President Donald Trump has ordered his intelligence agencies to focus heavily on economics and trade in their daily briefings, especially regarding Russia and China, a move that could lead to other important national security issues being suppressed in discussions, The New York Times reports.
Trump, according to the Times, complained that his generals “don’t understand business,” and has publicly criticized top intelligence officials in the past, creating a challenging relationship.
But the president wants to know what country is gaining a financial edge, and his intelligence chiefs are delivering – with more graphs and visual aids to appeal to Trump.
“President Trump’s economic focus has been evident, including his emphasis on increasing NATO allies’ burden sharing and pressing allies and partners to do more in support of our common interests,” Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the Times.
“However, if he suppresses intelligence through that tailoring, that is not helpful. He is no longer making informed decisions because he is making decisions based on information he could have had but didn’t have.”
Trump isn’t the first president to tailor his briefings, but he has reduced his in-person briefings with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel to twice a week. Trump has shown less interest in spy work and more in Beijing’s efforts to advance quickly in technology.
“Economic security at home goes hand in hand with national security abroad,” said Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, per the Times.
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