Former CIA Station Chief In Moscow: ‘Brennan And Clapper Are Doing Putin’s Bidding’

A former CIA station chief is worried that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories.

The Federalist, by Bre Payton, Aug. 2, 2018:

A former CIA station chief in Moscow is worried that top former intelligence agency officials John Brennan and James Clapper are doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding, when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories without verifying the facts.

The former CIA director and former director of National Intelligence have both been fanning the flames on the notion that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials in order to steal the election away from Hillary Clinton on cable TV and in various media interviews. As a result, the White House threatened to revoke security clearances from these men and a few others for misusing their access to top secret documents to promote their own agenda.

Former CIA case officer Daniel Hoffman, who was stationed in Moscow, told Real Clear Investigates that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they speculate without facts.

“In Brennan’s case that Putin could blackmail Trump, and in Clapper’s that the Kremlin’s interference swung the election to Trump,” Hoffman said. “Senior intelligence officers should know we speculate at our own peril.”

“While they get a favorable response from the ‘Amen’ chorus of Trump opponents, we should also consider the risk they are taking of feeding Trump’s speculation they were partisan officials who sought to do him harm,” he said.

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Former CIA chief of station Daniel Hoffman on how Russia has undermined Americans’ faith in the U.S. political system.

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Also see:

Andrew C. McCarthy on Russiagate, Clinton-Trump Investigation Double Standards, Mueller’s Mandate, DOJ-FBI-CIA Politicization (Part II)

My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In Part II of my in-depth interview with Andy, we discussed Russiagate, the pervasive unethical and at times lawless behavior of law enforcement and the intelligence community with respect to Donald Trump and Russia versus Hillary Clinton and her e-mail server, the apparently limitless mandate of Robert Mueller’s special counsel, obstruction of justice and much more.

If you missed Part I of my conversation with Andy on his experience prosecuting the jihadist mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack and what it taught him about the Islamic supremacist threat America faces, the primacy of religion and why Islamic supremacists choose jihadist savagery over assimilation, willful blindness in American national security and foreign policy, folly in American foreign affairs from Syria to Libya, and the imperative to collapse the Khomeinist Iranian regime, be sure to catch up here.

What We Discussed

  • Russia’s historical attempts to “interfere” with U.S. elections, and its imperceptible impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential vote
  • McCarthy’s dissection of the double standard in the DOJ/FBI’s handling of its investigation of Hillary Clinton versus that of Donald Trump, and the unwillingness to bring Clinton to justice over Clinton Foundation impropriety if not worse and destruction of State Department emails
  • Former FBI Director James Comey’s monumental error in testimony on the counter-intelligence investigation implicating the Trump campaign that ultimately served as the basis for Robert Mueller’s special counsel
  • Mueller’s limitless special counsel mandate and brazen tactics against Paul Manafort
  • Politicization of law enforcement and the intelligence apparatus, and its detrimental long-term impact on American national security
  • How to root out corruption in the FBI, CIA and DOJ, and the suspicious if not lawless acts of Obama DNI Chief James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan
  • The disingenuous nature of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian meddling in the 2016 election
  • The double standard in the treatment of Paul Manafort versus Hillary Clinton and her email server
  • McCarthy’s obliteration of the obstruction of justice theory
  • President Obama’s involvement in Russiagate

Full Transcript (go there for the audio also)

Also see McCarthy’s article at NRO yesterday: 

Watergate Done Legally: The Predictable Truth About Spying

American Greatness, by Angelo Codevilla, May 24, 2018:

The tug-of war (and it is a war) between Fox News alongside a handful of Republicans on one hand, and the solid front of U.S. government agencies, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media (Google included) on the other, is focused on who in the Department of Justice and the FBI did what and why to start the July 31, 2016 “Crossfire Hurricane” counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, to secure a FISA warrant for electronic intercepts of Trump advisers, and to vector Stefan Halper and possibly others to spy on them directly beginning around July 11. These details are so few and so jumbled as to obscure the considerably larger extent of the intelligence community’s involvement against Trump.

The following considers additional facts (not in dispute) from the perspective of my eight years of experience with the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. as a senior staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and as part of the group that drafted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (over my opposition).

