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Kash Patel Responds to Accusers and Talks Declassifications, Killing Al-Baghdadi, and Exposing Uyghur Genocide

Many of us first learned about the name Kash Patel after reading Lee Smith’s book “The Plot Against the President” or watching the documentary of the same name. Attacks against Patel, by people connected to that plot, have persisted to this day. A former DOJ prosecutor, he was personally recruited by Congressman Devin Nunes to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.

After our previous interview with Kash Patel, we were fascinated by Kash Patel’s story, as someone who held key roles across a large swath of America’s national security apparatus. He led counter-terrorism at the National Security Council, served as the right-hand man to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, and was at one point the presidential aide responsible for the nuclear football.

From hunting down the notorious terrorist Al-Baghdadi to exposing the genocide in Xinjiang, he’s been an important figure in much of Trump-era foreign policy.

Who is this man really? And what is his response to recent anonymous allegations against him, saying he leaked classified information?

Jan Jekielek: Kash Patel, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.

Kash Patel: Thanks so much, Jan, for having me back. Great to be with you.

Mr. Jekielek: Kash, in the last interview, we talked a lot about your work with HPSCI, the House Permanent Select Committee on Investigations, as it’s called. I got a lot of really great feedback from our viewers at the time and I thought we should expand a little bit on your work with the administration subsequently.

Before we do that, there is actually a Washington Post piece that recently came out by David Ignatius, where it’s alleged that you’ve been leaking classified information. I wanted to give you a chance to speak to that.

Mr. Patel: Thanks very much for having me back and allow me to speak on a number of matters. Your audience and your company are fantastic, so I’m happy to be here.

As far as the Washington Post piece from David Ignatius, I’ll say the following: I think it’s the height of hypocrisy and irony that the individual who wrote that piece is the one that intentionally and knowingly published classified information in December of 2016 to instigate the massive Russia hoax.

Fast forward five years later and he writes not an actual news story, but an op-ed in the Washington Post, where he couldn’t even get it published as actual news, that says that I “possibly” may be under investigation for leaking classified information. Anyone in the universe may “possibly” be under investigation for murder. All that allows you to do is allows the fake news media to jump on and say, “Kash Patel’s under investigation.”

If the Department of Justice thinks that’s actually true, then bring it on, because I know the truth. I’ve never leaked classified information in my life. Beyond that, I’m in discussions with my lawyer as to what to do with The Washington Post and we’ll see what he decides.

Mr. Jekielek: You haven’t been approached by Department of Justice officials or FBI officials or anybody up to this point?

Mr. Patel: Nothing. Zero.

Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. Kash, while you were at the National Security Council, and this is something that actually a lot of the people that are very familiar with your work with Congressman Nunes, for example, might not know, is that you actually played a really significant role in exposing what the Chinese regime was doing to the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province. Tell me about this.

Mr. Patel: For me, you would think acts of genocide by a state, by a country, are something that all of the public would want to know, not just Democrats and Republicans. You would think that not just Democrats had the monopoly on being able to investigate and publicize it.

President Trump made it no small story that human atrocities around the world would be investigated by his national security apparatus and if we could shed light on them, we would. I think Xinjiang is the perfect example of where we started that project early on in his administration, and we finished, finally, before we left, with actually publicly stating that genocide had occurred in China, and is occurring.

Mr. Jekielek: What was happening then? Presumably, we’re working with the UN, that would be the obvious multilateral organization.

Mr. Patel: You’re exactly right. The UN is, and probably rightly so, the global mouthpiece for atrocities, humanitarian rights issues, and genocide. We thought we would leverage the United Nations and our allies around the world because you can’t take on China or Russia unilaterally in an issue like this. You need to engage with your allies and show them, this is what’s going on, because there’s so much trade, business, and economic impact when you take on China.

We use the United Nations platform and UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] to deliver that message and raise awareness for the issue, because that’s what you have to do to start. It’s a serious allegation, and then you have to prove it to the world with facts.

Mr. Jekielek: What was the reaction?

Mr. Patel: Unfortunately, it was one of those things where I thought, being relatively new to the multilateral world, that this would get a lot of traction pretty quickly. It got a lot of traction at the United Nations and it got a lot of traction from our allies, but I don’t think the media picked up on it as much as I thought they would have back then and I’m not really sure what the reason for that was.

