Mr. Ratcliffe, like Maj. Gen. Willoughby before him, seems to think his job is to serve only his boss, who requires that everyone agree with him at all times. As General MacArthur is often quoted: if you control intelligence, you control decision-making. Intelligence professionals call this politicization and see it as a poison that can harm national-security decision-making.
We can see today, through Mr. Ratcliffe, just what can happen when the office is politicized.
Rather than operating as an honest steward of the large and important intelligence community, Mr. Ratcliffe appears to regard the nation’s secrets as a place to hunt for nuggets that can be used as political weapons — sources and methods be damned. Even if the particular material he declassifies is not especially sensitive, the failure to provide proper context, sourcing or background only serves to confuse the public and distract voters.
That may be the point. Creating a fictional narrative for political purposes requires corrupting a system that relies on in-depth, contextual and all-source analysis. However, if you are sending damaging signals to allies, potential sources or even your own officers, it is child’s play to concoct any story you wish by plucking selective details from the millions and millions of pages held by the intelligence agencies.