Senior intelligence officials have told NBC News national security reporter Ken Dilanian that it is nearly impossible to correct President Donald Trump’s belief in misinformation no matter how much evidence they provide him with.
According to Dilanian, these officials say “it’s extremely difficult to convince Trump he is wrong about something, no matter how much evidence they can put in front of him.” The NBC report then adds that Trump “believes what he believes.”
Senior intelligence officials have said that it's extremely difficult to convince Trump he is wrong about something, no matter how much evidence they can put in front of him. He believes what he believes.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) January 30, 2019
President Trump ripped into the top intelligence officials he appointed after they directly contradicted many of his claims during a Senate hearing this week.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning in a pair of tweets. He also mocked the intelligence leaders in his administration, suggesting they “should go back to school.”
The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2019
The tweets attacking the U.S. intelligence community on Wednesday came after the heads of the CIA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies directly contradicted him on threats posed by Iran, North Korea, and ISIS.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified that the intelligence community found that Iran is not currently seeking to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities, basing his remarks on an intelligence assessment.
“We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” the assessment reads.
The assessment warns that Iranian officials are threatening to begin building up the country’s nuclear capabilities if Tehran “does not gain the tangible trade and investment benefits it expected” from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an Obama-era deal that Trump withdrew the U.S. from last year.
Trump also blasted the intelligence community’s assessment of threats posed by ISIS, as well as North Korea.
“When I became President, ISIS was out of control in Syria & running rampant. Since then tremendous progress made, especially over last 5 weeks. Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago,” Trump said in one tweet. He later added, “North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with U.S. No testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization…”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Coats had rebutted previous statements made by the president when he noted that U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons because “its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.”
Coats also refuted Trump’s previous claim that ISIS is defeated in Syria. He told lawmakers that the group was “nearing” military defeat in Iraq, but has returned to its “guerrilla warfare roots,” continues to plot attacks and “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.”
Former CIA director John Brennan ripped into Trump in a tweet on Wednesday for undermining the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, calling the president a danger to national security.
“Your refusal to accept the unanimous assessment of U.S. Intelligence on Iran, No. Korea, ISIS, Russia, & so much more shows the extent of your intellectual bankruptcy. All Americans, especially members of Congress, need to understand the danger you pose to our national security,” he said.
Your refusal to accept the unanimous assessment of U.S. Intelligence on Iran, No. Korea, ISIS, Russia, & so much more shows the extent of your intellectual bankruptcy. All Americans, especially members of Congress, need to understand the danger you pose to our national security. https://t.co/9iV3BTKiEv
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) January 30, 2019
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also said Trump was wrong to undermine the intelligence assessments.
“It is a credit to our intelligence agencies that they continue to provide rigorous and realistic analyses of the threats we face,” he said on Twitter. “It’s deeply dangerous that the White House isn’t listening.”