I happened upon the following in searching for “the enemy within” material. The greatest of enemies is the ONE WITHIN. Within each individual. Within nations. Outside enemies cannot compare to the destruction, despair, and death the enemy within brings. Beginning with the individual spirit, soul, heart, and mind of each person. To where entire nations fall vainly, foolishly believing the fall is a result of a political movement, a coup, or a dictator rising up.
Were it not for the ENEMY WITHIN no decline, destruction, or demise would have occurred.
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
There are two articles here. The first of the most important aspect of a human’s life. Their spiritual part, their understanding, and their walk with God, their relationship to the world and to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible. The second of a worldly nature that without the fall, erosion, decline, and corruption of the spiritual part of men and women, without the turning from God, from Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, and from the Word of God such decline and destruction, such enemies within [or without] would not ever exist to be viewed as political in nature.
Sin is the true enemy. Human nature is the real enemy. Rebellion within, mayhem within, enmity with God within. oozing out, pouring out, streaming out in a torrent flow from the time in the Garden to the breaching the banks of history up to our now…
…now what to do?
Ken Pullen, A CROOKED PATH, Tuesday, January 17th, 2023
The Enemy Within
By Ray C. Stedman
Thomas Cranmer–archbishop of Canterbury during the middle sixteenth century–was noted for promoting the Reformation in England, for disseminating the Coverdale English Bible, and for creating the liturgy of the Anglican Church. He repudiated the rule of the pope in Rome and attempted to bring about a union between the Church of England and the Lutheran church of Germany.
Later, when Mary Tudor–a devout Roman Catholic–became Queen of England, Cranmer was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was convicted of both treason and heresy, and was deprived of sleep and subjected to almost continuous questioning, brow-beating, and haranguing for several weeks. He was often threatened with torture and death. Under this pressure, Cranmer signed a series of confessions, in which he recanted his earlier support for the Reformation, his proclaiming of salvation by grace through faith, and his belief that the Scriptures belonged to all the people, not just the Catholic clergy.
Even though he signed the recantations that were demanded of him, and despite promises made to him that these signed documents would save him from torture and death, the papers were presented as evidence against him in a final trial for treason. The court condemned him to death by burning at the stake–but told him the sentence would not be carried out if he made a public recantation of his former beliefs. He was taken before a large crowd at St. Mary’s Church, Oxford, to confess his former errors–but instead of confessing, he declared, “My conscience will not let me deny the truth any longer, even to save my life. I have signed seven recantations of the truth, and I bitterly regret each one. I abhor my right hand for signing those recantations, and when they take me to the flames, I shall hold my right hand steadfastly in the flames.”
The authorities stopped him in mid-speech, dragged him out of the church, and took him away to be executed. As the fire was being prepared, he trusted God to give him the strength to keep his promise, and he boldly thrust his right hand into the flames. Then he was bound to the stake, surrounded with wood, and put to a martyr’s death.
Boldness! That is the inevitable result of trust in God, trust in the new covenant–everything coming from God, nothing coming from me. Boldness, courage, and confidence, of course, are just what people everywhere are searching for. They instinctively know that effective action must issue from a courageous, confident spirit. They try in a thousand ways to summon up that confidence from within, but they are looking in the wrong place. There is a form of boldness they can find in themselves, but it will end as a fading glory.
But that is not the source of Paul’s boldness! He has found the secret of true boldness. His basis is different. “Therefore,” says Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:12, “since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” That is Paul’s triumphant conclusion to his discussion of the two covenants at work in humanity. His boldness is rooted in a sure hope, a conviction that God is ready to work in him.
All who trust in this hope become noticeably bold. Because they are not trusting in themselves or in some effort they are making on behalf of God but in God himself, they can be supremely confident. And since success does not depend any longer on their dedication, their zeal, their wisdom, their background, or training, then they can be very bold. It is God who will do it, and he can be depended upon not to fail–though he very well may take some unexpected route to accomplish his ends.
When we can trust that God is capable to work in any given situation, He delivers us completely from the fear of failure. At that moment, what else can we be but invincibly bold!
When Moses was afraid
Paul immediately goes on to say, “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away” (2 Corinthians 3:13). On at least one occasion Moses was not bold. He was, indeed, the very opposite! He was fearful and threatened.
