COMMENTARY: Trump Plays Politics with Dead CIA Heroes, Anonymous Wall Stars
There are no words to express the appropriate level of shock and revulsion at new President Donald Trumpâ€™s Saturday (1/21/17) appearance and speech, using the hallowed ground of the CIAâ€™s tribute wall to the anonymous heroes who sacrificed their lives in service to the nation, as a political prop to launch yet another attack on the media, his critics and anyone who might disagree with his rhetoric or policies.
It is as though someone stood over a grave at Arlington National Cemetery and launched a political campaign, with lots of rhetoric, campaign signs and banners, and no respect for the gravesite of the hero he is stepping on.
In our previous life as a Washington reporter, we visited the hallowed ground that is the entry to the Central Intelligence Agency building, where over 100 stars provide anonymous tribute to members of the intelligence community who died in service to our nation. Anyone, other than Trump, who sees that wall and is informed about its historical significance, cannot help but be moved and silenced in humble gratitude.
We also met the family of a fallen CIA officer who took great comfort from their silent, secret star on that wallâ€”it was all they had to try to make sense of the sacrifice their loved one had made in service to this nation.
So many families cannot even say how their loved one died, or may not even know how or where, because of the super secrecy surrounding the covert missions that claimed the lives of patriots who died in service to the nation but whose names or bravery cannot ever be known in public.
Other than less than a sentence noting where he was on Saturday as Trump stood in front of the star wall at the CIA, our new president delivered what was yet another political campaign speech: attacking his enemies, the media, and touting his own ego-centric views of his own abilities. This from a president-elect who has attacked the intelligence community non-stop because of inquiries into hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign manager for his election opponentâ€”which all national security agencies have concluded have Russian government fingerprints.
Trump has insulted the intelligence community for months, with unfounded name-calling against the agents and operatives who risk their lives to serve the national interest and the agencies for which they work. He has even compared the intelligence community to â€śNazis.â€ť Some of those stars on the CIA wall no doubt belong to American heroes who fought against the Nazi atrocities in World War II.
Crass, ego-centric politics should stop at what amounts to the gravesites of fallen US heroes. It is an unseemly outrage and insult for Trump to have used the silent stars on the wall of the Central Intelligence Agency as a mere prop for his own political agenda.
Patriotic Americans should offer prayers and tributes to the silent CIA star heroes, and repudiate a politician who would denigrate their deaths and use their virtual gravesites as a political prop.