“Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration — not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump — that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust,” wrote former analyst for the National Security Agency Jack R. Schindler.
The Director of National Intelligence flatly denied this was happening and Pompeo released a strongly worded statement saying the same.
“It is CIA’s mission to provide the President with the best intelligence possible and to explain the basis for that intelligence,” the statement read. “The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the President, period.”
So the DNI and the CIA Director have both denied this is the case, but then both of them are Trump appointees and the reports of potentially damaging information being withheld from the White House because of concerns that it could be leaked to Russia goes back all the way to the transition, before either the Pompeo or the DNI were put before the Senate for confirmation, so how would they know what it is that they don’t know and aren’t being told?
Apparently all of this has Trump incensed.
CBS News has learned that on Thursday, an angry President Trump called CIA Director Mike Pompeo and yelled at him for not pushing back hard enough against reports that the intelligence community was withholding information from the commander-in-chief.
True to form though the Trump White House denied not only they were being locked out of the loop, but also that Trump and Pompeo had a conversation about and and that Trump “yelled.”
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd denied Friday that there was a conversation between Pompeo and Mr. Trump about the article.
“There was no conversation between the CIA Director and the President about the Wall Street Journal article either before or after CIA issued its statement about the article,” Boyd said. “The CIA issued its statement on its own accord because the story was inaccurate and we felt the need to defend the integrity of our officers and institution.”
Yeah, I can believe that just as much as I can believe there were 3-5 Million phantom voters in the November election and that Trump’s inauguration had the “largest crowd ever”.
There’s a bit of bait and switch here because the most vocal proponent of this idea, former NSA analyst Jack Schindler who is a columnist with Jared Kushner’s New York Observer has said that his sources are within the NSA not the CIA in addition to the fact we have 16 different intel agencies beyond the CIA who could be part of this deliberate freeze-out.
How things are heating up between the White House and the spooks is evidenced by a new report that the CIA has denied a security clearance to one of Flynn’s acolytes. Rob Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer selected to head up the NSC’s Africa desk, was denied a clearance to see Sensitive Compartmented Information (which is required to have access to SIGINT in particular). Why Townley’s SCI was turned down isn’t clear—it could be over personal problems or foreign ties—but the CIA’s stand has been privately denounced by the White House, which views this as a vendetta against Flynn. That the Townley SCI denial was reportedly endorsed by Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director selected by Trump himself, only adds to the pain.
There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.
In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.
If the PDB was being boiled down by Flynn — before he was asked to resign as National Security Advisor for lying to the Vice President — to a single page with no more than 9 bullet points, the President really isn’t getting all the information anyway and the CIA Directory denying the “withhold” is practically meaningless when it’s the NSA holding sensitive information back, not neccesarily CIA. But then again all of that is a perfect example of Trump lack of comprehension and understanding.
So despite including the denials, CBS still finished with….
The reality is, insiders say, that there has been a “chill” in the information flow. Intelligence sources say the agency is intent on protecting information, and if there are concerns it could be compromised, it will be withheld.
The ongoing investigation into whether Trump associates coordinated with the Russians remains a concern for some who handle sensitive data. It can be inferred that there is a lack of trust, and because the CIA has had a role in uncovering signs of Russian cyber intrusions, there are also concerns that sensitive information could be shared with adversaries.
Yeah, considering the fact that both NSA SIGINT and the Intel services of our allies have confirmed the multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence described by the Steele dossier as being accurate, you bet there are “concerns.”