Here we learn something about Moses which the Old Testament does not reveal. In the Old Testament account Moses, was not aware of the shining of his face when he came down from Mt. Sinai. Naturally, it didn’t take him long to learn that something unusual was happening when people closed their eyes or shielded their faces in his presence. It actually became necessary for Moses to cover his face with a veil when he talked to people. There was nothing wrong with that. It was a perfectly proper action in view of the circumstances. But Moses soon knew something that the people of Israel didn’t know: The glory was fading.
At first, Moses put the veil on every morning because of the brightness of his face. But as time passed and the brightness faded to nothing more than a dim glow, he still wore the veil each day.
Now Paul raises the question: Why? Why did Moses keep the veil on his face after the glory had faded? His answer: Moses was afraid. Afraid of what? Afraid that the Israelites would see that the glory had faded! He did not want them to see the end of the fading glory. The mark of his privilege and status before God was disappearing, and Moses did not want anyone to know it. So he did what millions have done ever since, he hid the fact of his faded glory behind a facade, a veil. He did not let anyone see what was really going on inside.
The veil of pride
It is clear that Paul means this veil over the face of Moses to be a symbol of a further activity of the flesh, for he finds the same veil still around in his own day. The Jews of his time were a continuing example. He writes:
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
When Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from the mountain, he read them to the people. Their immediate response was: “All that God says, we will do.” The confidence and pride of the flesh rose up to say, “We’ve got what it takes to do everything you say, God. Don’t worry about us. We are your faithful people, and whatever you say, we will do.” The truth was, of course, that before the day was over they had broken all ten of the commandments. They knew it, but they didn’t want anyone else to know. So they put up a facade. They covered over their failure with religious ritual and convinced themselves that the ritual was all God wanted. That pride which would not admit failure was the veil that hid the end of the fading glory. They could not see the death that was waiting at the end. And they could not feel the frustration and defeat that would be theirs when the flesh had finished its fatal work.
Fifteen hundred years after Moses, Paul found the same veil at work in Israel. The Jews of his day made the same response to the demands of the law as their forefathers had made at Mt. Sinai: “All that you say, we will do!” Now, two thousand years after Paul the same phenomenon is occurring. When some demand is made upon the natural life, its response is, “All right, I’ll do it,” or at least, “I’ll try.” Even in Christians, the confidence that they can do something for God blinds their eyes to the end of the fading glory. They believe that something good can be accomplished if they just give it the old college try. So today that same veil remains unlifted.
Veils come in many forms today, but they are always essentially the same: An image or front we project to others, and behind which we hide our real selves. They are always, therefore, a form of pride and hypocrisy. We don’t want people to see our fading glory. Actually, we are reluctant to admit it has happened even to ourselves. And by wearing our veils long enough there is great danger that we will actually begin to believe that we are the kind of people we want everyone to believe we are. Then our hypocrisy becomes unnoticed by us and its perpetuation is assured. This is that subtle deceitfulness of the heart which Jeremiah saw so clearly and lamented: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Yes, the veils we employ are unbelievably varied. Pride has a thousand faces. It is a master of disguise. C. S. Lewis has rightly said,
There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. . . . There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit; and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility (Mere Christianity, p. 106).
Yet despite the unpopularity which pride creates for us, these innocent-seeming veils are so necessary to our ego support that we invent many clever ways to preserve them. One is to have a “double entry” system of names. When a form of pride appears in others, we have one name for it; when the same thing appears in us, we have a nicer name for it. Others have prejudices; we have convictions. Others are conceited; we have self-respect. Others garishly keep up with the Joneses; we simply try to get ahead. Others blow up, or lose their tempers; we are seized with righteous indignation.
C. S. Lewis suggests that only Christians become aware of pride in themselves. Certainly it is true that most non-Christians, if they see pride in themselves at all, regard it as a virtue rather than a vice. But unfortunately, being a Christian does not guarantee easy recognition of all forms of pride. Christians are particularly susceptible to donning certain veils, especially those which appear to be forms of Christian virtue.
Take false modesty, for example. I have long ago learned that when I hear some Christian say, “I’m only trying to serve the Lord in my own humble way,” I’m probably talking to the proudest person in six counties! St. Jeremiahome warned: “Beware of the pride of humility.” I once heard of a congregation that gave its pastor a medal for humility–then took it away because he wore it! True humility, of course, is never aware of itself. It is most noteworthy that the greatest saints have been most aware of their pride. And the truly humble person would never see this virtue in himself. Any degree of pious cant is a dead giveaway of the presence of towering pride.
