Why Would Trump Republicans Lionize A Disloyal Leaker?
What was once a party that proclaimed its pride in patriotism, military discipline and the defense of national security against all enemies, foreign and domestic, is becoming an engine of insurrection and subversion in the service of hostile foreign powers. In the reaction of leading figures on the Right to the arrest of a young airman for leaking vast stores of secret data, loyal Americans are now witnessing the political degeneration of the Republican Party.
The huge intelligence breach allegedly perpetrated by Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old technical officer at a Massachusetts Air National Guard base, is an extraordinary event — but even more extraordinary is the response of prominent Republican elected officials and media figures. When such an event occurs — damaging U.S. national security and undermining our intelligence capabilities — the normal response across the political spectrum is horror.
But not this time.
Consider the reaction of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who now sits on the Homeland Security committee despite her long record of antisemitic and violent rhetoric thanks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. After Teixeira's arrest she rose to his defense on Twitter, without knowing anything except what she had read in The Washington Post and The New York Times. Which meant she knew that he appeared to be a racist and an antisemite as well as a gun "enthusiast" like her.
"Teixeira is white, male, christian (sic), and antiwar," Greene blurted on Twitter. "That makes him an enemy to the Biden regime." The Georgia extremist went on to suggest that "the real enemy" is President Joe Biden's administration, which she claimed is "waging war in Ukraine... against nuclear Russia" without congressional authorization.
She also claimed that White House officials had targeted Teixeira for revealing "the truth" about "(U.S.) troops being on the ground in Ukraine and a lot more." Donald Trump Jr. echoed Greene on Twitter and went still further, framing Teixeira as "a hero."
On television, Kremlin favorite Tucker Carlson echoed the same themes. Carlson depicted Teixeira as a brave victim, striving to bring the truth about Ukraine to the American people, against the conspirators in the Pentagon, the White House and the rest of the media. According to the Fox host, Teixeira proved that Ukraine's resistance to aggression is actually an unlawful American war against Russia, with our troops engaged in combat — and losing to the Russians.
Both Carlson and Greene are lying as usual. It's easy to tell because despite ferocious fighting across Ukraine since February 2022, not a single U.S. casualty has been reported and not one American soldier has been captured. Roughly a dozen U.S. troops are present at our embassy in Kyiv, but their position is strictly defensive. They haven't fired a shot.
The depiction of Teixeira as a noble truth-teller is just as absurd. The intelligence documents he posted appear to have been altered with a slant against Ukraine. As one of his online buddies told The Washington Post, "I would not call (him) a whistleblower in the slightest."
What matters here is not so much the peddling of such conspiratorial nonsense, which isn't difficult to debunk, but who is behind it and why. With his gun obsession, his attraction to ultra-Right "orthodox Catholicism" and his Nazi-like ranting against Blacks and Jews, Teixeira himself represents a threatening element that needs to be expelled from the military. Intelligence must be protected against fascist infiltrators.
Just as troubling is the attitude represented by Carlson, Greene and their allies in the Republican Party — who seem to bitterly oppose every effort to restore American security against our fascist adversaries, both internally and abroad. Their current eruptions in defense of an indefensible crime are only the latest episode in the ongoing assault on our national security by Republican leaders, from former President Donald Trump down to Greene and her backbench cohort.
When Trump and his stooges urge the "defunding" of the FBI, they are consciously undermining American counter-intelligence capabilities and assisting foreign espionage. To do so knowingly is to skirt the edge of treason.
Of course, not every Republican is implicated in this anti-American scheming. Newly elected Rep. Michael Lawler, R-N.Y., for instance, spoke up immediately against Greene and denounced Teixeira as "an enemy to America" who "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Lawler may still represent the majority in the Grand Old Party, or at least we should hope so. But any Republican still aiming to protect national security and uphold democracy must look hard at the likes of Trump, Greene, Carlson and their gang — whose perfidious behavior inflames the very worst suspicion.
To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Reprinted with permission from Creators.