But we did show with the evidence that we were allowed to publish at the time that China was actually putting Uyghurs in certain encampments, enclosures, and fenced-in tent cities, subjecting them to re-education campaigns and basically performing acts of genocide against that population. I thought that was enough to get going, but it took a little longer than I thought.

Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. I suspect there aren’t a lot of people [who knew] about this bit of your work. I certainly was surprised to learn it when we were talking, and very happy to hear about it. When you stepped into your role as senior director for counterterrorism at the NSC [National Security Council], a significant part of your role was dealing with hostages and most notably in Syria. Tell me what that experience was like.

Mr. Patel: In my prior history before coming to HPSCI, I had a focus on hostage operations both at JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] as a civilian and also at DOJ as a federal prosecutor. So it was nice to come back to that and have President Trump place such an emphasis on returning Americans who are detained abroad or held hostage.

Syria, unfortunately, has a number of Americans that have gone missing within its borders and we made huge efforts to find every American that we had identified that was within those borders, and it was more than just one. We were making strides and we made some headway over the course of the 18 months that we waged that campaign, but unfortunately, as you said, we came up short on that one.

Mr. Jekielek: Tell me about the realities of trying to do that.

Mr. Patel: Syria is ruled by—if you want to talk about genocidal dictators and maniacs, Assad is just that. He takes the money for himself, he commits atrocities against his people, chemical weapons attacks, and the list goes on, not to mention the fact that it’s a home and safe haven for ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and terrorist organizations. It’s pretty much one of the worst places on earth, ruled by one of the worst human beings imaginable.

The bulk of their population though are fantastic people, and that’s the rub. You want to help those individuals out, but it’s very hard to do when there’s such a mix of terrorism, bad leadership, and other interests by other state actors, like Iran and Russia, doing damage to the United States. It’s a very tough environment to lay claim to American interests, especially to a hostage.

Mr. Jekielek: Where did you see hope or even an opening to try to get some of these hostages back, the journalists?

Mr. Patel: Austin Tice was probably one of the most known ones at the time. There are a number of others. I take my marching orders from the commander-in-chief. He said, “Kash, hostage retrieval is one of the biggest priorities for this administration.” So my team sets up the national security apparatus to set that in motion.

Syria is one of those places where we need assistance. We don’t have diplomatic relationships there. We can’t just fly into the country and say, “Hey, what’s going on? Where’s our intel?” It’s a very poor environment for that type of collection. So we forged a relationship with our allies in Lebanon who were able to act as a go-between, between us and the Assad regime.

Over a long time, over the course of 18 months, I told the president and others, “I’ll go to Damascus if it gets our hostages home.” By the end of the administration, I did go, or before it ended. I was the first U.S. official to be in Damascus in a decade. I said, “I want our hostages home. What do you guys want?”

Mr. Jekielek: What did they want?

Mr. Patel: They probably didn’t expect me to show up and their goalpost kept shifting. We want all U.S. troops out, we want diplomatic relations, now we want sanctions relief, now we want the [Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019] sanctions off.

I said, “I’m here as a representative of the White House and I will take all your information back to the national security advisor and the president of the United States. That’s about as short of a game of telephone as you can play. But what I need is a proof of life on the hostages that you have here and I need you to take that message to President Assad.”

I delivered on my end and I believe that they delivered that message to Assad who was probably shocked that everything was on the table for discussion from a U.S. perspective, and they just didn’t know how to react to that.

Mr. Jekielek: You didn’t get proof of life?

Mr. Patel: No.

Mr. Jekielek: Give me a picture of the full gamut of your work as senior director for counterterrorism.

Mr. Patel: As the head of the counterterrorism shop at the NSC, I had anywhere from 12 to 18 individual directors working for me on my team—everything from counterterrorism targets, to sanctions, to hostage rescue, to Iran, to Hezbollah. We run the gamut of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, everything.

You have subject matter experts pulling in the interagency and running the process and aligning it with the President’s priorities, and his were pretty clear. We were responsible for; wipe out Al-Qaeda, kill Al-Qaeda senior leadership, get rid of [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] and ISIS, bring Americans home and cripple them with sanctions when needed. That was the breadth of the work that the CT shop, as we call it, did at the White House.