Veils Christians wear
Then there is self-righteousness. This is a particularly noxious form of Christian pride. It seizes upon some biblical standard of conduct and takes pride in its own ability to measure up outwardly while conveniently overlooking any failure of the inner or thought life to conform. The end result is a smug, patronizing, and even nasty attitude toward anyone who does not meet the standard. This is the sin Jesus struck at most forcibly. He exposed it in the Pharisees and said that even the adulterers and the extortioners would enter the kingdom of heaven before them. It is the sin of the crusader who habitually mounts a white horse and rides out to combat any form of evil which he considers reprehensible.
Self-righteousness is also the sin of the person who nags another, for the nagger is focusing upon a single point of conduct and ignores the areas in his or her own life where a similar failure is occurring. Instinctively, we retreat behind this veil whenever failure or weakness is exposed in us. (“I may be weak there, but at least I don’t do such-and-such.”) We keep self-righteous veils always close at hand so they can be put on quickly to keep others from seeing the end of the fading glory.
Another common Christian veil is sensitivity or touchiness. Persons who are touchy or excessively sensitive are easily hurt by the words or actions of others. They must be handled with kid gloves lest they take offense. And when offended, they suffer agonies of spirit and tend to wallow in a morass of self-pity for hours, or even days, on end. Their explanation of such agony is always the “thoughtlessness” or “rudeness” of others, but in reality it is their own protest at not being given the attention or prominence which they’re sure they deserve. Years ago a wise Christian woman summed it up for me in a brief statement I’ll never forget. “I’ve learned,” she said, “that sensitivity is nothing but selfishness.” That helped greatly to free me from a struggle I was having with touchiness at the time.
An impatient spirit can be a veil to hide the reality of what we are. It is often manifested to indicate importance or busyness. It frequently appears as a mark of zeal or dedication. But to be easily irritated, to frown readily, or reply sharply is a form of pride usually used to cover insecurity or a deep sense of inferiority. A self-justifying habit reveals something similar. Those people who can’t stand to be misunderstood but are forever explaining their actions are really saying, “I want you to think I’m perfect. Of course, I know that the present situation does not let me appear so, but if you will just let me explain…” It is no wonder this habit is frequently associated with what is called perfectionism,
But perhaps the most common veil employed by Christians is remoteness: the practice of keeping feelings and attitudes completely to oneself, even with friends or close relatives. Remoteness arises primarily from fear–the fear of being known for what one is. Often, though, it is described defensively as “reserve,” “privacy,” or “reticence.” It is clearly a veil to keep others from seeing a fading glory and is a direct violation of such biblical commands as “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16) and “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). After all, how can another bear your burden if you don’t share it?
All of these commands are summed up in the direct and repeated command of Jesus, ” Love each other” (John 15:12), which he goes on to define as including, among other elements, the sharing of secrets (see John 15:15). Paul tells the Corinthian believers (in 2 Corinthians 6:11) that he has opened his heart fully to them and exhorts them: “As a fair exchange– I speak as to my children–open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:13).
The big lie
It is apparent from the above examples that the flesh, or natural life, likes nothing better than to hide or disguise itself. We all tend to fear rejection if we are seen for what we are. The satanic lie is that in order to be liked or accepted we must appear capable or successful. Therefore we either project capability (the extrovert) or we seek to hide our failure (the introvert). The new covenant offers the opposite. If we will admit our inadequacy, we can have God’s adequacy, and all we have sought vainly to produce (confidence, success, impact, integrity, and reality) is given to us at the point of our inability. The key is to take away the veil.
A modern songwriter, John Fischer, has captured, with delicious humor, the tendency of evangelical Christians to wear veils. Enjoy a good laugh at your own expense.
Evangelical Veil Productions
Evangelical Veil Productions!
Pick one up at quite a reduction;
Got all kinds of shapes and sizes;
Introductory bonus prizes!
Special quality, one-way see through;
You can see them but they can’t see you.
Never have to show yourself again!
Just released–A Moses model;
Comes with shine in a plastic bottle,
It makes you look like you’ve just seen the Lord!
Just one daily application
And you’ll fool the congregation,
Guaranteed to last a whole week through.
