According to a front page article in The Wall Street Journal today, U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.
The Journal story cited former and current intelligence officials.
If true, this would be a dangerous and unprecedented act of defiance by unelected intelligence officers. The acting Director of National Intelligence denied this report.
I suspect this story is probably untrue for several reasons.
While I believe these claims are coming from a handful of current and former intelligence officials put in place by the Obama administration, most intelligence officers would never do this because they know they work for the president and such behavior would cost them their jobs.
I'm also certain CIA Director Mike Pompeo would never tolerate CIA officers withholding intelligence from the president.
I question whether any intelligence officials who made these claims to the news media had any direct contact with the White House. I also believe this story is being driven by a blogger and former intelligence officer who, although he has a wide following, has a history of making far-fetched and conspiratorial claims.
What this story does represent is the urgency that the Trump administration get its appointees in place in intelligence agencies to ensure they perform their mission to provide the president with the intelligence he needs to keep our nation safe.
Trump officials also are urgently needed at State and the Pentagon.
Once Trump officials are in place and assert control over national security agencies, acting officials named by the Obama administration can be reassigned. Steps also can be taken to deal with intelligence offices that are suspected of leaking to the press.
Leaks to the press by personnel working for national security agencies to meddle in American politics are a fact of life and are always worse during Republican presidencies.
The Trump administration can sharply reduce the number of such leaks and anti-Trump press stories like today's Wall Street Journal article by filling jobs in national security agencies as soon as possible.
Given the urgency of getting these jobs filled, President Trump should seriously consider recess appointments if Senate Democrats continue their efforts to slow roll the confirmation of Trump nominees.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is senior vice president for policy and programs at the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and is author of the book on the Iran nuclear deal "Obamabomb: A Dangerous and Growing National Security Fraud," published in 2016. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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