The events of the past two years have confirmed the objections to FISA I stated in 1978: pre-clearance of wiretaps by a court that operates secretly, ex parte, and that is agnostic on national security matters, is an irresistible temptation to the party in power and its friends in the intelligence agencies to use the law to spy against their political opponents—that is, to do Watergate legally.

The Spying Legacy of 9/11
FISA was a bad idea, made worse after 9/11 by the addition of Section 702. It is a license to collect and use electronic data on Americans, so long as that collection is claimed to be “incidental” in the collection of data relating to foreigners. Since the claiming is done in secret, and the yearly court review can be finessed, officials’ self-restraint is all that keeps Section 702 itself from being an abuse. Item 17, “about queries,” specifically authorizes the collection of emails and phone calls of “U.S. persons.”

The first evidence that Obama Administration officials and their friends in the Community had used intelligence to try thwarting a political challenge came on November 17, 2016, when Donald Trump abruptly moved his transition headquarters from Trump Tower to Bedminster, New Jersey. The previous day, he had been visited by Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency. Rogers earlier had delivered the yearly Section 702 certification to the FISA court, saying that the Justice Department had improperly used that portion of the law to direct the NSA to listen in on Trump campaign headquarters. Just prior to Rogers’ delivery, John Carlin, head of the Justice Department’s national security division, tendered his resignation. Rogers was not happy. Trump even less so.

When the Section 702 abuse began is not public knowledge. We do know, however, that a FISA court in June 2016 rejected the Justice Department’s request for traditional FISA authority to monitor some members of the Trump campaign. Since ginning up such documents takes time, the process probably started in May or late April—roughly the time when Trump locked down the Republican nomination. Having failed to get explicit FISA authority, Justice Department officials may well have used the implicit authority of Section 702.

Who Employed Stefan Harper?
Something else unusual happened around that time: Trump associate Carter Page got an invite to an elite and cushy conference in Cambridge, England for Stef Halper. Turns out, Halper was acting on behalf of U.S. Intelligence. According to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Halper was not “spying”—just gathering information. Page and Halper met at the conference on July 11, a conference for which Page was paid a sizable honorarium for attending.

The commentariat has been atwitter (please excuse the term) about how this squares with the fact that the FBI’s formal “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation (revealed to the New York Times as part of the advance spin on the much-anticipated Justice Department inspector general’s report) began only on July 31. Did the FBI jump the gun? Not by a few days but when the invitation was sent months earlier? Was this another “malum prohibitum” on its part?

Most probably not. At most, searches of FBI documents may turn up information showing that this was, most likely, a CIA operation.

First, dispatching informants outside of formal investigations is not part of FBI’s culture. Sending informants through old-boy networks is the essence of CIA’s culture. Stef Halper is a Boomer generation old boy, having married into the Agency family and lived directly and indirectly from his connections with it. To anyone familiar with CIA’s sponsorship of cultural-academic activities in the postwar period, thereafter transmuted into a long (secret) and pricey list of contracts with personages and institutions in this field, the very name of Cambridge’s Center for Research in the Arts Social Sciences and Humanities shouts CIA!

Most likely, Halper and perhaps others were vectored, authoritatively but semi-formally, by then-CIA director John Brennan. It could hardly have been done except by his authority. Did Brennan’s friend Barack Obama know?  Neither that authorization nor that knowledge would break any laws.

But, boy, oh boy, how many bright red lines likely have been crossed!

How the Intelligence Community Became Corrupted
Recall that in 1947 the main objection to establishing the CIA was the widespread fear that, someday, its espionage would be used against Americans. That is why CIA was given no powers of arrest, why its agents would operate only abroad, and only against foreign targets. But from the very first, CIA officials, from the top down, have thought of themselves as entitled to transcend the role of lookouts for the ship of state. They have identified with and built relationships with policymakers, and placed their hands on the wheel as best they could.

The FBI used to be very different. CIA people looked down on the bureau’s “cop mentality.” But, gradually, the top levels of FBI started thinking of themselves as do those up the river: as partners with policymakers, fellow policymakers.