Got a Back-from-the-Summer-Camp veil,
With a Mountain-top look that’ll never fail,
As long as you renew it every year.
Lots of special Jesus freak files,
every one comes with a permanent smile,
One-way button, and a sticker for your car.
(Repeat first verse–then shout:)
(Used by permission of author)
The great unveiling
How can these veils be removed? The answer is clearly stated by Paul in the Scripture passage we are considering:
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
Only in Christ is the veil taken away! And as the apostle goes on to tell us, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (v. 17). Here is our first real key in moving from the old covenant to the new. The key is the Spirit. Some may be confused by Paul’s word that only through Christ can the veil be taken away. They may wonder, “Are we to turn to the Spirit or to Christ to have the veil removed?” The answer, of course, is that it makes no difference.
In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is frequently called the Spirit of Christ. It is His divine task and joy to enter the life of those who believe in Jesus and continually unleash in them the very life of Jesus himself. Thus, to turn to the Spirit is also to turn to Christ. It is by means of the Spirit that we turn to Christ.
We must further see that in practical terms “to turn to the Spirit” means to have faith in the promise of the Spirit, to trust the word of God. It is to expect the Spirit to act in line with what he has said he will do. Specifically, the promise is to apply to our practical, daily lives the full value of both the death and the resurrection of Jesus. His death has cut us off from our old, natural life, as Paul tells us in Romans 6:6–“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
When we agree with this word concerning the specific form of pride we are at the moment experiencing (that is, the particular veil we are hiding behind), we are immediately freed by the Spirit from its control. We have called the veil what God calls it, which is usually also what we call it when we find it in someone else. It can no longer be excused or justified–we repudiate it, and the fleeting pleasure it offers us. That is what it means to turn to the Spirit. As Paul describes it,”. . . if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13, emphasis added). Remember, we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed–and the Lord is the Spirit.
Free to live
The second function of the Spirit is to make real to us in practical terms the resurrection of Jesus, as well as His death. This is the second part of “turning to the Lord.” The first act of the Spirit ends the reign of the old life over us. The second act releases to us the resurrected life of Jesus. That is what the Scripture calls freedom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit,” says verse 17, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
When by faith in that promise we have turned from the flesh with its lying promise of success and have trusted in the Lord Jesus, dwelling within us by His Spirit, to be ready to work the moment we choose to act, we have in very practical terms passed from the old covenant to the new. Nothing coming from us, everything coming from God! That is freedom!
The apostle goes on to describe this freedom in glorious terms: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 2:18). Note the term unveiled faces. By faith in the promise of God (that is, by the Spirit) we have ceased to look at the face of Moses and are now beholding with full vision “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The veil is removed. Moses and the law are gone; only Jesus Christ fills the horizon of our life–for that precise moment. It is altogether possible that a minute or two later we may, like Peter walking on the water, take our eyes off the face of Jesus and begin to look once again at our circumstances and our limited resources. At that moment, of course, Moses and the law return. The temptation to do this is not the act, and we can find our faith sorely tested while still having it fixed upon the face of Jesus. But when we succumb to these pressures and begin to trust ourselves or others, we are back in the old covenant, wearing a veil over our faces, and must repeat the whole process for deliverance.
God is not angry
But let us not despair or feel condemned when this happens. Remember that God has already made full provision for failure in learning to live by the Spirit. He anticipates our struggles and our defeats and only expects us to recognize them as well and return immediately to the principle of the new covenant. God is not angry with us or upset because we have fallen. We are angry at ourselves, perhaps, but that only shows us more fully how much we were expecting something to come from us. We need but to thank God for letting us see what we were unwittingly trusting in and then resume our confidence that Jesus is at work in us as we take up the task at hand again.
This continual return to beholding the glory of the Lord is doing something to us, says Paul. More and more areas of our conscious experience (our soul) are coming under the full control of the Spirit, and we are therefore reflecting an increasing likeness to Jesus; we are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another. This is what we often call “Christian growth” or “growing in grace.” Because of constant practice of the principle of the new covenant, it is increasingly easy to keep the eyes of the heart fixed on the face of Jesus. Gradually it feels more and more “natural” to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. The writer of Hebrews speaks of those “who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). It is still possible, under sufficient provocation or allurement, to act in the flesh in any given relationship of life, but it is increasingly unlikely, for the heart is being “strengthened by grace” (Hebrews 13:9).
