Ex-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks

Former national security official Fred Fleitz told Hill.TV on Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials interfered with U.S.-North Korea negotiations in their testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month. 

"I got to tell you I think that was a serious mistake. We have to stop these unclassified threat briefings," Fleitz, who served under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"You and I know maybe it’s likely North Korea’s not going to give up its nuclear weapons, but for the intelligence committee to say that publicly before Congress in a run-up to a summit between President Trump and leader Kim [Jong Un] while negotiations are underway, they’re interfering with the negotiations," he continued. 

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the committee last month that North Korea would "seek to retain its capabilities" in terms of nuclear weapons. 

Trump is set to meet with Kim for the second time on Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam.

"The story is not over yet, the final chapter hasn’t been written. I think the intelligence community should be providing intelligence to help the president carry out his negotiations without raining on his parade in front of Congress and undermining foreign policy. I am very troubled at what happened at that hearing," Fleitz said. 

Fleitz has criticized the intelligence community's role in the hearings in the past, most recently on the Fox Business Network.

He went on to praise the intelligence community, saying most officials are nonpolitical but emphasized the need for strong leadership at the organizations.  

"I think the intelligence community is made up of professionals; the vast majority of them are nonpolitical," he said. "They work hard no matter who is in the White House, no matter what party." 

"I think there are some bad apples, there's always been that in Republican and Democratic administrations. We need strong leadership at the top of these organizations to make sure that people throughout the intelligence bureaucracies do their job and keep politics out of their job," he said. 

— Julia Manchester