Published in partnership with Shadowproof.
Today, four State Department senior leaders resigned from their positions. The senior State Department leaders were reportedly asked to leave via letter in what is believed to be an effort to “clean house” at the department.
While the officials technically resigned, the real decision was for the Trump Administration to accept what are pro forma resignations at the beginning of any administration.
Also among those not asked to return to service was highly controversial Assistant Secretary for Europe Victoria Nuland, who seemed to work tirelessly to damage US relations with Russia. Nuland openly supported a coup in Ukraine, handing out bread to protesters, as well as working behind the scenes to form the post-coup government.
By “cleaning house” at the State Department, President Trump is going to be able to exert even more influence in shaping the department for years to come.
Another agency at which Trump could “clean house” is the CIA, which appeared to be a source of leaks in opposition to the president in the run up to his inauguration. Former CIA Director John Brennan openly feuded with Trump and has attacked him even after Trump assumed office.
Last week, Shadowproof spoke to former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou about the CIA’s war with Trump and the agency’s future.
Kiriakou, who personally knew John Brennan when at CIA, explained how President Barack Obama’s intelligence team came to be and some of the institutional changes Brennan made at the CIA. Brennan may have been a mediocre to poor intelligence official, but he was great at politics and was able to maneuver behind the scenes to get to the top.
But, as Kiriakou notes, Brennan’s legacy is likely to come under assault by President Trump and now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump’s foreign policy vision is fundamentally at odds with the one pursued under Obama, and the CIA will need to be changed to fit the new nationalist realism of the Trump Administration.
National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, the target of one of the recent intelligence leaks and former head of the rival Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), appears to be more than happy to help Trump reshape the CIA in his image.
And, of course, one of the ways to ensure an organization takes a new path is to insert new leaders into it. That, correspondingly, requires old leaders to go. So, if President Trump’s State Department purge is any indication, expect him to clean house at the CIA too.