In the rubble of President Trump’s renewed attacks on the U.S. intelligence community this week, senior intelligence briefers are breaking two years of silence to warn the commander-in-chief is endangering U.S. security by disregarding intelligence assessments.
Multiple intelligence officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, spoke with Time magazine about the “willful ignorance” Trump displays when presented with analyses generated by U.S. intelligence services and the “futile attempts [the briefers make] to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.”
“What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds,” Time reported. “Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.”
During one briefing on a key U.S. airbase on the Diego Garcia atoll in the Indian Ocean, Trump reportedly asked briefers whether the people were nice and if the beaches were good.
“Some of us wondered if he was thinking about our alliance with the Brits and the security issues in an important area where the Chinese have been increasingly active, or whether he was thinking like a real estate developer,” on official said.
During another briefing, the president claimed that independent countries of Nepal and Bhutan — which he mispronounced — were part of India.
” Two briefers worry that a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping could produce a trade agreement that the President can trumpet but that fails to address China’s espionage, its theft of intellectual property that ranges from circuit boards to soybean hybrids, its military buildup, and its geopolitical ambition,” Time reported.
“Three other officials worry about what one of them calls ‘precipitous troop withdrawals’ from Syria and Afghanistan and a peace deal with the Taliban that in time would leave the extremist Islamic group back in charge and wipe out the gains made in education, women’s rights and governance since the U.S. invaded the country more than 17 years ago,” Time added.