Donald Trump frequently refused to believe the intelligence briefings put together for him and defied his own intelligence agencies, a former official alleged.
Susan Gordon, who had served as deputy director of intelligence and had more than three decades of experience in the field before being ousted by Trump, said that the president frequently chose not to believe the information he was given if it did not fit his preconceived ideas.
As CNN reported, Gordon spoke at a conference on Tuesday and said that intelligence officials were often perplexed at where Trump had gotten his information and what was shaping his incorrect beliefs. She noted that he was unable to accept information that didn’t fit with his own opinions.
Gordon, who had worked in high positions through a number of different administrations starting with Ronald Reagan’s, said that Trump was the only president “in my experience that had no foundation or framework to understand what the limits of intelligence are, what the purpose of it was and the way that we discuss it.”
She equated Trump to playing pick-up basketball with one person who doesn’t understand the game at all or cares to know how it is played.
“Right, everyone else knows how the game moves and plays and you have one person that comes in and plays and is just so different,” she said. “That that in of itself is just so different.”
Gordon is not the first person to accuse the president of refusing to believe intelligence briefings. A February report from Time claimed that officials were growing frustrated at the “willful ignorance” of Trump in regard to the intelligence agencies. The outlet spoke to analysts tasked with preparing briefings for the president, and they lamented that it was nearly impossible to keep his attention.
The report noted that Trump often grew agitated when he was presented with information that didn’t conform to his own beliefs.
“What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds,” the report noted. “Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the president intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.”
The report noted that intelligence officials needed to put together reports filled with pictures and very few words — usually in bullet points — in order for Trump to digest the information without losing interest.