Mr. Jekielek: OK. And of course, probably the most popularized element of this was al-Baghdadi and what happened. Tell me about this operation?

Mr. Patel: Chasing the world’s number one terrorist is an interagency process where you need your Intel apparatus, your military apparatus, and your offensive operations apparatus, all to come together in one place. That happens at the White House at the National Security Council, where the President made it a priority. It’s a long term project. We built that over the course of years.

We were able to pool the interagency together, to find a location with a sufficient degree of certainty, and to take it to the president and say, “What would you like us to do?” We knew the answer before we even took it to him. But obviously, we have to follow the chain of command. So we did and on October 31, I think it was Halloween of 2019 on a Saturday, I went into the White House.

Mr. Jekielek: What was it that prompted the decision to “takeout al-Baghdadi?”

Mr. Patel: That’s someone who had led ISIS for so long and so many years and was responsible for so many thousands of deaths, and so many countless murders, and so many atrocities committed against just everyday citizens, putting aside the amount of casualties we suffered in the United States military.

Things that began to crystallize were—you think of the four families who have journalists, and the children that were beheaded by the ISIS leader. You think of the Sotloffs, the Foleys, the Kassigs, and Mueller’s. You think of the harm that they did to those kids that went over to do good things for the world on behalf of the United States.

That really hits home. The President took that to heart and we took that to heart. We just felt we owed it to them and the thousands of others to take him out.

Mr. Jekielek: What was the effect of that? Once it happened, how did things change?

Mr. Patel: When you take out someone that has been structurally the head of the world’s biggest terrorist organization, for however many years it was running at that point, you set up an internal scramble for new leadership. You totally dilute the power of that organization, which we did.

President Trump had done that even before we took out al-Baghdadi, because taking out leadership, cutting off the head of the snake is a component of it. But you have to get the individuals that serve under him throughout the world. We were able to successfully target those individuals and take them off the map too, which is part of our role at the White House.

So when you can combine the top and the middle leadership levels to wipe out an organization such as ISIS, you can do it with success. That’s why they were almost entirely defeated.

Mr. Jekielek: Where are things today?

Mr. Patel: With ISIS? Like anything else, in terms of when you have a change in administration, I’m not sure what the policy is specifically towards ISIS, because I haven’t heard one outline. I can’t imagine that any president would say the national security of the United States is not a top priority. I just don’t know the mechanics about how they’re going to do it.

In an organization like ISIS, unfortunately, terrorists have the most patience of any organization or individuals in the world. So they’ll wait. But you can’t allow them to wait and fester and grow. You have to keep going at them. You have to make sure that our allies are helping with the fight.

Mr. Jekielek: Kash, tell me what was it like to lead the counterterrorism efforts at the National Security Council?

Mr. Patel: For me it was, being a counterterrorism national security individual, it was the ultimate job to lead an administration’s counterterrorism policy and strategy. I thought it was the greatest job of my life. I was like—I can’t wait to stay here for years and years, and serve President Trump. But of course, best laid plans—

Mr. Jekielek: You were recruited by Ric Grenell into this role, as the principal deputy to Ric Grenell, when he was acting Director of National Intelligence [DNI]. So wait, you gave up your dream job?

Mr. Patel: When you ask to remain in a post and the individuals you’re asking are the president of the United States and the Director of National Intelligence, you politely acquiesce to their request and move over. But they were kind enough to say, “Just help Ric get set up and get through it, while we get John Ratcliffe confirmed, and then we’ll bring you back in. So it was a great experience for me, and a good way to sort of capstone my time at the NSC with the India trip, and then move on.

Mr. Jekielek: Tell me about the India trip.

Mr. Patel: President Trump decides to go see Prime Minister Modi in India, in the hometown where my family’s from. I’m at the NSC at the time, and the National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien is kind enough to put me on the trip, which I thought was the greatest thing ever. We happened to set that trip up just as I was getting tapped to go over with Ric to be the principal deputy. They were kind enough to let me go on that trip and then officially transition over.

So we fly over there on Air Force One, which I’d never been in, with the president and all the nice pomp and circumstance of a diplomatic adventure. What was really cool was I got to see my parents who spend their winters in India, in my hometown at the stadium where President Trump and Modi spoke on my birthday.