Just as important, a large part of these agencies—certainly the most personally successful one—absorbed and was absorbed by the ethos of the ruling class, the chief item of which is a sense of rightful superiority over the rest of Americans. The sense of entitlement to power, of the right and duty to do whatever it takes to defend it against bad people whom despicable Americans might elect or have elected, followed naturally.

Now the alternatives are all too clear: either those who have taken America across these red lines are punished severely, and with bipartisan approval—in which case we may return to a politically neutral national security establishment. If they are not, the national security apparatus is sure to become the queen in the nation’s political chessboard.

It would not be the first time in history in which government power started flowing from whoever controlled the security forces. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, too.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

Angelo M. Codevilla is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace(Hoover Institution Press, 2014).

Also see:

VIDEO: Green Beret Subjects Himself to Waterboarding to Support Trump CIA Nominee Gina Haspel

Breitbart, by Katherine Rodriguez, May 14, 2018:

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and Green Beret Tim Kennedy posted a live-streamed video of himself being waterboarded on Saturday in support of President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, claiming that the controversial interrogation tactic is not torture.

Kennedy said in the 41-minute video posted to Facebook that he pulled this stunt to show that CIA nominee Gina Haspel has been unfairly criticized for overseeing a CIA black site where “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used on terrorist detainees shortly after 9/11.

The video showed the former UFC fighter’s towel-covered face being doused with water from a hose.

After the experience, the Green Beret wrote a caption explaining his “waterboarding” experience.

“We did this yesterday for almost 45 minutes. The average pour was anywhere from 10 to 60. They wouldn’t tell me when they were going to put the towel on. They would just smash it on my face and start pouring. You can’t hold your breath while they do it because the water runs down your sinuses,” Kennedy wrote. “The water runs through your eyes, down your nose and pools at the back of your throat. It was a baptism in freedom. It’s not torture! Hell we had elk tacos and wine afterwards. Wake up people.”

Kennedy claimed waterboarding is uncomfortable but not torture.

“If I can change one person’s mind about what torture is and what I would do to protect American freedom, I will do this for years,” he said.

Not everybody agreed with Kennedy. Counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance wrote on Twitter that Kennedy’s technique is “wrong” and there is more to waterboarding than pouring water on someone’s towel-covered face:

During her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearings on Wednesday, Haspel pledged not to restart the CIA’s controversial interrogations program if selected as CIA director.

“Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, on my watch, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program,” Haspel said at the hearing.

Trump has backed his decision to nominate Haspel despite concerns from Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate. The president tweeted last week that his “highly respected nominee” has been criticized for “being too tough on terrorists.”

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This analysis is very interesting. (h/t Vlad Tepes)

Also see:

Mr. Mitchell, a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor, is the author of “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America”

New York Cedes Ground in the Fight Against Terrorism

by Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
March 7, 2017

Capitulation in a time of conflict is demoralizing to the rank and file charged with protecting the community they serve. This appears to be the case in the latest legal go round between the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Muslim activist groups.

U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr, is about to accept an agreement that will hand over control of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division investigations to a civilian monitor appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is the same mayor who loudly cheered President Obama’s last-minute commutation of FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who will be freed in May. De Blasio extolled the works of a man whose organization was responsible for more than 100 bombings, many in New York City, including one that killed four innocent people.

To understand the impact that this proposed settlement, between the NYPD, and the activist organization known as the Muslim Advocates will have on existing counter terrorism measures, we have to understand how vitally important is the issue of protecting cities against attacks by radical Islamist terrorists. The activist groups claim that the police department unfairly singled out Muslim communities in the greater New York/New Jersey area for investigation and surveillance. They also claim that gathering specific information about the neighborhoods amounted to unprecedented “profiling.” They point to a little known NYPD unit that collected the data and accuse it of spying.

Their argument belies the fact that collecting demographic statistics has been used for years by the U.S. Census Bureau to map out trends and changes in neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have used this practice for decades to investigate criminal organizations such as the Mafia, or Columbian drug cartels. The normal investigative process would include forensic examination of the communities most likely to be victimized by criminal organizations. The FBI did not set up surveillance in Chinatown when taking down the Cosa Nostra. They went to Little Italy.

