Earlier this month, Fox News lost one of its most prominent and respected national security analysts, and now he’s published an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining exactly why he left in protest.
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Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and veteran of multiple government offices dealing with foreign affairs and intelligence. He’s also an accomplished author and an expert on Russia.
For the last several years, he’s been a national security talking head for the cable news giant, one known for his reliably conservative opinions and blistering takes aimed at President Obama’s foreign policy.
As celebrated as he was for his reliable attacks on Obama, his opinions of President Trump haven’t gone over as well with the Fox News crowd, and Peters constantly found himself at odds with the network’s religiously pro-Trump hosts like Sean Hannity.
So he quit. On his way out the door, he sent an email to his colleagues at Fox that leaked to the press, and it began with this missive: “Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer, and I swore to ‘support and defend the Constitution.’ That oath did not expire when I took off my uniform.”
He went on to excoriate Fox as a “propaganda machine” that’s out to defend Trump at all costs, even to the point of disparaging our own government, including the FBI and the intelligence community.
“Trump idolaters and the merrily hypocritical prime-time hosts are destroying the network,” he claimed.
In today’s Washington Post, he could have walked back some of those positions and criticisms, but he didn’t. Far from it. Instead, he double downed on the claims made in the email and expanded on the themes outlined in it.
If you’re a Trump supporter who believes Fox News to be a fair arbiter of the president, you may want to stop reading now.
“You could measure the decline of Fox News by the drop in the quality of guests waiting in the green room,” he began. “A year and a half ago, you might have heard George Will discussing policy with a senator while a former Cabinet member listened in.”
“Today,” he continued, “you would meet a Republican commissar with a steakhouse waistline and an eager young woman wearing too little fabric and too much makeup, immersed in memorizing her talking points.”
“This wasn’t a case of the rats leaving a sinking ship. The best sailors were driven overboard by the rodents,” he said.
Peters went to great lengths to highlight both his impeccable military credentials and his extensive experience as an expert on Russia and the intelligence community overall. He also reminded readers that he’s no liberal Trump-hater. His issues with the president and his enablers at his former network, therefore, cannot be dismissed as fake news or partisan aspersions.
Still, with the biggest national security scandal involving Russia since the Cold War, Fox decided to bench Peters when they realized that he wouldn’t toe the party line and join the network’s all-out assault on the so-called “deep state.”
“I increasingly was blocked from speaking on the issues about which I could offer real expertise: Russian affairs and our intelligence community,” he writes. “I could only rarely and briefly comment on the paramount security question of our time: whether Putin and his security services ensnared the man who would become our president.”
“Trump’s behavior patterns and evident weaknesses (financial entanglements, lack of self-control and sense of sexual entitlement) would have made him an ideal blackmail target,” he adds, “and the Russian security apparatus plays a long game.”
Fox viewers were denied that perspective from someone whom everyone considers an expert, in favor of Tomi Lahren’s musings.
Finally, Colonel Peters dropped a nuke on Fox’s credibility regarding the Trump-Russia scandal, exposing their entire coverage as the cover-up it really is.
“Listening to political hacks with no knowledge of things Russian tell the vast Fox audience that the special counsel’s investigation was a ‘witch hunt,’ while I could not respond, became too much to bear. There is indeed a witch hunt, and it’s led by Fox against Robert Mueller.”
Welcome to the resistance, Lieutenant Colonel Peters.