Mr. Jekielek: Incredible.

Mr. Patel: Yes, pretty much like the greatest thing ever.

Mr. Jekielek: What I typically think about when I think about Ric Grenell’s role as acting DNI is the declassification. This is something that we’ve written a lot about at the Epoch Times. Tell me a little bit about that. You did a great many declassifications?

Mr. Patel: One thing that I took from my entire career, be it at DOJ, JSOC, HPSCI, the White House was there are lots of pieces of information that need to be classified, and there’s a good reason for it. But as I learned in my oversight obligations at the House Intel committee, there’s a great deal of information we owe the American public.

There’s a balance that needs to be struck between what can be released without harming national security interest and what shouldn’t be released. I always felt that you could do it knowledgeably, smartly and successfully if you had the right team. We had the right team with Ric Grenell.

Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. The things that come to mind are text messages, the actual depositions that you conducted yourself. Obviously, you were very aware of these.

Mr. Patel: Yes, it was one of those things that just lined up. The 60-some-odd depositions we took at House Intel during the Russiagate investigation in 2017-18 had still not been released, because nobody had gone through the declassification process. I said, “Hey, we’re in the seat. Why not get these declassified?”

So we went through the entire declassification process and sent them back to the committee and said, “We made some very minor redactions to protect national security interests, the rest you’re allowed to release to the American public. It’s a great example of what can be done, if you want to do it.

Mr. Jekielek: One of the revelations was that there was no evidence of “collusion” presented in these.

Mr. Patel: Right. The big thing that we had asked, that I’d come up with were the three C’s back at HPSCI. I said, “We’re going to ask every single witness from the Attorney General on down whether they had any evidence of conspiracy, collusion, or coordination between the Russian government and any member of the Trump campaign or President Trump himself.” And everyone under oath said, “No,” to all three of those questions, every time.

Mr. Jekielek: So was there any impact of these declassifications at this point, because this was already well past the focus on the Russia investigation.

Mr. Patel: Sure. For people who care such as the Epoch Times, which played a big role in getting this information out, is that our role at oversight is to the American people, to oversee the agencies and make sure they are doing their job and not abusing their authority.

Now we were able to finally let the American people read for themselves what these individuals in leadership positions at FBI and DOJ and State said, under oath, instead of us going to a microphone and telling them this is what this person said. We were finally able to do what we wanted to do, which was to start holding people accountable based on their actions.

Mr. Jekielek: As I was preparing for this interview, I sat down with a few of our journalists, and we discussed some of the items that were interesting to them that were declassified during that time. One of them was, of course, these unmasking lists that started this whole thing when Congressman Nunes discovered all these unmaskings happening.

Mr. Patel: We figured that was a natural starting point for a lot of this, because unmasking and the whole process sounded very cloak and dagger. It’s really not that complicated. There is a reason that it exists, because at certain times you want to protect certain individuals and their names and their identities.

But other times, there’s no need for that. There’s an overriding public interest to make known who your government was targeting in a certain fashion, and whether they were doing it lawfully and ethically. In this instance, there were just a whole host of examples where we felt that they had overstepped. We thought, again, the American public should be able to read it.

So Ric and I led the charge, and on every one of these declassifications we faced a strong headwind, from the CIA, from the NSA, from the DOD, from all apparatuses of the U.S. government. We just weren’t going to back down from their usual epithets, “You’re going to harm national security.”

What I tell people now is, of all the things we’ve ever declassified, and it was a lot, we’ve never lost an individual, we’ve never lost an American, no one’s died, and no asset has been jeopardized, and no relationship has been destroyed. So all those blanket epithets they were throwing our way were just that—empty threats that used to hold water and now don’t

Mr. Jekielek: What was the concern about the unmasking, do you think?

Mr. Patel: It was just that we were going to show the continued fraud and abuse by certain limited individuals at the U.S. government, specifically at the IC, DOJ, and FBI. When you go after people who have been in government for decades, and say that they are conducting themselves improperly and then prove it—of course, they’re going to try to come in and stop you with hyperbole and media hit pieces which, of course, have been a steady rain.

Mr. Jekielek: U.S. Attorney Jensen was investigating whether there was some DOJ action that should be taken, and in the end, didn’t find anything. Do you know anything about that?

