(America lost a true hero last week when Rich Higgins died, but his passing was little noted because the mainstream media was his sworn enemy. His 2017 memo warning President Trump about the plot against him got Higgins fired from the National Security Council and provided the rest of us a clear blueprint of how to fight back. Here’s my column coming out in Real Clear Politics tomorrow.)
Eulogy for a Bureaucrat With a Conscience
By Frank Miele
“When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” —Robert Bolt, “A Man for All Seasons”
Sir Thomas More’s pronouncement above correctly states the danger to a nation when our leaders don’t follow their conscience, but it is silent on the danger when men of conscience such as More are themselves silenced.
A statesman died last week who did not sacrifice his conscience, and paid a price for it. His death, so far as I know, had nothing to do with his conscience, but his firing from his public duties had everything to do with it. And because he was removed instead of rewarded, the nation did edge toward chaos.
In July 2017, Rich Higgins was unceremoniously dismissed from his job at the National Security Council, forced to resign as the result of a seven-page memo he wrote describing an internal and external threat to Donald Trump’s presidency.
“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” he wrote. “It must be recognized on its own terms so that immediate action can be taken. At its core, these campaigns run on multiple lines of effort, serve as the non-violent line of effort of a wider movement, and execute political warfare agendas that reflect cultural Marxist outcomes.”
Higgins went on to outline how the media, academia, the Deep State, global corporatists and bankers, Democratic leadership and Republican leadership would all benefit from the destruction of Trump’s presidency. He also concluded that all those institutions used political correctness as a tool to achieve their political ends.
Little did Higgins know that he would become the next target of the destructive anti-Trump campaign. Ironically it was Higgins’ own rejection of political correctness that gave Trump’s enemies an opening to paint him as a fringe conspiracy advocate. That’s because Higgins not only saw the hand of communists behind the attacks on Trump, but also Islamists. As Trump himself learned when he tried to institute a ban on travel from Islamic countries that harbored terrorist organizations, the ruling elites refuse to acknowledge any threat to the United States from the religion that spawned al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and Hezbollah.
So Higgins, an Army veteran who had served in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations in the Pentagon during the long occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, had to go. At the time of his dismissal, he was the NSC’s director for strategic planning and had a thorough understanding of the geopolitics of the Middle East as well as a deep knowledge of Maoism, cultural Marxism, and the methodologies of propaganda.
He was, in other words, a mid-level bureaucrat whose name you would not be expected to know and yet who probably understood the workings of the so-called “intelligence community” as well as anyone.
That’s why his warning to Trump titled “POTUS & Political Warfare” was so invaluable and why his boss, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, was in such a hurry to show him the door. Higgins, following his conscience, had explained in plain language the “withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the President.” McMaster, as we came to understand later, was a key player in those campaigns.
Unfortunately, President Trump did not fight to protect Higgins, who was escorted out of the building by security just as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was three years later after he led a campaign to impeach Trump. Ironically, as Higgins noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2020, “in contrast to Lt. Col. Vindman, I lost my job because I was loyal to the president.”
Perhaps an even more exact counterpart to Higgins than Vindman is Miles Taylor, the Homeland Security official who used his inside knowledge to write an anonymous op-ed for the New York Times in 2018 that characterized Trump as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” Taylor (under the cloak of anonymity at the time) “vowed to thwart parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations.” In other words, he was one of those “individuals and groups seeking the destruction of President Trump” who Higgins warned about because they “actually seek to suffocate the vision of America that made him president.”
In that regard, Taylor represented the vast majority of the federal bureaucracy, most of them Democrats, almost all certainly liberal in outlook, and completely out of sync with Trump’s “America First” priorities. Under the designation of the Deep State, these bureaucrats had worked tirelessly to sabotage Trump’s policies and to undermine him personally. There is no need to rehash the uncritical role of politicized intelligence community operatives in inventing and spreading the Russia Collusion Hoax – or their role in convincing the public that Hunter Biden’s laptop full of incriminating documents, videos, and emails had somehow been invented by the Russians to help Trump. When the mainstream media refused to investigate the laptop and its confessions of corruption in the Biden family, it helped secure victory for Joe Biden and defeat for Trump.
In hindsight, everything Higgins wrote has the sanction of experience. Just six months in, the Trump administration was already being hamstrung. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been forced out. Chief strategist Steve Bannon was soon to follow. The “attack narratives” that Higgins wrote about were in full swing. Two impeachments would follow.
In his memo, Higgins cautioned that “… the White House response to these campaigns … is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat.” For many on the right, that remained frustratingly true throughout Trump’s presidency.
Higgins concluded that “If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.”
It is only by sheer persistence that Trump avoided that fate, and as Higgins noted, “Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that led to his election.”
That battle against the people, against the Deplorables, did not end with the departure of President Trump from the White House. In fact, it has intensified. Higgins, who died Wednesday due to complications from an earlier bout of COVID-19, will not be able to carry on the fight against the cultural Marxists who want to tear down America, but we are fortunate he left us with a clear understanding of what we are up against – and how to fight back.
His cry of conscience has earned him the title of American hero.
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Heartland Diary is solely operated by Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will SUBSCRIBE to www.HeartlandDiaryUSA.com by leaving your email address on the home page. Twitter and Facebook may ban me at any time. Also please consider purchasing one of my books. They are available through the following Amazon links. My new book is “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends” and is a collection of personal essays that transcend politics. My earlier books include “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution,” “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” and the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website.