Michael Anton, who served in the U.S. National Security Council under former President Donald Trump, said national security agencies were ineffective on the world stage and posed a threat domestically during a Tuesday speech at the National Conservatism conference in Miami, Florida.
Conservatives are critical of federal agencies, particularly those focused on domestic affairs such as the Environmental Protection Agency, but tend to have a more positive view of agencies involved in national security and defense, according to Anton. He said this needed to change and advocated for an overhaul of agencies including breaking up the CIA and possibly abolishing the FBI.
“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 argued that conservatives should be more skeptical of what he called the “security state,” meaning federal agencies involved in national security, because they fail in their mission to keep Americans safe, promote foreign intervention and have been weaponized against the American people.
“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.”
Anton said security agencies such as the CIA and the FBI were being weaponized against Americans. He said these agencies have in some cases lived up to their goals and prevented attacks, but that their pro-intervention policy recommendations resulted in the U.S. wasting resources in the Middle East during the 20 years after the 9/11 attacks and continue to do so as the U.S. pours money into Ukraine’s national defense.