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The Day After

by | published July 17th, 2018

In the academic tradition from which I come, there is something called a giving of accounts. Periodically, at gatherings or reunions or wakes, I am obliged to recount and defend my principles, what I hold most sacred, and the manner in which I have lived a life.

Here, at least, I always had solid footing. Despite mistakes, regrets, shortcomings, I knew who I was and what I stood for.

Until yesterday…

In two months, I turn 70. About 24 hours ago, matters I have held most dear in a professional life spanning more than five decades have been called into question by the American President. And it is both saddening and depressing.

I used to ask my university students what war defined their lives. Iraq would come up most often. When the question moved to their fathers, it was Vietnam; for grandfathers, World War II. They were not expecting the response when the tables were turned and somebody from class asked me the question.

Mine was the Cold War.

For almost three decades, including (and despite) a stint in Vietnam, this was my real war. In hindsight, it seemed almost unimaginable that we in the intelligence community rose every morning on the brink of annihilation, always with a clock ticking in the background with almost impossible objectives.

This wasn’t Hollywood or a TV “reality” show. It was the real-world grind of defending the country.

But it did give life an immediate purpose. There was no question who the enemy was or what the priorities were or, for that matter, what I was defending …each day, every day.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I was thrown under the bus, as were others both here and gone. It was a crushing and personal humiliation.

Based on reactions received last night into early this morning from colleagues – past and present – I was hardly alone. For the first time, I felt my earlier career had been a waste of time.

Because the first U.S. President in my lifetime publicly told the world he did not believe his nation’s own national intelligence apparatus and preferred an adversary to his own fellow citizens.

I took an oath similar to his. I defended my country, carrying wounds even today as a result. It was never partisan politics. When it came to field operations or critical analysis, we all parked our personal political predilections at the door.

But the guy who cavalierly dismissed what the intelligence community does for national security is at the apex of the power structure. Whoever sits behind the desk in the Oval Office was always my boss’s boss, my commander-in-chief.

“Tell truth to power” is the pervasive internalized mantra at the CIA. Unfortunately, few ever thought those in power would have no interest in listening. There are numerous reasons why this is unacceptable. 129 of them come to mind as I write this.

This is what you see entering the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at Langley.

Photo: Central Intelligence Agency

That’s the Memorial Wall on the right (the lobby’s north wall) between U.S. and agency flags. In the Alabama marble are carved 129 stars, one for each CIA officer killed in defense of his or her country. The most recent four have been added in 2018

Framed beneath the stars and sitting under an inch of plate glass is the black Book of Honor. This contains by year each of the stars on the wall. Names appear next to 91 of them. The remaining 38 have a blank space next to the star, indicating the officer died in what is still a classified operation.

I personally knew three of them. If not for a freak occurrence, one of them would be writing something like this Oil & Energy Investor today and I would be on the Wall without my name in the Book.

There is an annual service at the Wall commemorating the sacrifices it memorializes. The latest occurred this year on June 12. Barely a month later, the bus ran over all of us.

I have often discussed in Oil & Energy Investor about how geopolitics influences, and in some cases determines, energy prices and direction.

Helsinki followed Blenheim Palace and Brussels in a week that portends the most massive shift of U.S. global posture in decades. This shift is already ushering in a huge and likely to be protracted political fight inside The Beltway.

This past week now combines with the renewal of Iranian sanctions and the rise of a trade war pitting the U.S. against China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. This is geopolitics on steroids.

We will have some nice profit moves in the energy sector, regardless of how all of this plays out. That always happens when politics collides with the market.

But today, I had a more compelling human cost in mind.

Sincerely,

Kent

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  1. Mickey Mouse
    July 17th, 2018 at 21:21 | #1

    Good grief!!! Ask Colin Powell if he believes the CIA! The basic truth in today’s environment is don’t believe a damn thing coming from any branch or agency of the U.S. Government. Place even less trust in anything coming from any U.S. press organization.

  2. Robert Long
    July 17th, 2018 at 21:44 | #2

    He did not prefer other agents. Our own FBI is corrupt with Demorcrats that were wrapped up in bullshit to prevent him from becoming President. Obama ruined the military and made them weak. We have more planes grounded because of the leadership we have had. They are borrowing parts to keep what we have running. Money is being spent again on our military. Rid the FBI of the moles and maybe they can be trusted again. Russia is not our friend nor is China. Thank you for your service and all those that have our lives for this country. You have your opinion and I respect that. But abad FBI and a crooked Democratic President along with Hiliary got us to this place. Relax and see what happens.

  3. Phillip Larkin
    July 17th, 2018 at 22:03 | #3

    Thank you for a great letter to remind people of what was lost yesterday in a short Press Briefing, that was aimed at undermining the United States Of America. Thanks for your service and a Great News Letter. Sincerely,
    P.Larkin

  4. Michael Bell
    July 17th, 2018 at 23:10 | #4

    Dear Mr. Moors, Please do not fret yet over what was said on the surface! You still may be privy to more info than l, but, l also like you do my best to get all the facts correctly put together before coming to a conclusion. This President is not done negotiating by a long shot. He is just getting started! I don’t believe he is completely ignoring his advisors! And no! I don’t trust Vladimir Putin any further than I could throw him! Should we continue being enemies with each other because of the greed and lust for power that is consuming everything? Or, try to get along with each other without destroying everything or turning this planet into a cynder floating in space! If the leadership of this world is not careful, divine intervention is not that far away! The Hatfields & McCoys eventually had to quit fighting and learn how to coexist! So, let’s not give-up on what we both have done in service to this country for the greater good of America & the World! Respectfully, USAR Nam era veteran M.Bell

  5. Jackie Thorne
    July 18th, 2018 at 00:37 | #5

    I too was an Intell Officer from 1962 to 1990. 28 years. I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK’S assassination (I am from Texas), Vietnam Nam war (not police action, or any mealy-mouthed euphemism ), the Cold War and a stint in Turkey (which has gone to Hell under Erdagin ). I have liked and disliked several presidents. But this P O S in the White House has made me want to get a T-shirt printed with “As a vteran, I want a president I can salute with more than one finger.”

  6. Ron James
    July 18th, 2018 at 15:10 | #6

    Not surprising someone your age is unwilling to let go of the heated Cold War. Trump understands that Russia can light up America like a Christmas tree and he wants tensions to reduce, and not be stoked.

  7. July 18th, 2018 at 16:37 | #7

    Mr. Kent,
    We are all (can not believe) what happen to our country. All those
    Persons Who gave their lives for
    our Freedom, and including you.
    But, I know, no matter what, you
    will do what is needed to secure
    our Freedom. Thank you Sir,
    Thank you so much.

  8. William
    July 19th, 2018 at 09:45 | #8

    Right Michael!!!! Everyone is so quick to condemn and we ain’t even started yet! Look at what is done, and listen less to what is said in the press!

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