Radical Islamist organizations have in the past infiltrated Muslim neighborhoods in the United States and exerted harmful influence on those communities.

For example, in 1990 a little known Islamic cleric named Omar Abdel Rahman came to live in the greater New York area. He visited mosques in Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City and elsewhere, and before long forced out any clergy who were not in line with his radical ideology.

In Brooklyn’s Al Farooq mosque on Atlantic Avenue, where Mustafa Shalabi served as a treasurer, an argument occurred over how the money should be spent. Shalabi was found murdered in his Coney Island apartment not long after that fight. Another of the mosque’s clerics, a Sudanese imam named Zakaria Gasmalla, was forced out and moved his entire family to the Buffalo area to escape the pressure from Abdel Rahman and his followers. The Blind Sheik and his followers continued to use Muslim communities to raise money for their plots, to hide weapons, and to build the truck bomb that was placed in the garage of the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993. Six people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the resulting explosion.

The first soldiers in the jihad against America lived within the Muslim neighborhoods in the New York/New Jersey community.

In 2000, two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, settled into an apartment in a San Diego neighborhood near the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque. There Anwar al Awlaki, a young Islamic clergyman, welcomed them. Today we know the American-born Awlaki as one of al-Qaida’s most influential preachers and most effective radicalizers and recruiters.

Terrorists will seek out the neighborhoods where they feel most at home, a place where they can use the community to their advantage. Members of the Ribat mosque provided both transportation and language education skills to the two terrorists not knowing their true objective.

Minneapolis’ Cedar Riverside neighborhood has been dubbed “Little Mogadishu” because of it large Somali population. It is a community that has seen more than 50 of its members go overseas to join the Islamist terrorist organization Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab preyed on second generation immigrants who felt a disconnect between American society and their ancestral home. To stem the tide of continued recruitment by radical Islamist terrorists like Al Shabaab, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force successfully focused its investigation on the Muslim community in the greater Minneapolis area.

On the other hand, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to portray law enforcement as sinister characters sneaking through neighborhoods in trench coats looking to do harm to the community. One chapter urged community members to “Build a Wall of Resistance” and not cooperate with investigators in ongoing terrorist investigations. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thankfully, many members of Minneapolis’ Somali community rejected this approach.

To blindly think that neighborhoods are somehow immune from the nefarious tactics used by either criminal or terrorist organization is to cede ground to those who would do us harm. Police departments exist to protect and serve communities and one of those tools most helpful is knowing the makeup of each neighborhood they patrol. Turning that responsibility over to a terrorist-friendly mayor will only handcuff police with the ambiguity of political correctness and lead to greater harm.

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.

Trump Must Up The Ante On Russian Subversion In America

Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe into Hillary Clinton's allegations of Russian subversion. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe into Hillary Clinton’s allegations of Russian subversion. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Forbes, by J. Michael Waller, January 4, 2017:

The real scandal about Russian subversion of the American political process is that the nation’s leadership has known about it for years and done nothing.

Now is the time to put an end to it.

Candidate Hillary Clinton uncharacteristically decried “Russian subversion” during the campaign. She called opponent Donald Trump a “puppet” of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. In so doing, the Clinton team unleashed a wave of unsubstantiated accusations—about which the intelligence community remains divided—that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. This has morphed into a widespread misperception that the Russians “hacked” the election itself.

Clinton’s allegations of Russian subversion must undergo the most rigorous investigation. Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe.

But limiting the scope of “Russian subversion” to the 2016 campaign is a trap. Trump must raise the ante. He must broaden any investigation to cover all foreign subversion of American politics and policies. It’s time to drain the fetid swamp of foreign espionage, subversion and corruption aimed at compromising decision-makers in Washington.

Congress must do the same. For almost 60 years after our involvement in World War I, Congress had bipartisan, standing committees and subcommittees to investigate foreign-sponsored subversion that manipulated or undermined our democracy. Congress shut them down in the 1970s and never replaced them. Occasionally a congressional panel would hold hearings about “active measures,” as the Soviets called their political warfare technique, welcoming classified and unclassified testimony from the FBI and CIA and an occasional outside expert, but generally Congress pretended not to see the problem and surrendered its investigative role to the intelligence community. Private-sector support for continued research and reporting practically dried up.