Mr. Patel: Obviously the DOJ plays their own role in terms of law enforcement, but our role was to declassify and provide him with all the information he needed for his investigation, which we did. Now, whether or not there was a charging decision made between him and Bill Barr, I don’t know the answer to that. Obviously, I haven’t seen one publicly. I’m not sure if they folded it into the Durham matter. I have no idea. I have no insight on that.

Mr. Jekielek: Another piece, which was very interesting was this CIA referral to the FBI, the best way to describe it would be Hillary Clinton directing her associates to connect then-candidate Trump to Russia?

Mr. Patel: Yes. We just felt that in terms of what we did declassify—certain things, not everything, but a chunk of it—was that the American public’s response to the Russia investigation was, “Where’s the evidence that you’re saying that a presidential candidate and a political party operated improperly in conjunction with the DOJ and FBI?” And we said, “Well, we have it, let’s show you.” So that was the impetus behind it, and that’s why we selected some pieces of that information to come out. I forget off the top of my head exactly what it was. But that was why we did that.

Mr. Jekielek: There are also the transcripts related to General Flynn, which is another piece of the puzzle, so to speak.

Mr. Patel: So there were a number of things that the Department of Justice asked the intelligence community to review and see if it could be declassified, for purposes of utilizing it in court. Again, that’s up to DOJ. So we looked at all the requests that they made to us, and we went through them methodically and said, “Actually, yes, a lot of these things should never have been classified in the first place.” So we went through the process again, and faced strong headwind, again, to declassify them. But in the end, obviously, you saw what was ultimately filed by the Department of Justice in court. That’s what we were able to declassify.

Mr. Jekielek: One question that we don’t have a strong answer for is that when it comes to Russia hacking the DNC, the initial suggestions that this had happened had come from CrowdStrike. But then we learned that CrowdStrike actually was on record saying they didn’t have evidence about this. Your committee back in the day said, “We agree with that assessment. There was a hacking that actually happened.” The question is, where does that evidence come from?

Mr. Patel: A lot of that information I can’t comment on, because it’s classified. But it’s fair to say that in our report, we said that there was a hacking of the server and the details that we were able to publicly release was put in that report. And I don’t want to mistake those and get in any sort of jeopardy. But we did believe that the server was hacked.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s important, because there are all sorts of narratives out there, some of them saying that there never was a hack. You seem to be pretty convinced there was.

Mr. Patel: Yes, we were.

Mr. Jekielek: Ivan Pentchoukov, one of our reporters that has been covering this issue in a much more in-depth way than myself has been very, very curious about the fact that the FBI actually offered a no-bid contract to CrowdStrike two days after the Clinton email investigation began. He’s just curious. Any insight you may have into that?

Mr. Patel: That’s the first I’ve heard of it, and it seems to be remarkable coincidence, if it is that. But in my experience, in government, there rarely are those types of coincidences. I would love for someone to figure that one out. I don’t have any insight into it.

Mr. Jekielek: I have another question. This is actually about a document that was not declassified, or at least not to my knowledge at this point. Basically, that when there was this intelligence community, multi-agency intelligence community assessment that was put out about Russian interference, there was actually a Republican member of the committee’s assessment of that assessment, which, as I understand it, was deeply classified or perhaps is to this day. What’s up with that?

Mr. Patel: It was one that I personally worked on with the team at HPSCI, when we were doing our Russian investigation, and one that I think the American public needs to see most of. There’s a version of it that can be released. It’s been an ongoing fight since I was at HPSCI.

Through my entire time at the White House and DNI, I did make every effort to get that document declassified sufficiently, enough that the American people could read it. And it still hasn’t happened. I’m not sure why. But I would venture to say that it’s because it shows more abuse and overreach by certain individuals in the Obama administration against Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Jekielek: What are your expectations about this ever seeing the light of day?

Mr. Patel: Not unless we win in 2024.

Mr. Jekielek: Kash what happened next? You actually went back to the NSC. I’m not totally clear why that happened. What happened?

Mr. Patel: Right. Part of the president’s agreement with me and Ric, once John Ratcliffe was installed—I helped him transition over to be the director of national intelligence—I would return to my role as Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the White House. I served in that capacity again, which I thought was going to be for hopefully years, but best laid plans. I got back to doing counterterrorism stuff, which I really enjoyed.

