Consider the headline and its ramifications in a story first reported by The Wall Street Journal:
Spies ‘keep intelligence from Donald Trump’
The Wall Street Journal
1:06PM February 16, 2017
US intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.
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 US 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.
A White House official said: “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”
Intelligence officials have in the past not told a president or members of Congress about the ins and outs of how they ply their trade. At times, they have decided that secrecy is essential for protecting a source, and that all a president needs to know is what that source revealed and what the intelligence community thinks is important about it.
But 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 current and former officials said.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday how many times officials have held back information from Mr Trump.
The officials emphasised that they know of no instance in which crucial information about security threats or potential plotting has been omitted. Still, the misgivings that have emerged among intelligence officials point to the fissures spreading between the White House and the US spy agencies.
Mr Trump, a Republican, asked on Monday night for the resignation of Mike Flynn, his national security adviser, after the White House said the president lost trust in him, in part, because he misstated the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Last night, Mr Trump castigated the intelligence agencies and the news media, blaming them for Mr Flynn’s downfall.
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!” Mr Trump tweeted.
Mr Trump doesn’t immerse himself in intelligence information, and it isn’t clear that he has expressed a desire to know sources and methods. The intelligence agencies have been told to dramatically pare down the president’s daily intelligence briefing, both the number of topics and how much information is described under each topic, an official said. Compared with his immediate predecessors, Mr Trump so far has chosen to rely less on the daily briefing than they did.
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.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia stole and leaked emails from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign to undermine the election process and try to boost Mr Trump’s chances of winning, an allegation denied by Russian officials.
Several of Mr Trump’s current and former advisers are under investigation for the nature of their ties to Moscow, according to people familiar with the matter. After Mr Flynn’s dismissal, politicians have called on the government to release the transcripts of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and to disclose whether Mr Trump was aware of or directed Mr Flynn’s conversations.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he has heard concerns from officials about sharing especially sensitive information with Mr Trump.
“I’ve talked with people in the intelligence community that do have concerns about the White House, about the president, and I think those concerns take a number of forms,” Mr Schiff said, without confirming any specific incidents. “What the intelligence community considers their most sacred obligation is to protect the very best intelligence and to protect the people that are producing it.”
“I’m sure there are people in the community who feel they don’t know where he’s coming from on Russia,” Mr Schiff said.
Tensions between the spy agencies and Mr Trump were pronounced even before he took office, after he publicly accused the Central Intelligence Agency and others of leaking information about alleged Russian hacking operations to undermine the legitimacy of his election win. In a meandering speech in front of a revered CIA memorial the day after his inauguration, Mr Trump boasted about the size of his inaugural crowd and accused the media of inventing a conflict between him and the agencies.
In a news conference today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mr Trump again lashed out at the media and intelligence officials, whom he accused of “criminal” leaks about Mr Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador last December.
Mr Trump didn’t explain Wednesday why he asked for Mr Flynn’s resignation. Instead, he suggested the leaks and the media were to blame for his ouster.
“General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media,” Mr Trump said. “And I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
“I think in addition to that from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Mr Trump said. “It’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act and it’s been going on for a long time before me but now it’s really going on.”
Reviving his line of criticism against intelligence officials during the transition, Mr Trump said the “illegally leaked” information was from people with political motivations. “People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton,” Mr Trump said.
A person close to Mr Trump said he was reluctant to let go of Mr Flynn because Mr Flynn had vigorously supported him at a stage of his presidential campaign when few people did. Mr Trump also felt Mr Flynn did nothing wrong in his conversations with the US ambassador to Russia and had good intentions.
“They both continue to support each other,” this person said.
For intelligence veterans, who had hoped that Mr Trump’s feud with the agencies might have subsided, Wednesday’s comments renewed and deepened concerns.
“This is not about who won the election. This is about concerns about institutional integrity,” said Mark Lowenthal, a former senior intelligence official.
“It’s probably unprecedented to have this difficult a relationship between a president and the intelligence agencies,” Mr Lowenthal said. “I can’t recall ever seeing this level of friction. And it’s just not good for the country.”
Several congressional probes are examining Russia’s alleged meddling in the election. On Wednesday, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee requested a Justice Department briefing and documents related to Mr Flynn’s resignation, including details of his communications with Russian officials.
Carol E Lee and Damian Paletta contributed to this article
And then, yes, as the story indicates, understand that these leftist unionized spooks who literally illegally leaked the phone intercepts of an American citizen are now literally saying that the fact that traitorous leftwing whackjobs leaking classified information is proof that traitorous leftwing whackjobs should be even more traitorous by withholding information from the President of the United States.
When the only reason these turds have jobs in the first damn place is to provide information to the President of the United States.
The leaks against Gen. Flynn are illegal and criminal: he is a private citizen and the intelligence community is criminal to capture telephone communications and broadcast them. Even the damn LEFT acknowledges that the leftwing intelligence community leakers committed “serious felonies” by their criminal conduct. Then they go on to say it’s okay that they did it because the don’t like Trump. Which means I hope they don’t mind if we start using the raw power of government to expose THEM the same damn way and leak their phone calls and any embarrassing information the government finds out. And their SSN numbers and identities, while we’re at it.
“We can’t give the President of the United States information because there are leaks. And we won’t mention the fact that we’re the same people who are doing all the leaking as an act of sabotage against our Constitution and our republic and our democratically elected president.
I’ve already written my views about the abject hypocrisy surrounding the attack on Gen. Flynn: he just called the Russian Ambassador to talk about grandkids and golf games the way Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lorretta Lynch did when they had their illegal secret meeting in the midst of a presidential campaign while Hillary Clinton was facing criminal indictment that Democrats thought was no big deal.
I’ve been talking about the evils of what they call “public sector unions” for years now.
Liberal progressives don’t give a damn about the whole people. They have split America apart one racial group at another’s throats, one income level at another’s throats, and privileged union employees at the throats of fed-up taxpayers. Unions have been feeding off taxpayers – who get a fraction of the wages and benefits the privileged union pigs get – for decades. Government employees earn TWICE the wages and benefits of their counterparts in the private sector. But Democrats don’t care: they view the private sector and everyone who works in it as evil cash cows who are to be exploited and impoverished.”
Government workers don’t contribute to the tax rolls; they FEED OFF the tax roles. We pay our taxes so an elite class of bureaucrats can have TWICE the wages and benefits that we get for doing the exact same jobs. And then our tax dollars go to fund the Democrat Party so they can pass an un-American agenda. Big labor money is TEN TIMES anything conservatives have in special interests. And again, the most disgusting thing of all is that it’s our own damn money that is being used to attack the private sector workers who paid it in taxes.
And we can see the power of a bureaucracy when that bureaucracy decides it has and should have more power than the President of the United States elected by the American people.
Every single one of the “spies” playing these Stalinist games against our president are dedicated members of government unions.
The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPutin says he will strengthen Russia’s security service Trump: Leaks are real, news is fakeChuck Todd: Trump’s treatment of the press is un-AmericanMORE’s skepticism of the Intelligence Community’s findings on Russian election interference has raised fears among experts that Trump will bypass intel analysts and demand that his personal team conduct its own analyses of raw data.