Because the current administration is operating like a bad Scandal spec script, U.S. intelligence officials are apparently withholding sensitive information from the President, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The motivation for this decision is largely because the intelligence community doesn’t trust the current White House with sensitive information. Maybe they’re worried that the Trump administration will leak that information to the Russians— a valid fear. Or, maybe they just don’t trust Donald Trump or any of the people that surround him.
According to the WSJ, some of the information that the intelligence community would generally share with the president pertains to the sources of information and the methods they used to obtain it, citing “the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government” as an example. Why wouldn’t they want to share any of this with Trump? Yes, you’re right, I can hear you, it’s Russia. It’s because of Russia.
Regardless, Trump isn’t interested in intelligence, preferring that his daily briefings come to him significantly reduced in information and scope. No need to know stuff if you’re the president, right?
Mr. Trump doesn’t immerse himself in intelligence information, and it isn’t clear that he has expressed a desire to know sources and methods. The intelligence agencies have been told to dramatically pare down the president’s daily intelligence briefing, both the number of topics and how much information is described under each topic, an official said. Compared with his immediate predecessors, Mr. Trump so far has chosen to rely less on the daily briefing than they did.
Trump has been very forthcoming about his mistrust in the intelligence community, declaring in a tweet early Wednesday morning that classified information that could potentially compromise national security is handed out “like candy.”
Trump’s distrust for the intelligence community is evident, strengthened by the fact that he might be hiring a billionaire named Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management and “Trump loyalist” to lead a review of American intelligence agencies, the New York Times reports. Feinberg has no experience with the intelligence community, save “his firm’s stakes in a private security company and two gun makers.” This move is seen by the intelligence community as a means to “reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.” Just what we need—someone else protecting Donald Trump from the fact that he can’t always get what he wants.