Though this gracious effect is occurring in certain areas of the conscious life, it has not yet conquered all the areas in which we live. “Glory,” the glory of the life of Jesus, is becoming dominant in some areas, but in others the flesh still reigns triumphant and must be attacked and subdued by the Spirit so that another degree of glory may become evident. What is happening has often been pictured as a throne room in the heart, where at first Ego (symbolized by the letter E) is seated upon the throne, and Christ (symbolized by the cross) is waiting to be given his rightful place of rule, as in the illustration below.
When the human will (the throne) is submitted to the authority of Christ, the Ego is cast off the throne and Christ rules as Lord in the heart, as illustrated below:
Growth is a process
These diagrams have been helpful to many, but are inadequate, for they represents the human heart as a single entity and the will as a single factor governing the whole of the inner life at one time. I believe it is more accurate to recognize the word heart, commonly employed in Scripture, as referring to the soul and spirit combined, as below:
Human Spirit: Ego is Dethroned
Note in this illustration that at the conversion of the individual, the Spirit of God penetrates the human spirit, dethrones the Ego (or the flesh), and replaces it with the Cross, depicting the life of Jesus. But that is only within the human spirit. The soul is still under the control of the flesh and remains so until the Spirit successively invades each area or relationship and establishes the Lordship of Jesus within. This is important to understand: There is a throne in every area of the human soul! The question of Lordship is fought out anew in each area, as indicated in the illustration below:
† = The Lordship of Christ
E = Ego, or Flesh, in Control
The up-and-down life
This would explain why it is possible for an individual Christian to be in the Spirit one moment and in the flesh the next. A good biblical example of this is in Matthew 16:16 where Peter confesses to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this, Jesus replies, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” It is clear here that Peter spoke in the Spirit when he made his confession of the identity of Jesus.
However, in verse 22 of the same account, Peter actually rebukes Jesus for suggesting that he will be crucified and resurrected again. To this rebuke Jesus says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Here Peter speaks from the flesh in ignorant opposition to the will and purpose of God.
It is evident that when it was a question of Peter’s rational acceptance or rejection of the identity of Jesus, the Spirit had already successfully enthroned Jesus as Lord in that area of Peter’s life. But when it came to the matter of Peter’s involvement with the program of crucifixion and resurrection which that identity made necessary, the flesh was still very much on the throne and Jesus was not yet Lord of that area. But that was all in the realm of Peter’s soul (his conscious experience). In his human spirit, Jesus was Lord and had been ever since Peter responded to Jesus’ call and entered into life.
It is quite possible then for you habitually to walk in the Spirit in one area of life–say, your relations with Christian brothers and sisters–but perhaps the moment you are involved with a member of your immediate family, you enter an area where the flesh is still unconquered and speech and attitudes are fleshly instead of Spirit-governed. This frequently happens with young Christians. From his vantage point in your human spirit the Spirit of God exerts steady and unyielding pressure upon the area of family relationships, often precipitating several crises, until the will submits in that area and Jesus is enthroned as Lord there too. Thus another degree of likeness to Christ is achieved and another degree of glory manifested.
Perhaps it is the sex life which holds out against the control of the Spirit. Or it may be the vocational life. Many a businessman has learned to live in the Spirit on Sundays, but on Monday morning when he steps across the threshold of his office, he says, in effect, “Here I am in control. I have been trained to handle affairs here, and I don’t need God’s help. I know what is expected of me and I can handle things on my own.” That, of course, is the old covenant in its purest form, and such a procedure will guarantee the presence in that businessman of many forms of death: depression, boredom, resentment, anxiety, tension, and so on.
Fighting a battle already won
Since we can live only in one area of relationships of our life at any given moment, it is evident that we can be in a Spirit-controlled area one moment and in a flesh-dominated area the next. This is why we can be a great person to live with one minute (delightful, because we are in the Spirit) and then a moment later some old habit pattern of the flesh reasserts itself and we are right back in our old covenant behavior–harsh, nasty, or cruel. When we become aware of those feelings within, we know we will lose our Christian reputation if they are allowed to show, so we snatch an evangelical veil and hide the fading glory.
