Podcast: Departure of Dan Coats Signals New Direction for Intelligence Agencies Heading into 2020 2019-07-30


The takeaway is supported by net suite by Oracle the business management software and the world's number one cloud business system right now nets is offering valuable insights with a free free guide seven key strategies to grow your profits at net sweet dot com slash takeaway. That's not sweet dot com slash takeaway. It's the takeaway for July thirtieth and other cabinet position could go from Republican establishment to trump loyalist list. That's undeniable that the Russians are taking the lead on this. They're the ones that are trying to wreck havoc over the election process. We need to call them amount on that want to find out if Russia interfered with our election by providing false information about a trump conspiracy that you determine airman didn't exist the legacy of outgoing National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and a look at his possible replacement Republican John Ratcliffe also on the show police departments are working to end the stigma of asking for help with mental health. Push culture is a strong culture. If you come forward with a mental health problem you might be perceived as being weak and we're talking to you about it. I would not in the army and the training videos alone took effect domestic disturbance. It called on faith card okay. Let's get started. I'm here to say EH warning lights. Blinking Red Again Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is is set to step down from his post next month during his tenure coats repeatedly emphasized the security threats that foreign governments including Russia and China pose to the United it states and our election systems. Here's code speaking with N._B._C.'s entry Mitchell last July. It's undeniable that the Russians are taking the lead on this <hes> basically they are the ones that are trying to undermine our basic values divide us <hes> with our allies. They're the ones ones that are trying to wreck havoc over there election process. We need to call them out on that. Trump's pick to replace coats is Republican Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas during Robert Muller's Capitol Hill testimony last week Ratcliffe acknowledged Russian influence in the two thousand sixteen election but instead chose to focus on opposition research obtained in by Christopher Steele for the Hillary Clinton campaign. I very much agree with your determination that rougher Russia's efforts were sweeping and systematic. I think it should concern every American Erkin. That's why I want to know just how sweeping and systematic those efforts were. I want to find out if Russia interfered with our election by providing and also information through sources to Christopher Steele about trump conspiracy that you determine didn't exist the ratcliff nomination it comes at a crucial moment for our national security with the two thousand twenty election on the horizon an issue that Robert Mueller has repeatedly emphasized since the publication of his report in April role. Let me say one more thing over the course of my career. I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. The nomination is also concerned. Some politicians and intelligence officials that U._S.. Intelligence agencies will be less independent pendant under a director who may prioritize the interests of a president over pressing national security threats was in the months prior to September two thousand one when according to then C._I._A.. Director George Tenet the system was blinking red then here we are nearly two decades later and I'm here to say the morning lights are blinking red again. I'm Tansy Vega and that's where we start today on takeaway. What's next for the intelligence community under president trump? Natasha Bertrand here to help us out. She's national security correspondent for politico. Thanks for being with us. Natasha thank you so much. Also is David Pre CEO of the National Security Organization Law Fair and author of the book the President's book of Secrets David also served in the C._I._A.. Under Presidents Clinton and George W Bush thanks for being with US David Cartons enough so David. Let's start with you. The National Intelligence Director position itself was created in the aftermath of September eleventh. Remind us why that was the catalyst the idea was that the intelligence community had been doing a relatively good job on different aspects of the threat that became nine eleven and but that the agencies weren't really talking to each other. They weren't coordinating their efforts. The concept was that having some kind of Uber Manager the Director Director of National Intelligence would help break down those walls between agencies to ensure that information coming into the U._S.. Government through one channel was being communicated to relevant other departments and agencies addressing cross cutting issues so the D._N._a. was created to do that and also eventually you to do things like manage the overall budget of the intelligence community to engage with stakeholders and things of that sort so Natasha. What were Dan Coats what's his main priorities during his tenure as director of National Intelligence Yeah so one of the biggest threats that he saw aw to American democracy into