Donald Trump rejecting intelligence briefings since vote, officials say

November 24, 2016 10:30 pm

President-elect (Photo by AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump has been rejecting daily intelligence briefings since his election victory on November 8, officials say.
Despite having a team of analysts and experts ready to brief Trump on a daily basis, the Republican president-elect has so far attended only two sessions, much less than that of his predecessors in the White House, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing current and former officials.
Trump received his first post-election briefing within a few days from his victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The second session took place on Tuesday, when Trump met senior US intelligence officials before going to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said.
In contrast, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been getting regular updates on various issues on an almost daily basis, the report added.
Dubbed “The President’s Daily Brief,” the classified report contains a summary of the main developments in the world together with insight from all of the country’s 16 intelligence agencies.
The closely-guarded document also includes covert overseas operations by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the Post, Trump’s transition team does not think the incoming president’s briefing schedule is an issue because he has been spending most of his time choosing officials for his administration, which is currently his top priority.
Trump’s critics, however, think his unwillingness to get intelligence updates is another sign of the president-elect’s indifference to national security issues, which they blame on the New York businessman’s lack of political experience.
Some critics argue that Trump’s campaign rhetoric, where he dismissed the findings of various US intelligence organizations regarding the Syrian conflict and other issues, signaled an early warning about his reluctance to attend briefings.
A current American official, who receives the same intelligence briefings as President Barack Obama, told the Post that Trump should devote more time to such sessions in order to get a grasp of the world affairs.
“Trump has a lot of catching up to do,” the official told the daily.
“His pace is not as frequent as most recent presidents-elect, but it is not unprecedented over the decades-long scope of these briefings,” said David Priess, a former CIA officer and part of former President George W. Bush’s briefing team.
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