But how encouraging to know that the Spirit will never give up the battle. He seeks in a thousand ways to invade each separate relationship of the soul, and gradually He is doing so–sometimes faster, as we yield to him; sometimes very slowly, as we resist and cling to our veils. The more we work and live with the face of Jesus clearly in view, the more quickly we find each area of our life being changed into His likeness. We cannot do that work. It is, as Paul says, all “from the Lord who is the Spirit.” He will never cease the work he has begun.
Destroying American Democracy – An Inside Job
Can our government, law enforcement, and the Intelligence Community still be trusted? Have those federal agencies weaponized law enforcement and intelligence against political opponents in the U.S.? Today we know that the “Russia hoax” was a lie. The information in the “Steele dossier” was false — and the FBI knew it was from the start. Pictured: Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London on July 24, 2020, to attend a defamation trial brought against him by Russian entrepreneur Alexej Gubarev in connection with the “Steele dossier”. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Over the last few years, there has been much written about the destruction of American democracy. Frequently the threat has been of alleged interference in U.S. elections by Russia, China or other state actors. Government agencies, the name of election integrity, were assigned to identify and disrupt these foreign intrusions. As more and more information is revealed about these agencies, it seems that America’s Intelligence Community participated in these activities domestically, and in a way that poses a grave threat to both election integrity and American democracy.
Just last week it was revealed that the FBI again withheld pertinent information from the American public, for past two months, until after the November 8, 2022 federal election. As with the Bureau’s reported cover-up of evidence influence-peddling reportedly found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, agents knew, since November 2, 2022, about at least some of the three sets of classified material that illegally found their way into the garage and library of President Joe Biden and into the Penn Biden Center think tank at the University of Pennsylvania — to which anonymous members of the Chinese Communist Party have donated $54.6 million.
Their existence only became known this week, after the newly elected Republican-majority House of Representatives announced that it would hold hearings on “how the [Justice] department handled investigations into classified materials found at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home and those found at President Joe Biden’s office in a Washington think tank bearing his name and his Delaware home…”
In addition, the recent release of the “Twitter Files” has raised at least two major concerns regarding actions by the Intelligence Community. The first is that the wall of separation between the Intelligence Community and the U.S. media has not only sprung a leak, it has totally collapsed. The report that officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) met weekly with Twitter executives to coordinate information is totally inappropriate. Would officials from the ODNI review, affirm or label certain sets of information as false? When ODNI was created, no one intended its officials to have a role in these types of discussions.
It also appears that intelligence officials in recent years have politically weaponized intelligence. The combination of a politically weaponized Intelligence Community, operating hand-in-hand with organizations that are the main gateways for information to millions of Americans, poses a serious threat to American democracy and the integrity of our elections.
Let us just briefly look at the steep slope of lying, deceit and corruption that has seeped into the leadership of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
First, there are not enough words to praise our Intelligence Community and the men and women who risk their lives to keep America safe. These are the rank-and-file professionals that form the core of the Intelligence Community. Most are dedicated to the mission of gathering the necessary information to protect our nation. Their leaders have a responsibility to serve these individuals. Too often, however, as the current array of whistleblowers indicates, those leaders have let these individuals down.
Imagine their reaction in 2013 when, in response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden to then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper about whether the National Security Agency (NSA) collects “any type of data on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans,” Clapper answered, “No sir, not wittingly.” Clapper, who had been given the question the previous day, was asked after the hearing if he wanted to amend the answer, and declined. It was shortly thereafter that a massive NSA program containing millions of pieces of Americans’ data was revealed. Clapper was caught in a huge lie — to U.S. Senator Wyden and the American people.
On January 12, 2017, CNN reported that President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed by DNI Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Michael Rogers. The topic: “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Donald Trump.” It was intended to inform the President-elect that these allegations “are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress, and other government officials in Washington.” The briefing also touched on other major allegations they claimed were “circulating.”
Having this false information — some of which the FBI actually altered — in the public domain was evidently intended to damage Trump. The Russian “hoax” allegations would haunt and damage the Trump presidency for almost two years. Clapper himself stated:
“I express my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press … they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”
Clapper also released a statement that neither he nor anyone else in the Intelligence Community were responsible for the leaks. How did this highly classified information, then, get into the public domain?
