Donald Trump had plenty of criticism for a report from his intelligence head saying that ISIS and North Korea are still major threats — a report that Trump admitted he didn’t read.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment was released this week by Dan Coats, Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, and cast doubt on Trump’s frequent claims that he had defeated ISIS and neutralized the nuclear threats from North Korea. As Newsweek reported, Coats wrote that ISIS has turned to guerrilla tactics after most of its territory in Iraq and Syria had been reclaimed.
As the report noted, ISIS remained a worldwide threat.
“ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” the report noted.
Donald Trump criticized the report in remarks to the press on Thursday, but then added that he had not actually read it.
“I didn’t see the report from the intelligence,” Trump said. “When you read it, it is a lot different than what is covered in the news.”
Donald Trump had previously announced that he was pulling American troops out of Syria, saying they had accomplished the mission of defeating ISIS. Critics said that the militant group was still not yet defeated, and that pulling out would leave a void that could allow them to regroup. Many also said that leaving would make America’s Kurdish allies vulnerable to attack from Turkey.
Trump had already blasted the intelligence report in a series of tweets, especially for their failure to share his dire views on Iran, calling his own intelligence leaders “extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.”
Our nation’s intelligence agencies are not infallible, but Trump’s attacks are beyond the pale. https://t.co/ImwNQPbfem— Slate (@Slate) January 31, 2019
“They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge,” Trump wrote. “There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been accused of failing to read intelligence reports. As the Washington Post reported last year, Trump made a habit of not reading the President’s Daily Brief, a short document that outlined the most important and pertinent information collected by all U.S. intelligence agencies. The report noted that Trump instead asked for only certain intelligence issues to instead be read to him.
This came after a series of reports claiming that Donald Trump did not have patience for any lengthy reading, preferring to keep any briefings to a single page filled with bullets and images, which the president told Axios himself.