Mr. Jekielek: So this was just before you went over to the Department of Defense, and maybe with this, we’re going to need to have some more interviews with Kash Patel in the future about these things. But tell me a bit more about that work at counterterrorism. Then finally, how it is that you ended up in yet another role so quickly, at the Department of Defense?

Mr. Patel: Sure. I was in that role for some time. One of the responsibilities they were kind enough to bestow upon me was I ended up being the national security representative who always travels with the president and his military aide who travels with the nuclear football. Obviously, we always rehearse and practice and are prepared for the worst and hope it doesn’t happen. But I was that individual who was on many trips with the president to deliver any advice or bring in the right team should a situation arise.

Again, not something I was expecting to find myself in, but entrusted with that position. I thought that was an enormously amazing responsibility. So I did a lot of that. I continued the counterterrorism work with my team who deserves all the credit. We actually conducted some more hostage rescue operations.

We freed Philip Walton in Nigeria in less than a week in October of 2020. We took out some more senior leaders in terms of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. This was coming on after the heels of the Soleimani strike that killed the Quds force leader. So we were having a pretty rocking 2020 going into the fall where I thought there would be an election and we would see what happened.

Obviously, if the president won, I would stay on. Then shortly after the election, the president decided to fire Mark Esper. [It was] sort of a replay of, “Hey, Kash, we need you to go over and help run the Defense Department,” and my argument of, “I really like this job, I want to stay,” lost again. But it worked out for me to have that experience. Running the Department of Defense was pretty amazing.

Mr. Jekielek: Briefly speaking, what was happening? There were a lot of changes in roles at the time.

Mr. Patel: Sure. So we had very specific marching orders from the president. It couldn’t have been new to anyone, because he’d been campaigning and running on them for years. End the three wars, the forever wars, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, end those. Care for our veterans, increased care for veterans across the country, no matter what you do,

Bring home Americans. I believe me and Secretary Miller executed well on those things in the short window, we had to do so. We also went around the world and saw our troops on every continent. In 90 days, we traveled 65,000 miles.

Mr. Jekielek: What were you hearing from the troops on the ground during those trips?

Mr. Patel: That was the best part. They said, “You guys have the toughest decision to make. We were on the ground with our troops in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in the Middle East, in southeast Pacific Asia. Everywhere we went the troops and the commanding generals would always tell us the same thing.

We don’t need to be here anymore. These are guys that have served in those areas, in those theaters of wars for years, if not decades, and they’ve lost brothers and sisters in those battles. They were telling us that the decision to leave was the right one. That was not something I was expecting to hear everywhere. It was just very well received and a part of our calculation as to why we were doing the right thing.

Mr. Jekielek: Kash, you sketch out here quite a range of roles and experiences all in this foreign policy sphere. Now you’re outside of government. You’re figuring out what to do next. What are your hopes for U.S. foreign policy, overall?

Mr. Patel: After 16 years in and retiring out of service, a large portion of that was in national security. So it’s different for me to be here versus in. National security is one of those uniquely apolitical things, or that’s what I’ve always felt. I served more time in the Obama National Security Administration, than I did in the Trump administration.

I feel that things such as protecting our borders, the southern border, countering narcotics, countering terrorism, sanctions to our enemies, countering Iran and the Chinese aggression and the Russian aggression, the threats from the Middle East—those are things that should just stay. They vary in terms of which one’s a higher priority now than tomorrow, than last year or five years from now.

But I would hope that the administration would stop politicizing the defense of our country by senselessly and baselessly attacking those that have served in the past, and focus on actually crafting policies to counter China, to counter Iran, and to protect our southern border. Because so far, in the first three months, they’re 0 for 3, just to name a few.

Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts before we finish up?

Mr. Patel: No. I really, really hope more people take an interest in the substantive work that was done in President Trump’s administration and step back from the politicization of it to see what we did to safeguard this nation. If you actually do that, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, libertarian or whatever, you’ll see we successfully executed that mission better than most in modern history.

Mr. Jekielek: Kash Patel, it’s such a pleasure to have you on again.

Mr. Patel: Thanks so much, Jan.

These interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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