Documentation and testimony from those old congressional hearings and reports, defector accounts and internal Soviet documents unearthed over the past 25 years show that the Kremlin tried to influence or manipulate the American political process in every presidential election from 1924 to 1952, and from 1968 to 1988. It did so by directly and indirectly funding American political and policy groups amid relentless active measures, campaigns and espionage offensives.

Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference for the launch of a campaign calling for President Obama to pardon him on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference for the launch of a campaign calling for President Obama to pardon him on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The nation can come to no conclusive understanding of whether or how Moscow tried to manipulate the recent elections—and decades of foreign and defense policy—unless it re-learns the bigger picture and historical context.

By expanding the investigative focus, we can learn from cases like the FBI’s Operation Ghost Stories, a brilliant, decade-long effort that broke up a network of deep-cover Russian spies in 2010. The agents’ assignment was to get close to influential American academic, business and political figures. Mostly under false identities, the agents lived as normal-looking Americans. Russian tradecraft terms them “illegals” because they went without diplomatic protection. The network of 11 known illegals operated primarily in the Boston-New York-Washington, D.C. corridor, with the heaviest concentration in New York City.

One of the Russian spies, federal prosecutors said, worked as a financial advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign chairman of then-senator Hillary Clinton. Another was connected to a New York-based confidant of an unnamed “cabinet member” in 2009 whose identity, though redacted from declassified Justice Department documents, was understood to be then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The purpose of the massive intelligence operation may not have been only to steal secrets. Like some of Moscow’s most successful human intelligence coups, a purpose may have been to subvert American decision-making at crucial times.

When the FBI wrapped up the network on June 27, 2010, after one of the illegals escaped, Clinton moved with unusual speed over an extended Independence Day weekend to whisk the remaining ten spies back to Russia. On July 9, a Friday, the U.S. swapped them in Vienna, Austria for four Russians who had been convicted of spying for the United States.

Clinton’s office pooh-poohed the magnitude of the Russian illegals operation. “There is no reason to believe that the secretary of state was a special target of this spy ring,” Clinton spokesman P.J. Crowley said at the time.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the outspoken New York Democrat whose job on the Judiciary Committee is to oversee U.S. counterintelligence, also showed little concern. He expressed no interest in doing a damage assessment of Russian penetration, whether of America itself or the political machine in his home state. Few in the Republican-controlled Congress made much an issue of either the spying or Clinton’s cavalier attitude toward it. Everyone seemed to forget about the matter. It didn’t come up in the 2016 campaign.

Operation Ghost Stories and other cases help us understand the foreign subversion threat. Congress and the executive branch must spare no effort to get to the bottom of hacking American institutions and subverting or manipulating our politicians. But the recent proposal of Senators Schumer and John McCain (R-AZ) to restrict the investigation to this election’s campaign-related cyber espionage won’t safeguard the nation’s interests. Investigations need to go broad and deep. Both houses of Congress should create new, bipartisan standing committees to investigate, hold hearings and report on all foreign subversion in the U.S.—not only from Russia but from any foreign individual, government or movement. Such a call should elicit widespread resistance from special interests dependent on foreign sources of cash, which is exactly the point.

As part of making America great again, the Trump administration must smack down foreign covert political warfare once and for all. It should instruct the entire intelligence community to prepare a definitive annual National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, to reach the most accurate professional consensus on the scope and cumulative effects of foreign subversion of the United States and its allies. The NIE timeframe should begin at least as far back as the longest-serving federal official has been in office. Separately, Trump should assemble an interagency task force to develop a strategy to identify, monitor and neutralize foreign propaganda, political warfare and subversion from any source. A special hybridized team should provide the president with effective strategies and methods of deterrence and retaliation.

Trump should handle America’s foreign adversaries the way he treats some of his personal opponents: through the specter or acts of exposure, humiliation and destruction. This is where Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and others are especially vulnerable. An easy, off-the-shelf tool is the Magnitsky Act, which the U.S. has used to put the financial squeeze on individual figures close to the Kremlin. The best way to check against foreign misbehavior is to squeeze the ruling inner circles financially. That will make powerful oligarchs pay high personal prices for their regimes’ meddling in American internal affairs, and incentivize them to pressure their leaders to become more accommodating to the new American leadership.

