CIA Director John Brennan interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday
This morning, Fox welcomed outgoing CIA director John Brennan to the program hosted by Chris Wallace, Fox New Sunday. Mr. Wallace addressed the recent issue of conflict between president-elect Donald Trump and the intelligence community as a whole, and in particular, Mr. Trump’s view of intelligence gathering and sharing regarding Russian tampering with the 2016 election. Mr. Brennan seemed to have one consistent message for the new commander in chief – that he hoped Trump would be “less spontaneous” once he takes office and even appeared to warn him to “recognize the impact of words” as they relate to the fragility of global diplomacy.
The latest of a string of Trump Twitter criticisms aimed at the intelligence community comes in the wake of an unsubstantiated report presented to Trump last week in a classified briefing that suggested the 45th President of the United States may have been compromised by apparent damaging, private information that the Russian government possessed about him.
Trump VS. Intelligence Community On Twitter
Donald Trump was outraged that the media had been made aware of the unsubstantiated “dossier” and that CNN had reported the intelligence community’s presentation of the information to both Trump and current president, Barack Obama. While Buzzfeed leaked the entire dossier to the public, CNN maintains that the only story they were reporting on was the evidence that Trump was presented by the CIA and FBI the existence of the accusations. On January 11, Trump posted this statement to social media
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Chris Wallace addressed the discord with Director Brennan early in the interview, and when asked specifically about the comparison to Nazi Germany, a comparison Trump reiterated at his press conference, the CIA head responded by saying the following.
“What I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany, I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly..
As with Obama, CIA director John Brennan will step down at noon on Friday when the new president is sworn in and his team, including new CIA head Mike Pompeo, assume the power of office. Many wonder if Trump’s disdain for the current intelligence committee will engender a spring cleaning of sorts, as President Trump would seek to staff the three major branches-the CIA, FBI, and NSA with department heads more aligned with the new administration.
CIA Director’s Warning For Trump
Mr. Brennan voiced concern about the message it potentially sends around the world to both our allies and adversaries for an incoming U.S. president to be so publicly skeptical of our intelligence community. “The world is watching now what Mr. Trump says.” Brennan suggested but refused to confirm or deny to Wallace whether the CIA had any information regarding possible contact between Trump team members and Kremlin officials during the campaign and since the election.
Wallace asked Brennan what he thought about the incoming president-elect’s views and thoughts about various global “trouble spots” and crises, and any advice he could offer Mr. Trump in handling such events. Brennan responded with the following.
“What I think Mr. Trump has to understand is that this is more than being about him. Its about the United States and the national security and he has to make sure that now that he’s going to have the opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he is going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that US national security interests are protected and advanced.
The showdown between Trump and the major branches of intelligence should become clearer after the inauguration this Friday.
[Featured Image by Cliff Owen/AP Images/Resized and Cropped]