President Trump’s tense relationship with leading U.S. intelligence officials is “dismaying” and hurts the individuals who staff the country’s vast intelligence networks, a former director of national intelligence said in an interview that aired Sunday.
John Negroponte, who was the first person to serve in the DNI role when it was created under President George W. Bush, urged the newly inaugurated president to extend an olive branch to the intelligence community, suggesting that he does not yet understand the gravity of its work.
“I would hope that there can be a coming together between Mr. Trump and the new leadership of the intelligence community, so he comes to appreciate more than he's indicated so far the fine and important work the intelligence community does," Negroponte told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.
Trump has criticized the U.S. intelligence community in recent weeks, amid revelations that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.
But during a speech at CIA headquarters Saturday afternoon, Trump asserted that there was no such “feud” between him and the intelligence community, dismissing the claims as rumors generated by the media.
Trump also said the CIA would get “so much backing” under his administration.
Negroponte said that while former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: Biden, bruised by Afghanistan, faces a critical test in Ukraine Is the US capable of thinking strategically? Juan Williams: GOP infighting is a gift for Democrats MORE’s picks to head the intelligence agencies haven’t necessarily politicized their offices, they “have been too quick to speak out publicly.”
“I don’t [think] we’re ever very well served if the intelligence community gets too much in the crossfire of publicity itself, and I think they should let others speak for them,” he said.
“And that has usually proven to be the best way to go about this. They’ve got to be more anonymous, and not so much on the front page.”