Intelligence director criticizes former officials for speaking out against Trump

Intelligence director criticizes former officials for speaking out against Trump
© Greg Nash

Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsNational counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year Former intel chief Hayden: Think twice on a Trump job offer Counterintelligence needs reboot for 21st century MORE on Wednesday called it "troubling" to hear outside officials criticize the White House's approach to intelligence.

In a speech at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit in Washington, Coats ended with a shot at officials like his predecessor, James Clapper, who have slammed the Trump administration.

"I find it troubling many outside the current arena, including former officials, criticize the [intelligence community's] recent record and expressed concern about [its] capabilities with the president," said Coats. 

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Last month, Clapper told CNN that he believes Trump "likes intelligence on a selective basis," suggesting this meant that when the intelligence suited Trump's politics, he was OK with it. 

"He seems to accept the intelligence on Korea, or on Syria, on China, on other areas, on terrorism, but when it comes to Russia, not so much," Clapper said.

Coats acknowledged a variety of threats in the cyber realm during his talk, including Russia, which he said had "assumed an ever more aggressive cyber posture."

But the brunt of the talk focused on the government's relationship with the private sector. 

Coats encouraged everyone involved in threat intelligence sharing to adopt a similar language and process. 

He also asked companies to work with the government to address poor security design in their products, which often ship with known security flaws. 

"We cannot afford to have new products enter the market with these known vulnerabilities," he said.