Amir Ali Abolfatah said that in the tweet released by Trump no reasons were given for the resignation but there were several reasons: When Trump was president-elect that is between his victory day in the election and the time he took over as the president he entered into a bitter dispute with the American intelligence community. At the time, the intelligence community who had been appointed by Barack Obama believed that Russia intervened in the US elections and that Trump had won the election with Putin’s support, and Trump had made some gaffes the Russians were aware of and could blackmail the US president.
He explained: “When the president-elect learned about the issue he showed fierce reaction so that a few months later the FBI director was sacked.”
Abolfatah added: “Although Mr Trump nominated Dan Coats, National Intelligence Director, as the chief of the US intelligence community, nevertheless the disagreement persisted.
The American affairs expert said that at three-time intervals the American intelligence community, led by Coats, had criticized Trump. One was about a meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. There, Trump said he accepted the Russian president’s explanation on not intervening in the US election. A couple of days later, Coats called those statements unrealistic.
Referring to Coats’ criticism of Trump over negotiations with North Korea, the expert said: “The National Intelligence Director believed that North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons in any way. This stance was in contrast with Trump’s publicity that Pyongyang will eventually give up.”
Abolfatah described the split between Trump and Coats on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the second point of disagreement and noted: “The National Intelligence Director was opposed to the US pullout from the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA), saying it would endanger US national security. Trump not only ignored these remarks and rejected what his security advisers told him, wrote in a controversial tweet that was unprecedented in American history. He wrote that the intelligence chiefs should go back to school and read their lessons again!”
Anyway, he humiliated these people who were senior US intelligence officials, and said they had not learned their lessons! These statements were made by a person who previously had no government office, had no qualifications for the American intelligence community, and was unfamiliar with the information and security environment; this (way of treatment by Trump) was too much for them.
The analyst added: “It is said that at that time Dan Coats had decided to step down, but he apparently delayed the decision, but the New York Times eventually announced his resignation and Trump immediately announced that John Ratcliffe a member of the US House of Representatives will succeed Coats. He needs to get a vote of confidence from the Senate.
“The National Intelligence was created as an institute after the 9/11 events,” Abolfatah said about the US National Intelligence agency’s position in the decision-making process. The incident revealed that the 16-member intelligence and security agencies had failed to perform their duties, and the rivalry between the CIA and the FBI had prevented al-Qaeda from being tracked down and that they were able to engineer the 9/11 attacks. This was a serious blow to the capabilities of US intelligence and security agencies to safeguard the security of the American soil. For this reason, it was decided at the time to establish two institutions.
He described the tasks and functions of the two entities and said: “One is the Ministry of Homeland Security, which was formed through the integration of several intelligence, security and immigration agencies; and the second institution was the National Intelligence Management, which is a coordinating institution. Moreover, the chairmanship of the intelligence community that was under the CIA until before 9/11 was delegated to the National Intelligence Management It has the task of coordinating all of the US intelligence agencies comprising 16 agencies. Its other important task is to be the only communication channel between the American intelligence community and the person of the president.”
The foreign policy analyst added: “In fact, the institution under the supervision of Dan Coats is tasked with preparing a few-page report on the latest and most important intelligence analyses in a blue folder on Trump’s desk every morning; and the first thing the president does every morning is to read this report to get acquainted with the latest intelligence reports and analyses in the US and the world over. So it is very important to assume this position.”
He continued: “When it was founded, it was ironically called the ‘Intelligence Czar’ in the American political and media circles. Czar is a person of great power, and some would say that he was the number one personality in the United States, not the President. And that post had been held by Dan Coats so far. For this reason, the institution is still one of the main pillars of power in the United States today, and tensions at this level can be damaging, especially if the head of the institution wants to leave the cabinet in fury or protest.”
Describing the impact of this resignation on US foreign policy and important intelligence cases after John Radcliffe, he said: “It is not a case to be judged easily. First, we have to find out whether John Radcliffe would get the support of the Senate and then we must see what policy he wants to follow if he is endorsed. At least Trump’s two-year experience as president shows that he does not value positions much, often making his own decisions and does not heed recommendations of his advisers.”
He added: “Trump will listen to those whose views are in line with his line of thinking, which is why the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor and whoever it may be … are easily put aside. The current president of the United States seems to be far less affected by institutions than his previous counterparts. Former presidents may have accepted the recommendations and warnings of bureaucratic agencies and followed their policies based on the recommendations of these institutions. But Trump has shown himself to be a lone rider and stubborn. He has no hesitation to fire and replace anyone who wants to stand against him no matter in what position. The new people who are appointed are much more obedient than the former ones and therefore anyone who succeeds Dan Coats will make the intelligence community more obedient to Mr Trump.”
Abolfatah also said of the status of key US agencies whose senior officials have resigned or have been dismissed and are still headed by supervisors: “It is certain that when an important ministry, such as the Department of Defense which plays a key role in shaping the foreign policy, has no minister for six months or its supervisors are changed constantly it can be effective in flawing the workflow, but it is not to the extent to imagine that the US foreign policy has been crippled or is undergoing a major transformation. By the way, the problem is more in the body. In the US Department of Defense, several crucial decision-making posts are still vacant.”
He added: “Trump believes Democrats are preventing the candidates from getting a vote of confidence at the Senate, accusing them of obstructionism. A person who hardly makes it through the Senate is easily dismissed (by Trump) and he has no fears to see half of his cabinet posts are vacant. In a general outlook, the absence of a minister is harmful but not to the extent to cause serious problems.”