the safety and security of the United States was <hes> you know potential hacking intentional interference <hes> <hes> with our election infrastructure and so that's why he said you know that famous quote about the lights are blinking red again because he saw <hes> evidence that not only Russia at other foreign adversaries were trying to meddle with our elections in terms of the actual you know digital infrastructure that we have in this country so what he did was he right before he left he appointed an election security czar named Shelby Pearson to oversee efforts in this area across intelligence agencies and she is actually the first person to have that role so that's kind of evidence of how seriously he took this David pivoting back to you for a second you've interviewed several former directors of National Sean Intelligence for research into your book? Tell us how those previous directors have viewed the position sure the denies or the director. There's of national intelligence all came into the job up to this point with significant experience using intelligence in some cases from a military background around in some cases from a diplomatic background and in the case of the incumbent Dan Coats primarily from his work on the Senate Select Committee on intelligence when he was a senator as well as when he was ambassador to Germany Act that there were already people running each of the intelligence agencies and coming in as in effect the boss of those people could create some tensions tensions and those came out most dramatically with Dennis Blair deny from two thousand nine to twenty ten who clashed with C._I._A.. Director Leon Panetta over who got to name name intelligence representatives overseas so there is an inherent tension there but all of them saw their job as trying to manage the intelligence community not to play a political typical role and David. I want to <hes> you mentioned the inherent tension between the D._N._A.. And other <hes> top officials in the intelligence agencies themselves will what about tensions between the director of National Intelligence and the President <hes> we know that I'm wondering if you can assess a little bit <hes> the relationship between Dan Coats and and president trump for example the background to this is that tension between intelligence leadership and the president is not a bad thing in fact a president who pushes back against intelligence assessments who wants more information who wants to hear about alternative explanations for the limited information. We're able to collect act. That's all a good thing that's a sign of an engaged president who understands the limits of intelligence and prods his intelligence community to do more the difference difference is when a president makes those objections public or undercuts his own intelligence community which can undermine the ability to recruit spies. It can't undermine undermine the ability to put the information together in the case of Dan Coats. We have only a few snapshots and then a whole lot of interpretation around those snapshots. We've only a few snapshots about the tensions between the D._N._A.. And the president the most public one of course is on the issue of Russia. The president publicly has said he just doesn't buy a lot of the intelligence that he's getting on Russia. He just chooses not to believe it and he expresses that publicly which puts Dan Coats in a very tough position but instead of giving in what Dan Coats has done is he has continued to put out assessments that repeat Russia interfered in the two thousand sixteen election shen. They're going to try to do it again. He has not backed down from the judgements that his intelligence analyst came up with. He's continued to push that message forward even even if the president does not want to hear it so Natasha looking now at the nominee John Ratcliffe at who president trump has selected to replace Dan Coats. It's what do we know what national security experience will ratcliffe be bringing to this position and I guess the follow up to that would be <hes> he is seen to <hes> have have a quite a close relationship to the president in terms of his loyalties to the president. How could that impact a potential <hes> deny position yes yeah so he has very little national security experience and no intelligence experience aside from sitting for a few months on the House Intelligence Committee? He's been in Congress is for a third term now. He was chief of the anti-terrorism National Security Division for the Eastern District of Texas but he actually there's no evidence that he actually ever prosecuted a terrorism terrorism case in that role <hes> and he also served as the U._S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas for about two years <hes> so he comes into this position potentially potentially if he gets confirmed with vastly fewer roles in intelligence and national security than we've seen other directors of national intelligence agents have in the past to put it mildly and he's also virtually unknown among the very senators that would approve that would confirm him <hes> we we go. We talked to a number of senators yesterday who said that they had never really talked to him. They had never heard of him before his performance last week. At the Muller hearing <hes> a few said they'd I'd seen