A Paranoid Reverie

Does everyone important need to be surveilled?

Consider the following mental experiment. Suppose that one of the intelligence agencies comes across new plans for Russian espionage in the United States. Do they present the evidence to the President at his daily intelligence briefing? Probably not because by all accounts these are short and supplied through graphics. But let us say suspicious Russian behavior is persistent. The President, after all, is the great decider about national defense policy and it is or always has been the obligation of his intelligence agencies to supply him with the best of their products so he can decide what course of action is in the national interest. But what happens when the President is himself distrusted, on the basis of prior experience, not to be discrete with national security information, that in itself an unprecedented event, and even more so, is suspected of and being investigated for collusion with the Russians? What are the intelligence agencies to do? Giving him the information might be dangerous because he might pass it on to the Russians and not giving it to him borders on treason in that the intelligence agencies would then be subverting their duty to serve all presidents.

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