PHILADELPHIA––On Wednesday, Leon Panetta, the former director of the CIA, declared on stage at the DNC that the Republican Party’s nominee is unfit for office. He was responding in part to news that Donald Trump “hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyber-espionage against a former secretary of state.”
For Panetta, that was unforgivable.
“Donald Trump today once again took Russia’s side,” he said. “He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics … It is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible. I say this out of a firm concern for the future of my children and my grandchildren: Donald Trump cannot become our commander in chief. In an unstable world we cannot afford unstable leadership.”
His outrage is understandable––once again, Donald Trump showed that he lacks the judgement and self-discipline necessary to be a good president of the United States.
But Panetta is rather late in foreseeing the possibility of such a leader.
A few short years ago, when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance on American citizens, corporations, and other institutions, NSA defenders insisted that the national security establishment can be trusted, and that civil libertarians were overly paranoid to worry that unprincipled elites would, sooner or later, exploit the era of mass surveillance to manipulate the political process.