him on T._v.. But that they really familiar with his work so this is going to be he's facing a lot of headwinds going into this confirmation battle. If it even gets that far because at this this point we're seeing that there have been some major contradictions in what he's put on his website about his national security experience and what is actually the truth about that experience variance so <hes> the the real chief qualification he seems to have in terms of of how the White House season is that he's loyal to the president and he's kind of proven that over the last couple months that he's been on T._v.. Kind of slamming the Russia investigation and criticizing <hes> special counsel Robert Muller <hes> again again we saw that last week where he kind of went on the offensive and and really put me in a corner with regard to the obstruction of justice questions so he is. He's a we still art art very confident that he's going to even get to the confirmation process just because of the number of controversies that have come out already about him in the last forty eight hours but if he does. It's probably probably going to be pretty hard for him to even get out of the committee Russia. Even if it's not rackliff I mean I'm wondering given the the repeated concerns that not just Robert Muller but others in in in Congress and beyond have said have stated about our election security going into twenty twenty. Do you see it possible that the intelligence agencies will individually decide to to pursue their own lines of inquiry beyond the deny who may or may not be they may or may not have confidence in with regard a two election security. You mean yes yeah. I think it's it's possible on because one of the things coats did after he left <hes> before before he left was <hes> he he directed the Intel agencies to actually point executives to coordinate election security that was one of his biggest priorities and it's obviously one of the areas where you know things were most hands between him and the president because the presidency's any questioning of potential tax on election infrastructure and the Russian interference as a question about his own <hes> legitimacy as president resident and so I think that you know in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security State and local election officials as well as with the F._B._i.. And the Intel Community Commute Intel agencies that are responsible for monitoring <hes> foreign hacking activity and foreign potential foreign interference in the election we will see kind of the beginnings beginnings of a whole of government approach to this but of course we can't have that really in practice <hes> unless the president is leaning from the top on this and and that's something obviously that we haven't seen Natasha Bertrand is national security correspondent for Politico and David Preece is with the Security Organization Amo please suicides over the years. We've looked at data on on police suicides over the last twenty to thirty years and on average <hes> about one hundred police officers per year kill themselves but what we're seeing in New York City and what we've seen in Chicago is rather unusual. I think a lot has to do with Roy Societies today. I think there's a lot of conflict going on a lot of negative aspirations torch police officers making the job of course more difficult I think officers feel isolated they feel unappreciated and and they're starting to run out of the ability to cope with the adversity they she every day what other cities are struggling with this and is it limited to the United States well of course Chicago Chicago again high crime in Chicago a lot of homicides a lot of adversity a lot of trauma San Francisco Dallas <hes> it is not just a United States problem. We've looked at suicide and France the police suicide rate in Francis High. A police suicide rate in Germany is high the police suicide and sought <hes> South Africa is high. It seems that every country that the researchers looked <hes> police officers have a higher suicide rate in general working population and that's true and United States as well John have we seen <hes> historically stoorikhel at least in the twenty first twentieth century were there have there been other moments where these clusters of officers dying by suicide have it cropped up. Yeah we are looking back at our data back in <hes> the last part of the nineteen sixties we saw we saw peak and flew suicides and that kind of reminded me the conflict of the way society was back in the late sixties and all of the unrest in our country country kind of parallel to what we're seeing today in the United States. You know a lot of unrest a lot of conflict so I think that has something to do with that. <hes> uh when you isolate people from society as police officers are studying to feel the sense of belonging -Ness of being part of society mix one more susceptible to depression a few weeks ago <hes> my colleague W._n._Y._C. host. Jamie Floyd spoke with <hes> N._y._p._d.. Commissioner owner James O'Neill about new efforts that the New York City Police Department is making to get its police officers help <hes> O'Neill said that one of the big problems terms and we've heard this on many levels in policing is there's a culture of silence when it comes to accessing and talking about