[Rushtalk] Trump reportedly plans to revamp top intelligence agencies

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Sun Feb 26 15:01:52 MST 2017

The Times of Israel
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President-elect Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago,
Wednesday, December 28, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP/Evan Vucci)
President-elect Donald Trump, a fierce critic of the US intelligence
community in recent weeks, is planning to restructure two top spy
agencies once he takes office later this month, people familiar with the
planning told US media on Wednesday. 

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming
completely politicized,” an individual who is close to the Trump
transition team told the Wall Street Journal. “They all need to be
slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how
they interact.” 

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Trump is said to
specifically be targeting the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence, an agency established in 2004 to boost coordination across
agencies following the 9/11 attacks, and the CIA, with plans to cut back
staff at its headquarters in Virginia and to send more employees to
field posts.

The move will come after a series of attacks against the intelligence
community on social media, amid assessments that Russia interfered in
the presidential elections, releasing hacked information through
Wikileaks, with efforts to help get Trump elected. The president-elect
has dismissed these findings and in one remarkable statement last month,
mocked the CIA as the “same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons
of mass destruction” in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Trump’s defiance has increased the pressure on intelligence officials to
provide decisive evidence of Russian election interference. A full
report was ordered by President Barack Obama last month, and Obama will
receive the report and be briefed on it Thursday, according to a White
House official who wasn’t authorized to speak to reporters and requested
anonymity. High-level intelligence officials are heading to New York
Friday to brief Trump on the classified findings.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the
briefing room of the White House in Washington, December 16, 2016.
(AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Obama administration also plans to make an unclassified version
public before the president leaves office Jan. 20. 

Trump is to be briefed on the hacking report Friday by CIA Director John
Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence
James Clapper. Brennan, in an interview Tuesday with PBS NewsHour, said
the report will include “what was collected, what was disclosed and what
the purpose and intent of that effort was.”

Trump’s criticism of the US intel community put him in line with Russian
President Vladimir Putin and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, whose
organization has been under criminal investigation for its ropole in
classified information leaks. Since 2012, Assange has been in the
Embassy of Ecuador in London, unable to leave without being arrested for
breaching his bail conditions.

In a series of tweets starting late Tuesday, Trump taunted the CIA, FBI
and other agencies, suggesting they still don’t have proof Russia
penetrated Democratic party computers and gave the documents to

“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed
until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”
Trump said.

        The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was
        delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case.
        Very strange!
        — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017

And then early Wednesday, after Assange appeared on Fox News denying the
Russian government gave WikiLeaks stolen Democratic documents, Trump
followed up: “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked
Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him
the info!” He followed up with a tweet quoting Assange’s swipe at US

        Julian Assange said "a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta" –
        why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the
        — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
        "@FoxNews: Julian Assange on U.S. media coverage: “It’s very
        dishonest.” #Hannity pic.twitter.com/ADcPRQifH9" More dishonest
        than anyone knows
        — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017

Trump was referring to thousands of emails and documents hackers took
from the computers of the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary
Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks
in the weeks ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

The Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
have both concluded that the Russian government was behind the hacking,
and intentionally divulged the documents via WikiLeaks to disrupt the

The intelligence chiefs and Obama have pointed the finger at Putin,
saying no such operation could go on in Moscow without the highest level
of approval.

On December 29, Obama retaliated, expelling 35 Russian officials from
the United States who he said were “intelligence operatives,” placing
sanctions on Russian government officials and intelligence services, and
alleged hackers.

Trump’s choice to cite Assange against the CIA and FBI roiled officials
in both political parties and angered the intelligence community.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan
branded Assange “a sycophant for Russia.”

“He leaks, he steals data, and compromises national security.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also questioned Trump’s choice.

“I don’t believe any American should give a whole lot of credibility to
what Mr. Assange says,” he said on CNN.

The former spokesman of the CIA, George Little, blasted Trump, using the
acronym for president-elect of the United States.

“No PEOTUS in our history has ever mocked his own intelligence community
so openly or so often,” Little said via Twitter.

“Let’s stare this reality square in the face: PEOTUS is pro-Putin and
believes Julian Assange over the @CIA. On Jan. 20 we will be less safe.”



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