After years of decrying a “deep state” that was attempting to undercut the White House, President Trump and his allies have embraced the U.S. intelligence community in the wake of their strike on a top Iranian general.
The “deep state” can be loosely defined as the unelected national security bureaucracy of the government, including secret military and intelligence agencies. Trump has railed against it repeatedly over the past few years, blaming it for the investigations into his campaign and presidency. But his administration is now relying on intelligence community findings to justify its strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week, which it has said was done to prevent an “imminent” threat.
“The risk of doing nothing was enormous. Intelligence community made that assessment and President Trump acted decisively last night,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN Friday.
A host on “Fox & Friends,” which Trump watches and often live-tweets, said Monday that the information used to justify the strike on Soleimani shouldn’t be questioned.
“I find it so interesting that people are critical of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s decisions, of our general’s decisions,” said host Ainsley Earhardt.
“They want details,” interjected her co-host Steve Doocy.
“Well, they can’t have it!” replied Earhardt. “Everything can’t be made public.”
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News she found it “really unfortunate” that people were questioning the intel that led to attack.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who also serves as an unofficial adviser to the president, has spent most of Trump’s presidency railing against government agencies for plotting against the current White House occupant, including hosting a “deep state” special episode. After the strike on Soleimani, he changed his tune.
“The ability of the military, our intelligence community, the State Department and the president making the call, very quickly, you know, understood that the Iranian forces on the ground bore a direct threat to the American people,” said Hannity last week. “Once the intelligence was confirmed, once the understanding that they were there to sow the discord and discontent, the president acted as quickly as possible, taking out this top general.
“But I will say the big headline is, this is a huge victory for American intelligence, a huge victory for our military, a huge victory for the State Department and a huge victory and total leadership by the president,” added the Fox News host.
Even Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host whose show precedes Hannity’s in the network’s primetime lineup, noted how quickly the conversion had happened.
“Just the other day, you remember, our intel agencies were considered politically tainted and suspect,” Carlson said on his show Monday evening, adding, “It seems like about 20 minutes ago we were denouncing these very people as the ‘deep state’ and pledging never to trust them again without verification. But now, for some reason, we do seem to trust them implicitly and completely.”
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