Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley has finally weighed in himself on the bombshell report that he had contact with the Chinese and told his counterpart there that he would give them a heads-up if we were planning on attacking them.
It’s an incredible story to believe that anyone would say something like that. The big problem? Milley’s spokesperson — who issued a statement — while trying justify the contacts didn’t deny what the report said about giving the Chinese a heads-up.
Now, in Milley’s own comments, he also fails to deny that basic allegation.
The top U.S. military officer said Friday that calls he made to his Chinese counterpart in the final stormy months of Donald Trump’s presidency were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his job.
In his first public comments on the conversations, Gen. Mark Milley said such calls are “routine” and were done “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to The Associated Press and another reporter traveling with him to Europe.
Notice he simply says his calls were “routine,” he doesn’t deny making the comment. He has no ability to make any operational decisions or any foreign policy decisions. Yet, he did both, if the allegation is true. And he doesn’t deny it. Perhaps what is as concerning is his spokesperson admitted he had many conversations with the the Chinese and the the Russians. How many were off the reservation, pushing his own political agenda?
This is incredibly problematic as I previously noted, for a lot of reasons including that it emboldens the Chinese. It may explain in part, China’s greater belligerence under Joe Biden — including straight-out threatening to take over Taiwan as well as threatening us, saying they would be sailing into our waters soon. Biden’s response? He went on a long weekend to the beach.
Milley was obviously not authorized by President Donald Trump. Former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who was in office for Milley’s second call on Jan. 8, said he did not authorize it, calling it a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination,” and saying he should resign if it was true.
Now both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that they were not aware of any intelligence when they were in office that suggested the Chinese believed that the U.S. was going to attack.
The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that there was no way that Milley would have been authorized to make such comments to the Chinese at that time and he never shared such contacts with the Chinese as his spokesperson claimed.
“Again, to be clear, the idea that we would have been we would have been giving reassurance to China about our conduct at a point where we were concerned about China’s interference in our election and again this first phone call was reported to have taken place on October 30th, 2020, five days before a presidential election, that simply didn’t happen,” Ratcliffe said.
“I mean, the phone call may have happened, but the idea that that was coordinated and shared — and again, I was the head of the intelligence community, Sean — it would have prompted a very specific course of action involving both General Milley and President Trump, because I frankly would have found it to be shocking and inappropriate and frankly unconstitutional.
“And you’ve now heard the acting secretary of defense, you know, weigh in on this as well and say that, you know, simply there was no order or authority for this as well.”
So bottom line? If Milley made those comments they weren’t within his power to make; they wouldn’t have been justified in any way. There was no threat from Trump. But there is now a big problem with Milley because, if true, he’s willing to go rogue like this and act unconstitutionally, going around the president, a scary proposition.