mental health. Let's take a listen to clip sometimes in in law enforcement and policing it takes a while to <hes> to change but this is something that needs to change immediately <hes> this is our duty. This is our responsibility ability. Why does this stigma exist? In within the police community John well help us to come from the top down and <hes> <hes>. I think the Commissioner has done a good thing by doing this. That stigma is well versed throughout the police culture culture. The police culture is a strong culture. If you come forward with a mental health problem you might be perceived as being being weak so if I'm told as a police officer that I should never be week. I always should be strong. Nothing should ever bother me. I'm not GONNA come forward. When I start start feeling emotions about the horrible things I've seen on the street so officers bury it? They lack it up inside and eventually it comes <music> out what what we need to do is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health to train police officers especially at the recruit level when they first come into the police academy to understand that having a mental health difficulty is very much the same Ramos having a broken arm <hes>. It's very important to inoculate <hes> I like to use the word inoculate to inoculate young police recruits about this. It's very important to train supervisors to understand the aspects of mental health to understand the size of suicide signs signs of depression and our officers training trainees central here. Isn't there also a fear though that <hes> beyond the stigma isn't there also a fear that what the officer could lose their job and that the officer could have their <hes> firearm taken from them. Doesn't that also play a role in this it does yeah in fear is greater than logic. If I come forward with a with a problem. I'm not going to get promoted or my my fellow. Officers are not gonNa Trust me or my supervisors will not trust me. <hes> I'll be called crazy. It'll be scapegoated. <hes> that's a real fair in this culture we need to increase the trust between police administration and that officer that works out in the street that that takes a lot of doing you know because a lot of police officers don't trust the Administration so commissioner Neil comes forward and he says these things that's important. That's that's important to to to build that trust if we don't have that the still going to hide and they're still going to suffer and are still going to die bye Bye Social University of Buffalo Professor John Vigilante. Thanks for joining us. We've been asking our listeners who are first responders how they deal with Trauma Brennan from Darwin. I had friends in Chicago that were firefighters may drink the forget the events of so called bad days. This was stressful in their marriages and some ended up leading to divorce. This is Matt Saint Saint Petersburg Florida. I was an e._M._t.. Trainers for fifteen years and I've been diagnosed with P._T._S._d.. Primarily stemming from me around this case child abuse that I was the primary primary trumpeters for I've seen depression sleep disturbances anxiety substance abuse and many of my colleagues endemic throughout especially hi this is Charlie from Merritt Island Florida. I would not police in the army and the training videos alone what to expect them. Domestic disturbance calls on Bass left guard. We were told these common D._D.. Call I still see those images in my mind. My training was in nineteen ninety one. I never really had to deal with that kind of violence after graduation. I feel like that's why we we have picked trigger. Happy cops now beat it into their heads that everyone is a criminal is definitely nine. Eleven now we continue our conversation conversation about suicide among law enforcement and first responders and just to note this segment mentions a suicide attempt marked Abban joins me now he's a retired hired sergeant who spent his career as a police officer and L. Health <hes> were there specific ish incidences that really stood with you well earlier my career <hes> I I saw a <hes> very horrific crime scene gene birth family was <hes> was killed three people in a family murdered and <hes> it really took me back a little bit being being a younger coffee in twenty one twenty two years old and I said something to <hes> one of my co workers and he said to me. You just need to toughen up. This isn't really no big deal. Go home have a beer and we're going back to work tomorrow and I thought that was Kinda. I want to show any sign of weakness or anything like that but which really bothered me that family laying on the floor <hes> on a homicide scene and then during my career A._M.. Spent some time at the world trade centers after they go hits <hes> I was up there about five days after it hit I volunteer two weeks up there and a and just see the devastation which was brought on by the by the terrorist attacks and to see the Howard affected the first responders such as <hes> when when I was in New York City at the at the side of the child I could smell you can smell burned flesh and it's something that really stuck with me when I returned back to Florida and seeing lean how <hes> the first responders were so frustrated that they couldn't save their to save you know help the public health your co