A report from the Wall Street Journal indicating suspicious spy agencies may be purposely leaving President Donald Trump in the dark was quickly refuted by one of America’s top intel agents – but the White House isn’t taking any chances, and has decided to launch an independent review in the coming days.
The Wall Street Journal reported intelligence agencies have stopped providing Trump information about their information collection practices because A) they’re concerned about the president’s ties to Russia and B) they see the Michael Flynn resignation as a warning sign of the potential for leaks.
Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, resigned late Monday after revelations he engaged in conversations with Russia’s ambassador that were not reported to the White House. Flynn admitted the oversight, saying in a resignation letter he certainly should have told then-vice president elect Mike Pence about the nature of these conversations, when asked or prodded.
But the larger takeaway from the matter is this: Who tipped the media to these conversations?
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
Turns out, members of the intelligence agencies who are still not identified were listening to these conversations and, it’s believed, released the information to the media. As Trump tweeted about the revelations: “The real scandal here is that classified informatioon is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!”
Well, now the story has ratcheted again.
On the heels of the Journal report, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued this statement: “Any suggestion that the U.S. Intelligence Community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.”
Meanwhile, there’s this, from the New York Times:
“President Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence ccommunity fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.
“The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a coo-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wedesday, Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.
“There has been no announcement of Mr. Feinbereg’s job … but he recently told his company’s shareholders that he is in discussions to join the Trump administration. He is a member of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.”