Fleitz defends President Trump’s relationship with US intelligence (Washington Times, 12/17/18)

How President Trump has come to trust his CIA… with a few big caveats

The Washington Times

By Rowan Scarborough

President Trump has left the tumultuous days of publicly combating his own intelligence community for a more workmanlike relationship coached by his team of loyalists, insiders say.

As interactions improve at the top, however, a former CIA officer says Mr. Trump is up against a determined, embedded bureaucracy that will leak to damage him.

Loyalists say the president has come to appreciate the daily flow of insights on, for example, North Korea and Iran, even if he doesn’t like everything he hears.

They credit key players such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his first CIA director, and National Security Adviser John R. Bolton, a voracious intelligence consumer. Mr. Pompeo elevated Gina Haspel as his deputy at Langley, Virginia, and then recommended her to succeed him as CIA director.

“Pompeo worked very hard to show the president the value of intelligence in making decisions, and Pompeo was briefing him fairly frequently when he was CIA director,” said Fred FleitzMr. Bolton’s former chief of staff at the National Security Council. “He brought some of the best CIA analysts to brief the president.

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