Cipher Brief Network Comments On Trump’s Intelligence Briefing

Source: The Internet


On Wednesday, Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, received his first classified intelligence briefing at an FBI field office in New York City. The briefing, which was given by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), comes on the heels of controversial remarks made by Trump in an interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. In response to a question about whether he trusts U.S. “intelligence,” Trump stated:

“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years. Look what’s happened over the years. It’s been catastrophic. And, in fact, I won’t use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them, very easy to use them, but I won’t use them because they’ve made such bad decisions.”

Trump’s words are not likely to win him many friends in the intelligence community. A number of Cipher Brief network experts are former officials from the intelligence community, and we asked them to respond to Trump’s comments. Here is what they had to say:

General Michael Hayden, Former Director of the NSA and CIA

“Not every presidential candidate goes out of his way to insult the institutions of government who are coming to perform a service for him.  But it certainly fits the pattern. People who disagree with Mr. Trump or even those who simply might precede him are invariably described as stupid, weak or corrupt. American intelligence has a history of successes and failures, not because it is bad (although we always want it to be better), but because the issues it has to face are so complex and so unpredictable.  If we are forced to endure a Trump presidency, I’m certain that it will not be long before we get to say, ‘not as easy as it looks, is it?’”

John McLaughlin, Former Acting Director of the CIA

“Mr. Trump should wait until he has some acquaintance with American intelligence before rendering a judgment.”

Carmen Medina, Former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence

“Donald Trump’s distrust of the civil service is unjustified, and in my opinion, disqualifying. Intelligence professionals are civil servants who seek to serve all administrations as objectively as possible. His comments are an attack on a basic principle of democratic government–that citizens can put aside their partisan concerns for the good of the community they serve. I also believe his comments reflect a dangerous approach to information, intelligence, and analysis. Regardless of your ideology, you should first ascertain the facts. Ideological beliefs then can guide how you think about uncertainties and unknowns. Donald Trump appears to do the exact opposite. He uses ideology and personal beliefs to filter the facts. Nothing good will come of this!”

John Sipher, Former Member of CIA’s Intelligence Services

This is typical Trump.  A real practitioner has a tough time responding to the comment since it is essentially meaningless.  There are no real words that mean anything or ideas of substance.  Instead, it is meant to evoke a sense of dread that allows him to appeal to those people who don’t understand the issues. It is emotionally satisfying to assume all problems are due to “idiots.” It’s easier than actually thinking hard about the issues.”

Rob Richer, Former Associate Deputy Director of Operations at CIA

“Trump is about Trump.  He could have not made it as a member of our armed forces or as a member of our security/intelligence services.  He denigrates the sacrifice, toil and service of those doing so much for our great country.   He is not a leader, is most certainly not a commander in chief in the making and he is a creature of the 60s and 70s in that he reminds me of many of the despots who destroyed countries in Africa and the Middle East.  He does not get it and never will.”

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