Intelligence insiders this week revealed that the U.S. spy community is withholding information from the Trump administration because they believe his White House could be compromised by the Russian government.
The revelation came in a report published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal:
The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump underscores the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over his team’s contacts with the Russian government, as well as the enmity he has shown toward U.S. spy agencies. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.
In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show Mr. Trump the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information, the current and former officials said. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.
WSJ notes that it isn’t unheard of for intelligence agencies to withhold the names of sources to protect identities but adds “in these previous cases in which information was withheld, the decision wasn’t motivated by a concern about a president’s trustworthiness or discretion…”
The Trump White House and intelligence officials said on the record that there’s no such withholding of information going on. But the WSJ’s sources claim that the U.S. intelligence community continues to maintain that Trump won the election with the help of Russian interference and that his administration is compromised by his relationship with the country.
From the report:
The current and former officials said the decision to avoid revealing sources and methods with Mr. Trump stems in large part from the president’s repeated expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his call during the presidential campaign for Russia to continue hacking the emails of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
The intelligence community has yet to provide the public with any clear evidence that any hacking occurred.
While WSJ’s sources stressed that none of the information being withheld has direct national security implications, it’s still worrisome that the intelligence apparatus would allow the president to make key decisions without providing him every detail possible. And if withholding information is an effort to undermine Trump by allowing him to misstep on a key decision, the consequences could be disastrous.
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