workers and started developing nightmares from that mark. Had anyone prepared you for that for what you were about to to encounter as a police officer had anyone <hes> helped you to sort of understand understand what you were going to deal with or you just kind of dealt with it as it came. It was a case by case scenario. We had no formal training whatsoever. <hes> like I said earlier we we ever brushing law enforcement choir practice after work you have a couple of years with the guys and girls you work with and that's your sense of therapy. <hes> which obviously drinking is not a good healthy coping skill. Now you said you started to have nightmares after being down on nine eleven but what other ways did the trauma <hes> affect your career and even your life outside of the police department it would I went to calls then involved. <hes> <hes> death death it just seemed like death was around all the time from seeing the horrific events at nine eleven and then going back to war to my regular duties such as going to car crashes <hes> homicide scene suicide seems natural death scenes it <hes> it just seemed like death was like surrounding me and it it just really started taking a toll on me and then <hes> towards as my career progressed <hes> I started <hes> I I worked for new supervisor and <hes> the only word I can I I can say is you start bullying the <hes> and I started stealing week and in law enforcement we can't show any type of weakness because we're in fear that <hes> show show weakness we may be reassigned to a non enforcement physician or don't WanNa work with us or just the ridicule in the embarrassment that goes with it at any point mark. Had you tried to ask someone for help. Did you think that it was getting so bad that you needed some. Some sort of help got to the point where <hes> when I when I worked for the the bully supervisor that <hes> I I had a lot of weight I developed a weight gain. I gained a almost almost fifty pounds and I became very irritable and I'm a very outgoing personality very I like to joke around. I like to laugh that lead to marriage average problems. My wife kept telling me <hes> listen. You're not what used to be personality wise in in. You need to get some help my introduction my wife was during you're not you're not a cop. You don't get this and I refuse to get help <hes> because again cause the embarrassment in the stigma that goes with it. Did you ultimately get the help that you needed whether whether it was during your career or after your career did you ever realize. Did you ever have to the opportunity to sit down with the therapist or anything like that. I did <hes> what happened. Was this job related stress the bullying and the horrific events I've seen through my career <hes> Ledesma suicide attempts and <hes> that really opened my eyes that <hes> while I started literally put the gun in my mouth in wasn't I was GonNa die via suicide and fortunately I called a friend of mine co worker from where I used to work with in Massachusetts and he led me to get some help when you hear about I'm very sorry to hear that you went through that. That's that's terrible and and there are colleagues of yours around the country and here in New York <hes> who were dealing with similar issues when you hear about these <hes> officers who are dying by suicide. What do you want to to tell the police departments to do differently that that could probably help them well? Last year. We lost one hundred sixty seven officers who died by like suicide and that's just absolutely horrific right now. We're at one hundred eleven this year <hes> we we would I wanNA do is I want to tell these agencies that you can't put a price in somebody's head we ah the agencies by officers bulletproof vest guns Tasers Mace in they say go protect yourself with that but there's very little little training when it comes to protect checking self mentally and the things I hear quite a bit from administrators is we don't have. We don't have the money in our budget for something like that again. You can't put your price. You can't put pricing when somebody's wellbeing <hes> when it comes to mental health because eventually it's going to these people are going to be beat down down down and you've got to find the money in your budget legit and you've got to find the time and the resources and <hes> people that are trained for people that have a personal connection like myself to mental health willingness mark. There are probably officers that are struggling right now. <hes> is there something that you want to say to them. Absolutely well. I WANNA say to my brothers and sisters is this. It's okay not to be okay. When you start recognizing that you'll going downhill mentally <hes> like this when you have to go to a dentist and it gets fixed but would you find yourself decline in mentally <hes> through depression or P._t._S._d.? Or whatever mental health illness that your experience variance. It's okay to get help you. Just it's that by getting help is getting help and you've got you've got to put your mental health. Just as important as physical health you gotta put aside possibly the ridicule or embarrassment or something like that a healthy mind is a healthy person mark. Thank you so much marked Obama is a retired sergeant

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