This Is What Collaboration Sounds Like

"Ghostwritten books are often expected to be bland gruel. A new book by James Clapper with Trey Brown isn't bland. It's not even ghostwritten."

James Clapper's new book "Facts & Fears" is out. In the book, the former National Intelligence Director claims he believes the Russians did tilt the 2016 national election toward Donald Trump. Though that claim may be the most newsworthy, Clapper and his longtime speechwriter Brown, who has a cover credit, agonized more over another section of the book, Clapper said on Rachel Maddow's show last night. 

After serving every president since JFK, "speaking critically of our current president is counterinstinctive," Clapper wrote. He then went on to write that President Trump "has set a new low bar for ethics and morality. He has caused damage to our societal and political fabric that will be  difficult and will require time to repair. And, close to my heart, he has besmirched the Intelligence Community and the FBI–pillars of our country–and deliberately incited many Americans to lose faith and confidence in them."

Maddow asked the former Director of National Intelligence if it was difficult, with his military background (and from a military family), to criticize the president in such terms. "Yes it was," Clapper answered, with great sadness on his face. "And my collaborator Trey Brown and I labored over that to make sure that we captured what I really wanted to say."

Clapper will appear with his collaborator Brown at the 2018 World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association (Oct. 22-24 in D.C.) In conversation with former White House speechwriter Stephen Krupin, they'll discuss their collaboration, and describe the give and take that led to this provocative book. —DM

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