Trump declining intelligence briefings: report
WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has received just two classified intelligence briefings since winning the presidency earlier this month, far less than his immediate predecessors, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Republican’s limited engagement with his team of intelligence analysts has some officials questioning the real estate mogul’s commitment to national security or international affairs, arenas in which he has no significant experience.
The Trump transition team has brushed off those concerns, saying the president-elect has simply been busy appointing his administration members.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in contrast, has received intelligence briefings nearly every day since the November 8 vote, the paper reported.
Within days of his win Trump received his initial briefing, and met once more with top US intelligence analysts before heading to Florida for the US Thanksgiving holiday.
The billionaire has turned away other opportunities to meet with intelligence officials, according to the Post.
Trump’s last three predecessors regularly received intelligence briefings during their transitions, often on a daily basis. President Barack Obama took regular briefings as well as scheduled “deep dives” on major security issues such as Iran’s nuclear program.
As a candidate Trump had voiced skepticism of the US intelligence community, and brushed off intelligence findings throughout the campaign.
Prior to his first classified intelligence briefing — a privilege reserved for presidential candidates from the two main political parties — Trump told Fox News he had scant trust in the experts he was slated to meet with.
“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. Look what’s happened over the last 10 years. Look what’s happened over the years. It’s been catastrophic,” he told Fox News.
Following Trump’s shock victory, the White House had said in a fact sheet on the transition process that “the president-elect and other senior officials will begin receiving daily intelligence briefings from the intelligence community”.