On Thursday morning, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the declassified whistle-blower complaint against the president of the United States, and millions of national-security experts suddenly tweeted out in terror. The substance of the memorandum is deeply troubling. At the same time, a vocal segment of social media reacted just as viscerally to the violations of processes it detailed.
I spent 10 years at the Pentagon and the National Security Council. Foreign-policy veterans are particular about the execution of our craft, believing there is a way things are done and all else is simply wrong.
Trump has offended our sense of propriety, betraying little evidence that our professional rulebook confines him, or that he’s even aware of it. We cling to the processes we execute because they have worked for us, because they seem derivative of the rule of law, and because it’s easier than questioning them. But examine them closely, and they look different: a practical manifestation of norms and values.