Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday said the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies are “doing a pretty good job,” despite President Trump’s attack on the officials earlier in the day calling them “naive and passive.”
“They’re doing the best they can,” King, a longtime member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, told Hill.TV. “The president has a different opinion, he expresses himself that way. But actually I think they are doing a pretty good job.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, when Coats said the intelligence community found that Iran is not currently seeking to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the top U.S. intelligence officials are “extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!”
“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!,” Trump added.
GOP Rep. Frank Lucas (Okla.) wouldn’t say whether he agreed with Trump’s remarks.
“I don’t know that I’m particularly surprised – the president interprets everything through his own eyes, comes up with his own analysis. And that’s consistent with his kind of analysis,” Lucas told Hill.TV.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) called the president’s attack “somewhat amusing” because Trump appointed most of the nation’s top intelligence leaders.
“He’s just going to make decisions on a whim without consultation and merit of their analysis,” Meeks, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Hill.TV. “For [Trump] not to take the advice and the consideration, either he’s saying that he doesn’t know who to appoint and/or he doesn’t trust the individual that he has appointed.”
Missouri Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay called the attacks “another sign that the president doesn’t pay attention to his experts in the intelligence field.”
“They are there for the president, so why wouldn’t you listen to their advice. Why wouldn’t you look at their assessment? Why wouldn’t you read their report?” Clay said. “I think it’s a tragedy and it’s a threat to our national security.”
Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal called her party’s defense of intelligence agencies “funny” and “ironic.”
“Ironic maybe is the right word,” she said. “Democrats have to be the ones to stand up for intelligence agencies, but we’re not talking about one intelligence agency – we’re talking about multiple intelligence agencies and his continued undermining of our own intelligence,” Jayapal, co-chair of the House Progressives Caucus, said in an interview.
—Molly K. Hooper
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.