Trump turning away intelligence briefers since election win – Washington Post
A team of intelligence analysts has been prepared to deliver daily briefings on global developments and security threats to Trump in the two weeks since he won. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, by contrast, has set aside time for intelligence briefings almost every day since the election, officials said.
Officials involved in the Trump transition team cautioned against assigning any significance to the briefing schedule that the president-elect has set so far, noting that he has been immersed in the work of forming his administration, and has made filling key national security posts his top priority.
But others have interpreted Trump’s limited engagement with his briefing team as an additional sign of indifference from a president-elect who has no meaningful experience on national security issues and was dismissive of U.S. intelligence agencies’ capabilities and findings during the campaign.
A senior U.S. official who receives the same briefing delivered to President Obama each day said that devoting time to such sessions would help Trump get up to speed on world events.
“Trump has a lot of catching up to do,” the official said.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a senior member of Trump’s transition team, dismissed the issue, saying that Trump has devoted significant attention to security matters even while meeting with world leaders and assembling his administration.
“National security is Donald Trump’s No. 1 priority and I think he’s taking it very seriously,” Nunes said in an interview. “Look how many leaders he’s met with, how many phone calls he’s done, positions he’s filled. People who are being critical need to get a life.”
Trump was given an initial briefing within days of his election victory, and took part in a second session with senior U.S. intelligence analysts Tuesday in New York before he departed to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said. Trump turned other briefing opportunities away.
A spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, the office that oversees the production of the daily presidential brief, declined to comment. Spokesmen for the Trump transition did not respond to requests for comment.
The President’s Daily Brief, as the classified document is known, is designed to provide a summary of key security developments and insights from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as an update on covert programs being run overseas by the CIA. It is typically delivered each morning by intelligence analysts selected because of their experience and expertise for the prestigious job.
The contents are among the most closely guarded secrets in Washington, but it is likely that recent versions of the brief covered developments including the resumption of Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria and the disruption of an alleged Islamic State terrorism plot in France.