A House Republican investigation provides the answer. Clapper denied leaking the dossier but admitted to discussing the dossier with CNN correspondent Jake Tapper and perhaps other journalists in early January 2017. Later in 2017, Clapper would go on to join CNN as a “national security” contributor and CNN would receive an award for its reporting at the White House Correspondents’ dinner.
Today we know that the “Russia hoax” was a lie. After a 22-month investigation, no evidence of collusion between any element of the Trump campaign and Russia was uncovered. The supposedly compromising evidence had never existed; the information in the “Steele dossier” was false — and the FBI had known it was from the start. The entire fabrication had been an attempt to attack and politically weaken Trump.
In October 2020, shortly before the elections 51 former intelligence professionals had even signed a joint letter stating that the Hunter Biden laptop had “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” They stated that their national security experience made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” They went on:
“If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we strongly believe that Americans need to be aware of this.”
The New York Times raised questions about the authenticity of the materials found on the laptop. Bill Evanina, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director, had indicated in August that Russia was trying to denigrate the Biden campaign. All these manufactured “facts” were apparently intended to create circumstances where reasonable people would have to conclude that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.
Signatories of the 2020 letter included Clapper, Brennan, Michael Hayden, Jeremy Bash and David Buckley. Clapper and Brennan are familiar names. They were involved in the January 2017 briefing to President Donald Trump on the fake Steele dossier. Jeremy Bash and David Buckley are worth mentioning because they continue to play significant roles in domestic and national security areas in the U.S. government. Buckley was the majority staff director on the House Select Committee investigating January 6th. Bash has been named to co-chair a government commission to review the war in Afghanistan.
The fraudulent efforts by the U.S. government, Clapper, Brennan and the 49 others — along with Hillary Clinton, her campaign committee, the Democratic National Committee and the suppression of the media and social media (here and here) — to influence the public unfortunately met with some success. For almost two years, the authenticity of the material found on Hunter Biden’s laptop was questioned. Today, its authenticity has been verified; the information is real and damning. As summarized by the New York Post:
“Yes that letter from the Dirty 51 had all the classic earmarks of a disinformation operation, all right – one designed to ensure Joe Biden won the presidency. And it was essentially a CIA operation, considering 43 of the 51 signatories were former CIA.”
One final example of the Intelligence Community involving itself in domestic politics comes from the recent release of the “Twitter Files.” According to tweet #20 of the third tranche released:
“This post about the Hunter Biden laptop situation shows that Roth not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”
Tweet #17 states: “executives were also clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content.”
Finally, the FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million reportedly to “handle requests from the bureau.”
We now know what happened. Twitter suppressed discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop story and suppressed conservative messaging, while at the same time it appears the FBI, DHS and the ODNI had literally had set up shop at Twitter.
The American people should be outraged. This level of collaboration between federal law enforcement and a private sector company on controlling speech is terrifying. Having our Intelligence Community, which is supposed to be focused on foreign intelligence collection, involved is even more terrifying.
DNI James Clapper lying to the American people in 2013 about government surveillance of them, the promoting of the Russian hoax theory in 2017 by CIA Director Brennan, DNI Clapper, FBI Director Comey and others, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story by 51 former intelligence professionals, and the close working arrangement between the FBI, DHS and the ODNI in 2020-2022 raises a staggering series of questions:
- Can our government, law enforcement, and the Intelligence Community still be trusted?
- Have those federal government agencies literally weaponized law enforcement and intelligence against political opponents in the U.S.?
- Has more than one solitary person — former FBI attorney Kevin Clinemith, for altering an email — been held accountable for these egregious abuses of power?
- Why wasn’t there a more powerful response from the Intelligence Community and the law enforcement community about the disinformation from the 51 former intelligence professionals?
- Who authorized the cozy relationship between law enforcement, the intelligence community with Twitter?
- Who in these government agencies reviewed and approved of the output and decisions coming from these joint efforts?
- Were political appointees in the review loop?
- Who has the records, notes and decisions that emanated from these groups?
It is clear that our law enforcement community needs to be investigated, but most importantly we need to investigate how our Intelligence Community has evolved from having literally a non-existent relationship with speech in America to being inside the room determining what speech is allowed.
There also needs to be a significant investigation by an outside, non-government group to understand how far this massive government overreach into free speech and election manipulation went. Clearly the government has been influencing what we get to see and hear. It needs to stop — now — before our democracy is destroyed.
Peter Hoekstra was U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.