Donald Trump is preparing a possible major shake-up of up the intel community. To that end, Trump called for a top to bottom review of U.S. intelligence agencies and other aspects of the federal government.
Trump appointed Steve Feinberg, chief executive of Cerberus Capital Management, to the role. The intel community is very concerned with one former official telling NBC News they think “Trump believes the intelligence community needs to be threshed and cleaned and bent to the will of the executive.”
This may be paranoia – we are talking about the intelligence community. Or Feinberg could clean house. It seems far more likely that he will do something in between. But as Trump has said stopping the leaks will be a top priority as well as hunting down and arresting the leakers.
“You would not build the IC the way it is today if you had a clean sheet of paper.” Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force general who ran the CIA and National Security Agency said speaking of the layers of bureaucracy, before adding “a major restructuring is not what’s called for here.”
Trump is correct to call for a review, especially when it comes to interfering in the political process.
“The NSA and the FBI should not interfere in our politics,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Information is being illegally given to newspapers by the intelligence community NSA and FBI? Just like Russia.”
Feinberg, 56 is a major player in Republican politics and has a net worth around $1.27 billion. Cerberus employs former Treasury Secretary John Snow and former Vice President Dan Quayle, both Republicans.
He donated $200,000 in 2015 to Jeb Bush’s “Right to Rise” super PAC. In 2016, he gave $1.5 million to the pro-Trump group, Rebuilding America Now.” These numbers come from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political donations.