By Debra Heine
The anti-Trump media is pushing a Washington Post story published yesterday that claims President Trump has a tenuous relationship with the U.S. intelligence community — but one former member of the intelligence community is calling it “fake news.”
The article claims that the president “continues to reject the judgments of U.S. spy agencies on major foreign policy fronts” and that this has become “a source of mounting concern to senior U.S. intelligence officials.”
“This story should scare everyone,” wrote NBC’s “Fusion Ken” Dilanian on Twitter.“This is an important story … on the widening gap between Trump and the U.S. intelligence community,” wrote Bill Rucker, the White House bureau chief for the Washington Post. Slate’s Will Saletan said it was an “excellent” report that “exposes a growing menace.”
“I’ll believe that Trump is growing into the presidency when his staff stops talking about him like a toddler,” wrote Daniel Drezner, a professor at the Fletcher School at Tuft University.
Drezner’s comment was based on the claims of an anonymous “U.S. official” who suggested that the intel community had to dumb down the presidential daily briefing for Trump:
From the start of Trump’s presidency, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence began streamlining the PDB, reducing it to a collection of bullet points and images or graphics. U.S. officials have made additional adaptations over the past two years.
They generally refrain from sending analysts who are deep experts on a specific subject, instead dispatching generalists for meetings with a president whose attention tends to wander.
“Either it doesn’t resonate or there is a lack of comprehension,” the U.S. official said. “You feel frustration and helplessness in a way. What else can you do?”
Fred Fleitz, a former chief of staff for the Trump White House National Security Council, gave the Washington Post’s Greg Miller an on-the-record interview for the article. Fleitz decried on Twitter what he called a “very misleading fake news piece” and “bad journalism.”
“He ignored most of what I told him in an on-the-record interview and misrepresented the few quotes from me that he used,” Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, wrote.
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