DNI official challenges reports of low morale in intelligence community

DNI official challenges reports of low morale in intelligence community
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There has not been a dip in morale among officials in the U.S. intelligence community, according to a top U.S. counterintelligence official.

“I don’t see a dip in morale,” Bill Evanina, the national counterintelligence executive, said in response to questions at an event in Washington Thursday evening. “The media created this morale issue.”

“Write a story about how the intelligence community does not have a morale problem,” he later said, again responding to a question from a reporter.

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There has been a flurry of reports and speculation about low morale in the intelligence community ever since President Trump expressed skepticism about intelligence officials’ conclusions that Russia engaged in a cyber and disinformation campaign to influence the presidential election. 

According to an unclassified report released in January, Moscow had an established preference for Trump and aimed to undermine American democracy and damage Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Clinton: Hard to ignore 'racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says' MORE.

Trump has more recently taken aim at the intelligence community over leaks about contact between his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and the Russian ambassador to the U.S., a development that led Flynn to resign earlier this month. 

Evanina was speaking at a briefing hosted by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cybersecurity think tank, on insider threats to the U.S. public and private sector. 

Evanina was appointed to his post in June 2014 and oversees counterintelligence programs to protect government and private-sector entities from intelligence collection or foreign attacks. He previously held posts at the CIA and FBI.

He will soon have a new boss, pending confirmation of Trump’s choice for director of national intelligence.

Former Indiana Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsNunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE, whom Trump announced as his pick for intelligence chief in January, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for his confirmation hearing next week.