U.S. Intel is Fighting Blind Against ISIS

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AIM, by Pete Hoekstra, November 10, 2016:

Gathering intelligence about the plans, intentions, and capabilities of one’s enemies has always been difficult. The United States has always committed to do exactly that. The financial investment has been tremendous.

The U.S. ability to utilize breathtaking tools to steal and manipulate electronic communications and data, as well as operating in the cyber world has proven effective. Spy satellites have unbelievable methods to penetrate enemies’ defenses, and to be able to see the unseeable.

The intelligence community now trains skilled professionals to “connect the dots” from these divergent data sources. These are remarkable capabilities of modern technology and human analysis that is being implemented by the U.S. to keep its citizens safe, but there is a massive gap.

Throughout time there has always been one indispensible tool of espionage – the human spy (also known as HUMINT, or human intelligence). History has proven time and again that human intelligence is the focal point of great intelligence. It is dangerous and risky, yet fundamental to a successful integrated intelligence effort.

In Iraq, the lack of substantial human intelligence resulted in the mistake of assessing that Iraq had acquired weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) had presented a compelling case. Human intelligence was almost non-existent. The result, a wrong conclusion based on partial information.

It is crucial to note that spy networks take years to validate and develop. It is not something you can easily turn on and off. As the United States now enters the next phase of the war against ISIS, it’s time to rebuild our HUMINT capabilities, to be our eyes and ears in the Middle East and Africa.

Any objective analysis of today’s HUMINT capabilities will indicate that the U.S. is almost blind against the Islamic State.

President Bill Clinton’s decision to reduce reliance on HUMINT in the 1990’s because of the inherent risk has left analysts forced to analyze situations with limited information. The 1990’s action left us weakened but not blind.

More recently, severe errors were made. Egypt and Libya were two countries that provided the U.S. with extensive HUMINT capabilities. Egypt and Libya have now been marginalized as sources. The U.S. support for overthrowing Mubarak in Egypt has limited cooperation since then, and has resulted in Egypt growing closer to Russia. Correspondingly, HUMINT assistance was eliminated in Libya. When the U.S. overthrew Gaddafi they also destroyed Libya’s HUMINT network that had been of substantial help.

Other U.S. “allies” in the region are currently being called into question. Can the U.S. rely on obtaining substantial intelligence from states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are known for supporting the Islamic State? Are there any other options for the U.S.?

Turkey constantly disagrees with U.S. policy vis-a-vis the Kurds. Their inability to back the 2003 war in Iraq signals their limited reliability and cooperation in defeating ISIS today.

Support from Iraq proves improbable that the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad, a proxy for Iran, will not afford the U.S. much help.

Syria is now a failed state.

The bottom line is, after being involved in a decades-long war against radical jihadists, America has lost almost all of its HUMINT capabilities in the region. The only real and reliable allies in the region today are Israel and Jordan.

After losing capabilities in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, recognizing the limitations and reliability of Saudi Arabia and Qatar due to their ties to ISIS, and the complex and arduous relationships that the U.S. has with Turkey and Iraq, the outlook is grave.

Those who know and understand the ominous threat of ISIS are the countries in that region. Today they are not aligned to provide the HUMINT that America needs to keep the country safe.

The next president will make decisions on how to confront, contain, and ultimately defeat ISIS with one hand behind their back. They will not have the one profound asset, human intelligence, which will help the President of the United States eradicate ISIS and other jihadist groups from the world.

Our next President will be forced to make tactical and strategic decisions with limited insights into the threat.

The decisions in the 1990s by President Bill Clinton and the actions by the Obama Administration will handicap future Presidents because of the destruction of almost all HUMINT in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

It will be important for the next President and the American people to know of the limited resources and information that will be available as decisions are made. The loss of HUMINT will practically guarantee that more “mistakes” will be made.

Pete Hoekstra represented Michigan for 18 years in Congress, including as chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He currently serves as the Shillman senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and is the author of “Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.”