Current and former intelligence officials told the Wall Street Journal that key officials have decided to keep information from President Trump due to concerns about his “friendliness” with Russia.
In recent weeks, the alleged effort to undermine the Trump presidency has really come into its own, as unprecedented leaks of classified intelligence have caused complication after complication for the fledgling administration. Of course, the most grave consequence of these leaks so far was the recent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose correspondence with a Russian ambassador was made public – ultimately leading to his abdication and a media frenzy hyping the ties between Trump and Russia. Trump, in his response to Flynn’s resignation, condemned the leak responsible for the debacle as “un-American.” However, it seems that Trump may have bigger problems.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported yesterday that US intelligence officials have withheld and continue to withhold key intelligence from the President, citing concerns that such intelligence could be leaked or compromised in some way. According to anonymous former and current officials in the intelligence community, Trump has been kept in the dark regarding the sources and methods used by intelligence agencies to collect information such as “the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.”
Allegedly, Trump has so far not been too demanding regarding the origin of intelligence he has received. The Wall Street Journal wrote that:
“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.”
However, with this information now out in the open, this tendency is likely to change, especially considering suggestions from key political and intelligence figures that there is a major effort on the part of the “deep state” to undermine Trump and his ability to govern. While a White House official told the WSJ that “there is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) of the House Intelligence Committee asserted that intelligence officials had expressed concerns about sharing information with the President. Allegedly, these concerns are born out of “the president’s repeated expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin,” underscoring the deep mistrust that has created a rift between the intelligence community and the executive branch.
Yet, some intelligence agencies have denied that they have withheld information from Trump. As Politico reported, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement that “any suggestion that the U.S. Intelligence Community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the President and his national security team is not true.”
Despite ODNI’s assertions, there does seem to be a concerted effort on the part of some within the intelligence community to “go nuclear” on Trump, based on the testimony and contacts of former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler. Regardless, it seems like the specter of anti-Russian hysteria has once again reared its head as those elements of the U.S. “deep state” continue to push for a deterioration of relations with Russia and other nations that could potentially threaten continued American hegemony.
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