By Spencer Collier
Over the last few weeks, as President-elect Donald Trump fills out his cabinet, I have been thinking about a number of important issues close to my heart.
As an Alabamian and former law enforcement officer, I cannot help but be proud that US Senator Jeff Sessions was tapped by President-elect Trump, to serve as the highest law enforcement officer in the land, as US Attorney General. Having served our State in several positions that interacted directly with federal agencies on intelligence issues, I wanted to also share my thoughts on a few appointments that will affect us here at home and on the world’s stage.
The selection of Senator Sessions is a home run by President-elect Trump. As someone who knows him and has worked with his office, as a State Legislator, Alabama’s third Homeland Security Director and its First Secretary of Law Enforcement, selecting Senator Sessions is a walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth. There is real excitement within the law enforcement community where Sessions is a Rock Star.
Governor Robert Bentley is set to chose Senator Sessions’ replacement and that should scare the Hell out of every man and woman who wears a badge. Bentley’s disregard for the law and his contemptible use of law enforcement as a political tool is frightening in a free society.
Let’s hope (and I firmly believe) that the Special Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Office is watching closely. Perhaps someone should remind the good Governor that the former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, was sent to prison for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated when Barack Obama became President. This is a big enchilada for Bentley, and it would appear that he will swoon at the smallest handful of gummy bears flashed in his face.
As for my next thought as I write, things in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition process will have changed several times. The current argument in the Republican Party, nationally, seems to be split pretty evenly between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney as the next Secretary of State.
Part of my reason for this writing this is to help settle the argument as to where Giuliani and Romney should land in a Trump Administration. In all fairness, I hope Romney misses the call completely, but that’s just my opinion. Most Americans do not realize that there are currently 17 military and national intelligence agencies actively involved in the intelligence business.
From a law enforcement standpoint, the FBI takes the lead on all things that smell like terrorism and they do a really great job. However, from there it’s a who’s on first within the national intelligence community, and all 50 states have at least one Homeland Security Advisor. When you add to this fact, that most major cities have some a national security intelligence unit, or at a minimum, an FBI-led joint terrorism task force, from a national security standpoint, is a well-intentioned tangled web of alphabet soup.
One of the greatest takeaways from the 9/11 Report was a chastisement on not properly sharing intelligence between agencies and then with local law enforcement nationally. Another recommendation from the 9/11 Report was an Ombudsman (Director) on Intelligence. The 9/11 Report actually created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to serve as the Chief Intelligence Officer for the nation, whose purpose is to decipher through the “chatter” and make sure military, national security and law enforcement intelligence was gathered and shared where appropriate.
So, who better than “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani to serve as President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence. As a former US Attorney, he understands there are times when classified information has to be shared with local law enforcement. As the Mayor of New York, he oversaw the local response to the worst terrorist attack in American history. He also firmly understands that most disasters, even terrorist events, are locally owned, not just for the first few hours, but often the first few days. He brings a real, immediate national security and intelligence pedigree that I believe US military intelligence and US foreign intelligence services would respect. From the cop on the beat to the highest, the best terrorist event is the one that good intelligence interrupts. Mayor Giuliani just seems to understand law enforcement, national security and intelligence and the convergence of all three.
I know he wants to be US Secretary of State, but as a former cop, with five years experience in the intelligence community, I would love to see Rudy Giuliani as the next Director of National Intelligence.
President-elect Trump hit a homer with Senator Sessions. Now, he has a chance to hit a Grand Slam.
Spencer Collier is a former State Legislator, Alabama’s third Homeland Security Director and its First Secretary of Law Enforcement.