In a recent speech at the National Conservatism conference in Miami, Florida, Michael Anton, a former member of the U.S. National Security Council under ex-President Donald Trump, claimed that national security organizations were ineffective and a domestic threat.
Conservatives are well-known for their criticism of federal agencies. This is especially the case with agencies such as the Environment Protection Agency. When it comes to those involved in defense and national security, the views are a bit more positive, according to Anton. He emphasized that this needed to change and spoke about an overhaul of agencies. He claimed that the CIA should be broken up and that FBI should be abolished.
“I think we need to have a serious national debate: Do we need a federal law enforcement agency? It’s not clear to me that we do,” he said. “State law enforcement agencies can do most of the legitimate functions of the FBI. If we conclude that we do need an FBI, then it has to be purged … the people who are responsible for so much of the nastiness of the last five or six years have got to be punished, and then the FBI needs to be refocused on law enforcement only, specifically those things that states can’t handle very well.”
He made the argument that conservatives ought to be more wary of what he called the “security state,” which he defined as federal organizations charged with maintaining national security. He claimed that these organizations fail in their duty to protect Americans, encourage foreign intervention, and have been weaponized against people, said the Daily Caller.
“The FBI is the only agency is the national security bureaucracy that’s allowed to do counter intel operations on U.S. soil. It does it very badly and it tends to use those powers against Americans, so let’s just get rid of it.”
Security organizations like the CIA and FBI, according to Anton, are being used as weapons against Americans. He claimed that while these organizations have occasionally achieved their objectives and prevented attacks, their pro-intervention recommendations caused the United States to waste resources in the Middle East in the 20 years following the 9/11 attacks and have continued to do so even as it invests heavily in Ukraine’s national defense.
“We spent 20 years in the Middle East essentially and we have nothing to show for it. We lost trillions of dollars and something like 7,000 American lives. Nobody can count the number of lives lost by Iraqi civilians, Afghan civilians and so on. The national security state wanted this,” Anton said. “When pressured on this, they will try to explain to you that this is all very important … the entire world is a vital national interest; we have to be involved everywhere, and if we aren’t the world will collapse and the United States will collapse with it.”
He expressed worry about the executive branch’s failure to effectively manage the nation’s security agencies and the lack of accountability.
“On a flow chart, it looks like the president is their boss. In real life, the president has limited power to tell them what to do. In real life, they’re run on a kind of consensus,” he concluded.