National Security

Trump before classified briefing: I don’t trust US intel


Hours before he is set to receive his first classified intelligence briefing, Donald Trump said he does not trust information coming out of U.S. intelligence agencies and indicated he would cease relying on the bulk of the intelligence community’s massive workforce.

During an interview aired on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, was asked whether he “trust[s] intelligence.”

{mosads}“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country,” Trump responded. “I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years. … It’s been catastrophic.

“Very easy to use them, but I won’t use them, because they’ve made such bad decisions,” he said, pointing to apparent intelligence failures ahead of the United States’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the time, George W. Bush administration officials appeared convinced that Saddam Hussein’s government was creating weapons of mass destruction, though that was not the case.

“If we would have never touched it, it would have been a lot better,” Trump said.

He may not have a choice. CIA Director John Brennan has already suggested he would resign rather than comply with Trump’s orders to employ harsh interrogation methods or torture against America’s enemies, and it’s unclear whether others would join him.

Nonetheless, Trump’s comments demonstrate a startling lack of faith in the 16 federal intelligence agencies and their tens of thousands of employees.

Later Wednesday, Trump is scheduled to receive his first briefing on intelligence matters from senior government officials as part of a routine process of bringing potential new presidents up to speed on world events.

Trump’s comments follow a House Republican analysis last week confirming reports that intelligence produced through the military’s Central Command had been edited or squelched in order to provide an unrealistically positive image of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The conclusions seriously undermine the Obama administration’s claims about the anti-ISIS push and help explain the trouble it has had routing the extremist group from its bases in Syria and Iraq.

Trump is planning to attend the Wednesday briefing with former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency earlier in the Obama administration.

“He’s a terrific guy, a terrific general: tough, smart, feels like I do about illegal immigration, in particular,” Trump said of Flynn on Fox News.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is also reportedly scheduled to join Trump.

The briefings with presidential candidates tend to be somewhat watered-down assessments of global threats and the state of the world.

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