are clearly felonies. The former head of the FBI admitted in public that he was the source of a leak.
Has anyone in the leadership been prosecuted for leaking to the press? No.
No one in the intelligence community can claim he is unable to identify the leakers. These leaks can be traced. At the same time, the leadership of the intelligence community is denying information requested by Congress. Representative Nunes has instructed his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray.
Wray, appointed by President Trump, appears to have joined Dumbledore's Army. His response to a question about the Clinton email scandal:
I think of the inspector general's investigation as de novo in one sense, in which that it's objective, arm's length, no skin in the game, if you will. But you're right: the inspector general is not second-guessing prosecutorial decisions and things like that. However, the inspector general is looking at the very important question of whether or not improper political considerations factored into the decision-making. If he were to conclude that's what happened, then I think at that point, we're in a situation where we have to assess what else might need to be done to un-ring that bell."
Either this is an example of intentional obfuscation or Mr. Wray is an extremely confused individual.
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts degree in international relations from St. Mary's University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.