There is a lot of talk and pearl-clutching, at the moment, about possible politicization of intelligence services. It usually involves current of former intelligence or counter-intelligence officials making statements about domestic political events. This is usually seen as a problem.
I would like to understand better whether it really is a problem. The simplest argument that I have heard is that it's not a big problem because it's simply government employees (or former employees) exercising their 1st Amendment rights.
On the balance, this actually seems plausible. Even if people have personal biases, when it comes to professional work, one would expect that people dedicated to their jobs would go through the extra effort to ensure the quality of their work is not influenced by their personal preferences.
Let me make an analogy from the coding world (since this is where most users of this site probably spend their time). If I find out that there is a hot new language that solves a number of my problems in how I do work on the daily basis, I maybe enamored to learn more about it. I might even tell some of the people with whom I work about this language and describe it with a degree of passion. But it doesn't mean that I would abandon my daily work of writing in the language in which my employer's projects are already developed.
What is the difference between this scenario and the way things would be in the intelligence world if the intelligence operatives were open about their political preferences?
Do they have any extraordinary domestic powers which can be easily abused if they are "Republican" intelligence agents vs "Democratic" intelligence agents?
Are they not expected to be severely punished if they withhold information from Democratic vs Republican (or vice versa) politicians?
Anything else I can't think of?