Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 11, 2019 3 min read

I've been thinking about what I or any of us can say on 9/11. I remember where I was—but we all do. I think often about how it changed us—but we all do.

What's begun to flag is our post-9/11 sense that government incompetence can endanger us. It still can—and more should say so.

1/ The President of the United States is a national security threat. Not because he's a Russian "spy" or "asset"—two things I do not believe—but because he acts with his own, not America's, interests at heart. Always. And that is *staggeringly* dangerous.

And more should say so.

2/ Every day Trump endangers us. Posting classified satellite photos. Needlessly enraging the Taliban. Coddling Kim Jong Un with "love letters." Sharing classified intelligence with foreigners in the Oval Office. Attacking our intelligence agencies.

He endangers us *every day*.

3/ After 9/11, we spent a lot of time looking at intelligence breakdowns. We've forgotten those lessons. Now we let Trump ruthlessly attack our intelligence agencies—that is, when he's not ignorning them—and there deliberately provoke them to be even more tribalist and secretive.

4/ After 9/11, we deeply considered how government officials process or manipulate intelligence—and how it leads to mass casualty events. Now we have a president who literally manipulates intelligence in public—remember "Dorian in Alabama" and the Sharpie—and it doesn't scare us.

5/ After 9/11, we were reminded that national security needs to be approached in a bipartisan way, lest we lose our sense of America as a nation of fellow travelers. Now Trump says that Democrats hate America, and attacks our friends and comforts our enemies abroad, and we shrug.

6/ I can't think of a single post-9/11 lesson that's stuck—in government or the populace at large. That Trump endangers national security daily is somehow beneath notice, now, though you can be sure that if it leads to a mass casualty event we'll all be like, "Uh, what happened?"

7/ The lesson post-9/11 was NEVER have a government unprepared to deal with foreign threats. Well, we HAVE one.

The lesson was NEVER have our intel agencies feel so self-protective they won't communicate with one another.

Well, we DO have that—because Trump attacks them daily.

8/ And entire party once known for prizing national security—the Republican Party—now has no interest in the subject whatsoever, and in fact wants our intelligence officials imprisoned for investigating foreign threats. How can we not talk about *that* on the anniversary of 9/11?

9/ The first major sign of Trump's NatSec team being woefully understaffed, mismanaged, and incompetent; of his foreign policy being bought and paid for; of his priority being himself, won't be a long book/article, it'll be our brave soldiers (or even civilians) dying needlessly.

10/ On the anniversary of 9/11, I'd like to say that we could have a safer nation, a more stable government, leaders who live by their oaths, a foreign policy that guards America's interests... but we don't. We don't because half the country doesn't give a sh*t about any of that.

UPSHOT/ I hope we all spend time today considering what 9/11 meant to us, our families, our communities, our government, our nation. And I hope we all reflect on whether the government—the people and policies—we now support is doing *anything* to keep us safe from another attack.

PS/ Apologies for the typos ("there" for "thereby"; "and" for "an"); it seems I hadn't gotten sufficiently through my coffee before I began typing. I hope folks understand that—typos notwithstanding—my thoughts today are deadly serious, and far darker than they should have to be.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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