Trump’s disdain for U.S. intelligence
President Trump is endangering national security with his “willful ignorance” of the information gathered by U.S. intelligence services, said John Walcott. Deeply frustrated and alarmed by their interactions with the president, several intelligence officials say in interviews that Trump is openly bored by the briefings they give him, despite their “futile attempts to keep his attention” with photos, graphics, and two-sentence summaries. When Trump hears information that contradicts his prior beliefs, he reacts angrily—and rejects the evidence. That dynamic was on display last week, when the heads of all the major intelligence agencies contradicted his claims that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, ISIS is defeated, and Iran has a secret nuclear program. Trump responded by saying the heads of the CIA and FBI and the director of national intelligence “should go back to school.” He’s no less dismissive in private briefings. The officials briefing him struggle not to laugh as Trump displays startling ignorance of geography and geopolitics, and asks bizarre questions—of the military base on the island of Diego Garcia, he inquired, “Do they have nice beaches?” But Trump’s disdain for the intelligence agencies “is no joke”—and may lead to a true crisis.